Take a deep breath and treat yourself, you persisted through another peak season! Now that the busiest part of the shipping season for most parcel shippers is over, it’s time to set those 2018 resolutions. It’s imperative that parcel shippers reflect on their 2017 shipping operations and complete a parcel health check. This exercise will assist with setting goals, analyzing areas of opportunity, preparing for changes and challenges, and incorporating ways to improve in 2018.

We want to help you kick start the new year on a good note, so we’ve compiled a list of 5 New Year’s Parcel Resolutions to help improve your company’s fiscal health and shipping operations for 2018.

  1. Prepare your budget. UPS shipping rate increases went in effect on Dec. 24, 2017 and FedEx shipping rate increases just went in effect on Jan. 1. Did you know the effective impact of these UPS and FedEx rate increases will be more than a 4.9% average the carriers announced for most parcel shippers? Get a second opinion like the carriers do – by using data; seize the opportunity to objectively monitor how these increases will affect your parcel spend in 2018.
  2. Read the fine print. Don’t sign the dotted line until you have a full understanding of your carrier contracts. If you’re not careful, you may end up agreeing to items that don’t benefit you. One of the most common is the Guaranteed Service Refund (GSR) Waiver/Money Back Guarantee Program provisions. These waivers prohibit companies from utilizing an independent parcel auditor to recover money owed to them for late deliveries, incorrect parcel sizes, and other carrier mistakes. Search your contract before signing it to make sure it wasn’t built into your agreement – otherwise, you’ll be unable to obtain refund credits that could significantly reduce your parcel spend.
  3. Monitor your weight. This isn’t the resolution you might be thinking. I’m talking DIM weight and understanding how the dimensional weight divisor works. Shippers need to look at more efficient ways to package and ship goods to prevent the dimensional weight divisor from driving up costs. More importantly, shippers need to look at their carrier contract holistically and reassess whether it is still meeting their needs. By renegotiating carrier agreements based on comparative benchmarking information and a data analysis of their shipping profile, shippers can identify opportunities for savings to offset the new costs, or even affect it directly by negotiating a custom DIM factor into their contracts.
  4. Differentiate your brand. Your brand’s reputation – not the carrier’s – is on the line when promises aren’t met. Strong brands are optimizing their supply chain – they realize if a shipping or delivery experience is unfavorable, the customer will blame the brand they ordered from – not the carrier. The fulfillment process is a part of the user experience and an extension of a brand. Link supply chains with data to ensure the fulfillment process impacts the customer experience in a positive way.
  5. Understand the story your parcel data tells. VeriShip’s Director of Data Science, Travis Rhoades, said it best in the article he wrote for the November/December 2017 issue of PARCEL: “Have a discussion about parcel benchmarking against other businesses, the data – be it from invoices, transit and tracking information, your carrier agreement, or carrier rate and accessorial details – is the story.” Gain perspective on the effectiveness of your own performance; understand where you’re at, where you need to go and set a foundation for strategic decision making through benchmarking.

Don’t be complacent – get your parcel health in shape. Embrace data science and arm your company with technology that can continuously benchmark and monitor the results and quantify savings.

We want to hear from you! Share what your parcel goals are for 2018 by contacting us and tweeting #parcelresolutions. VeriShip is the perfect partner to help get you into optimal parcel shape.