Benefits of Using Packaged Shipping Software

It’s hard to imagine a shipping business without an IT department nowadays. As technology becomes more and more advanced, carriers keep up by taking advantage of the latest innovations and best practices in the industry in order to remain competitive. Forward thinking operators have taken advantage of the rapidly changing technology by using advanced shipping software solutions to enhance their competitive advantage. However, when it comes to choosing the right software solution, the shipping industry is divided between in-house and packaged solutions. Shipping companies need to analyze their unique requirements to determine the type of business solution that will bring more advantage to their daily operations.

Global operators seem to have conflicting views with regard to the cost-effectiveness of building in-house IT systems compared with buying ready-made, customizable platforms. Both have their own advantage when it comes to streamlining operations that have direct effect on the cost-efficiency of a shipping business. Understanding the specific differences between these two systems can help operators make more informed decisions in using their resources.

Bespoke System

Many operators prefer hiring programmers and software developers, and build customized software to fit their specific business requirements. Doing this gives them full control of software development. However, bespoke or in-house systems will require time until they are working live, which will delay the positive impact of automation sometimes up to 3-4 years as seen for bigger implementations. It will also consume resources on the carrier side not only from the IT but also from the involved departments.

In addition, the fact that technology evolves rapidly, software solutions that have been custom-tailored to support a specific function may date quickly and not work on newer platforms, necessitating a painful upgrade that may include an expensive migration process. For the same reason, in-house systems require skilled IT staff which results in increased operational expenses – something that does not sound interesting in a slumping economy.

Packaged System

Generally, ready-made shipping software are a lot cheaper and easier to implement when compared with in-house systems. In fact, buying off-the-shelf solution can be 10 to 50 times cheaper than developing a bespoke system. In addition, modern packaged software incorporates a switching capability, which allows the user to customize each application to handle specific requirements without any expensive re-programming. Once customized, packaged software have the capability to automate time-consuming and resource-intrusive business processes.

Modern packages solutions are flexible enough to work for almost any carrier, regardless of size, specialization, or local requirements. This capability makes it even more appealing for vessel operators to buy off-the-shelf instead of commissioning expensive in-house solutions.

Packaged software solutions are widely available in the software market and can be purchased at very reasonable prices. In addition, many software companies offer excellent guarantee periods for their products during which any software issues are fixed without extra cost.

Change can be Painful

Despite the impressive features of packaged shipping software solutions, many carriers are still stuck with bespoke systems because of perceived difficulties that accompany a change in IT infrastructure. In most cases, these difficulties have something to do with legacy systems which often control key areas of a shipping business. Change in this case must be managed properly using correct methodologies avoid common problems that usually come with the process of implementing a new business system.

Shipping goods involves too many complicated processes that require focus and expertise in all aspects. To be more productive, operators must focus on their core business which is operating ships. They should not divert large amounts of resources to other activities outside their expertise to avoid uncontrolled expenses that can hurt their business in the long run.

Retail Market: Thrust in Software Solutions

Here is a list of various retail management software used in different departments of retail industry to enhance the performance and profitability of stores.

  • ERP Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
  • Point Of Sale (POS) Solutions
  • Inventory Management & Control
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Reports On Performance
  • Customer Solutions
  • Accounting & Financial Management
  • Mobility Solutions
  • Social Networking
  • Business Analytics
  • Affiliate Marketing

Cloud solutions & Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

E-tail and retail companies gets cloud support by leveraging the powerful ERP solutions. Retail operations can be managed online using a centralized database without making investments in infrastructure like server, firewall, licensing, anti-virus, etc. This software is easier to install and provides a number of benefits which include offline storage support (without an internet connection), push notifications, and supports multiple mobile platforms like iOS, Android, etc.

Point of Sale (POS)

POS software solution helps retailers to face some of the difficult challenges of retail market. A right POS software provides better shopping experience, improves productivity and drives sales of customers. Point of sale includes payments, cash management, security control, and employee management.

Inventory Management & Control

Retail business is supported by a robust inventory management and control software offering multiple channel and multiple location support. This software is flexible and can manage orders, billing, pricing, shipping and sales. You also get SMS alerts if a specific order level for each item is reached and also helps you to track the goods in various warehouses or locations.

Supply Chain Management

Supply chain solutions involves shipping products and services much faster, with better quality. The various components of supply chain management solutions are warehouse management, inventory management & control, wireless tracking, and point of sale solutions. Retailers can manage orders and stocks efficiently and can also make the supply channel very effectively.

Reports

Retailers can generate reports and analyze performance of stores, departments, customers, employees, stock, sales and products using the Reports software, which also helps retailers to maximize their efficiency and profits.

CRM Solutions

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software allows retailers to capitalize on customers’ database and their history of transactions across sales channels and meet the challenges in retail market. CRM strategies provides a 360 degree view of customers and makes retail marketing solutions easy. It paves way for long-lasting and enduring customer relationships and is surely a loyalty addition for retailers and support them through some aggressive marketing campaigns and promotions at point of sale.

Accounting & Financial Management

All the accounting and financial needs of stores can be successfully managed, controlled and made easier with Accounting & Financial Management software. This includes bank accounts, inventory, vendor, billing; employees and payroll management which help retail companies to make some quick decision-making.

Web Store

Retailers can integrate eCommerce features to host their existing site adding online shopping, payment gateways, multiple language and currency options which are cost-effective and provides intuitive shopping experience to customers.

Mobility solutions

Retailers can harness the power of mobile technology on POS solutions to service customers anywhere, anytime – on the go. Mobile POS makes customer interactions engaging and they can get up to date product and store information by integrating GPS in smartphones and tablets. This helps retailers to provide high quality customer service, improve efficiency and increase profitability.

Analytics

With Analytics, business data can be transformed into meaningful information and enables retailers to take informed decisions and also gain a competitive edge over their rivals. Analytics software doesn’t need higher investments from retailers. It helps retailers to customize Analytics features thereby increase their sales volume, which will in turn increase their profitability and provide better ROI.

Affiliate Marketing

Retailers can create email marketing campaigns, search-engine optimization and affiliate marketing strategies which will increase revenues, reduce costs and improve ROI in real time basis. Discounts, deals, promotions, coupons, volume pricing and customer-specific discounts will drive sales exponentially and promote customer loyalty.

Logistics Software Solutions Vs Hiring a Parcel Rate Adjuster

Parcel carrier rates aren’t designed to help your company reduce shipping costs; they’re designed to support the profits of parcel carriers. You won’t hear it in their advertisements, but parcel carriers have an inflexible set of standard rates that give the appearance of flexibility due to a set of pricing algorithms that determine how the rates are applied. So, how do you keep your shipping system from being a financial casualty of the parcel carrier system? The first step is a simple: avoid being convinced that one parcel carrier is somehow “better” than the rest. When people arrive at this perception, it’s often in response to advertising ploys that promote notions of a carrier’s “nobility” via its selfless dedication to the customer.

When businesses become dedicated to one carrier, they typically stop shopping for better parcel shipping rates and end up paying for services that they don’t need. Therefore, step two of assuring that your company gets the best carrier rates is either having a parcel rate adjuster investigate your situation or implementing transportation logistics software. Both transportation logistics software and parcel rate adjusters offer extensive logistical information that reveals fair courier rates for a variety of shipping situations, including the comparative analysis of fuel surcharges between carriers and audits of shipping fees that uncover breaches in service, such as non-delivery of services or service delivered too late. Logistics software and rate adjusters also determine whether your company is being charged for services that it simply doesn’t need, such as residential delivery or Hazmat shipping services.

When you consult logistics software or a reputable rate advisor, you can expect to receive detailed questions about what you ship and how you go about shipping it. In each case, cost savings suggestions are often simpler than expected. For example, a Philadelphia law practice was able to save $15,000 a year in shipping costs by determining when parcels were expected instead of sending every parcel overnight. Why didn’t the firm do this in the first place? In the legal profession, the “importance” of legal documents leads to the perception that they need to be delivered as quickly as possible, even when they don’t. Similar to seeing through advertising ploys, simply seeing through the trends in your business area can result in significant parcel savings.

Arriving at the best shipping plan for your business involves selecting the shipping options that meet your specific needs and then finding them at the best price. While some companies choose to consult with a rate advisor, other companies choose to implement logistics software and save money. In addition to being more cost effective than hiring a parcel rate adjuster, logistics software solutions arrive in a shorter period of time and are always free of human error. If you suspect that you’re paying too much for parcel shipping or you haven’t compared rates in awhile, why pay even more by hiring a parcel rate adjuster when logistics software solutions can offer you more dependable results in a shorter period of time and at a lower cost?