Smooth Shipping Operations Require Some Data Tune-Ups

by | Sep 3, 2020

4 min read

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We all rely on our cars to get us where we need to go, right? But what if you only worried about putting gas in your car — and never changed the oil, replaced the tires, or got your brakes serviced? You’d be in sad (and probably dangerous) shape pretty quickly.

Your parcel shipping operations aren’t that different than your car. To get where you want to go in your business, you need to take care of all aspects of your shipping, not just one. You can’t negotiate a carrier contract and call it good — you need to continuously monitor and manage your rates, surcharges, invoices, packaging and a host of other issues before your shipping operations will run like a well-oiled machine. 

 

Overlooked parcel shipping operations areas to address

To stay both agile and ahead of the competition in this rapidly changing shipping environment, you have to keep a close eye on these important facets of your parcel shipping operation.

 

Data normalization

Raise your hand if you love sorting through your UPS and FedEx invoices and contracts so you can compare and contrast costs and better understand what you pay. That’s pretty much none of us. In fact, even the pros don’t like doing it: Nearly 60% of data scientists say cleaning and organizing data as the least enjoyable part of their work. First of all, are you a data scientist? Me neither. Second of all, do you have time to collect and structure your shipping data in a way that makes it easy to analyze and understand? Probably not.

Data normalization is an important part of a well-run shipping operation. When your data is structured, clean and organized, you can work with it to make better decisions about service types, packaging, carriers and more.

 

Benchmarking

Your mom always told you not to compare yourself to others, but when it comes to shipping, it’s a best practice.

Knowing the rates other companies similar to yours are paying empowers you to negotiate for better rates and close any gaps in your shipping operations. But getting access to this information on your own is close to impossible, of course. Only the right tool can help you do it.

 

GRI rate simulation

We’re inching ever closer to the 2021 General Rate Increase (GRI) announcements and if you aren’t ready to figure out how the specific rate changes announced as part of the GRI will affect your business, you could make crucial misjudgments when you create a 2021 shipping budget.

As we’ve told you, the GRI really is just a general indication of the overall rise in shipping costs with each carrier — the changes to specific rates and surcharges can affect shippers in very different ways. It all depends on your shipping profile — the characteristics of what you ship, where it comes from and goes to, the service types you use and more. (If you don’t know your shipping profile forward and backward, you should — because your carrier sure does!)

For 2021, it will be more important than ever to be able to understand the effect the rate changes will have on the types of packages you ship most. A simulation tool can help you model various shipping situations and make sure you budget right for next year.

 

VeriShip does the hard stuff for you

The good news is, you can get help with all these issues in one place. VeriShip’s Parcel Audit solution doesn’t just make sure you get reimbursed for carrier mistakes (but it does that too). It’s jam-packed with ways to help you evaluate your overall shipping operations, including data normalization, a complimentary initial benchmark assessment, and GRI simulation help — plus alerts, reporting and a personalized health scorecard.

Speaking of the heavy lifting, we’ve also made some recent updates to our Bill Pay solution to make it even easier to pay your shipping invoices and reconcile your accounts. 

  • You can view, approve, exclude, and submit invoices for payment in one spot in the platform instead of receiving payment files via email. (However, we will notify you via email when new invoices are ready for approval.)
  • Your reconciliation files are now also available directly through the platform. You can export and/or download files from the current and previous cycles, up to 24 months back.

We know the last thing you want to worry about is the minutia of your shipping operations. We want to give you the clarity and control you need with a 360-degree view of your parcel shipping operation by analyzing your expenses, delivering easy-to-understand and actionable insights, and consolidating and automating the invoice payment process.

With us by your side, you’ll make faster, smarter decisions about your shipping operations and get back to doing what you love in your business — and you’ll never end up with a flat tire or an empty gas tank again.

 

Want to get a handle on your surcharges? Start with our latest eBook, 5 Budget-Busting Surcharges & How to Lower Them. You’ll learn about the most common surcharges, what they cost you and how you can get them under control.

Topics: Carrier Invoice Auditing, Contract Negotiation, Shipping Data