Rate Shopping Article
High-Volume Parcel Packing in a Warehouse

The Value of Multi-Modal Rate Shopping for Parcel Shippers

In a time of unpredictable demand, can you confidently get your online orders to their destination on time and at the best price? In an article published by Forbes, digital economy analytics show the current pandemic has expedited the growth of e-commerce at unprecedented speed. Adobe’s Digital Insights Manager, Vivek Pandya, states “it would’ve taken between 4 and 6 years to get to the levels that we saw in May if the growth continued at the same levels it was at for the past few years.” At this rate, there’s little room for shipping with static business rules and outdated systems that weigh down your entire business’ supply chain. Pairing rate shopping with artificial intelligence and automation, through a freight negotiation service, can deliver the speed and efficiency to give your bottom line a leg up with each shipment.

Whether shipping parcel, full-truckload, less-than-truckload or hundredweight, having a transportation management system that delivers real-time rates across all modes at your fingertips is now a growing requirement for logistics managers. Relying on human capital, that is now overtaxed by furloughs and role consolidations, to know with certainty the best way to ship every package is not only unreliable but dangerous to your bottom line. In today’s environment, working in multiple systems to return rates and make manual decisions is inefficient at best. A single platform that can return rates for all modes of transportation based on your company’s negotiated carrier agreements is one of the easiest ways to drive value for your organization.

Recently imposed COVID-19 surcharges add an additional layer of complexity as large shipping companies attempt to cope with both the changing demand and anticipated volume increases for the upcoming holiday season. UPS’ recent memo announced the charges for air shipments to residences can be as high as $4 per package. Charges can vary depending on weight, time of shipment, and volume of shipments by the customer. These new surcharges may outweigh many of the discounts in your current parcel contract - but can you analyze this data effectively to make informed business decisions?

On the other side of the supply chain model lies inbound shipping. This can often be written off as simply a cost of doing business as you need to work closely with suppliers to ensure your the necessary goods or materials are received so production can meet demand. Visibility into each shipment’s mode and rate offers an instant look into the vitality of your logistics and allows the business to take a holistic approach to cost and fulfillment decisions.

AI-powered decision making that reveals optimal transit time and the most effective mode for every shipment could relieve an overworked supply chain in the coming months. Shippers who are moving full truckloads or consolidating multiple LTL shipments into multi-stop truckload shipments can’t afford to overlook the spot market, which currently comprises approximately one fifth of FTL shipments. But historically speaking, working the spot market isn’t without its challenges. “I can’t tell you how often I hear concerns that quotes were missed because they fell to the bottom of the inbox,” shares Ben Weger of SwanLeap. Automating the cumbersome process of making calls and sifting through email bids in search of the right carrier at the best price helps ensure a reliable process that saves time and protects the bottom line from costly oversight.

100% Pure, a California-based cosmetics company, saw significant value in putting their data to work with automated rate shopping. Moving to a single system with a network of carriers has helped the company stay ahead of their increasing seasonal volume with the peace of mind that no rate is left on the table. “We are spending less on shipping than we were before.” Director of Operations, Diana Weaver states, “SwanLeap has been really effective at finding the most effective way to ship a package, and it's always the most cost effective way.”

As your business adapts its shipping practices to keep up with the changing logistics landscape, start by benchmarking data with AI and discover opportunities to bring visibility and optimization into operations and achieve a higher performing supply chain.