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Expert Answers to Biz Questions

Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

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Why You Must Analyze Your Shipping Data

 

When it comes to getting the best price for shipping, your data is your most valuable asset--seriously.

Analyzing your data can reveal opportunities for supply chain efficiency that might have not been noticed before and could save you thousands of dollars.

There’s more to track than you realize

Think for a moment about how many metrics you could track for each package you ship.

First, think about a parcel. What are its dimensions? How much does it weigh? Where is it traveling? Will it be shipped by ground or air? What rate are you paying? What surcharges apply?

Next, imagine you had all that data in aggregate. How many of each parcel are you shipping? Where are they all going? Where are your biggest customers? How much are you spending in each category of rates and surcharges?

Finally, think about tracking your carrier’s performance. How frequently are they late? Do they miss deliveries? When they make a mistake, how responsive is their customer service team?

It’s possible -- and easier than you think -- to track all of these numbers for every delivery. Understanding this data frequently reveals redundancies and inefficiencies that have been overlooked. And when carriers increase rates or surcharges, shippers can quickly apply those changes to their shipping profiles and find out how they’ll be impacted.

Taking your shipping profile into contract negotiations

Understanding your company’s shipping profile allows you to make informed choices during contract negotiations.

First, knowing your shipping profile also gives you a sense of what your carrier sees when they look at your business and why you’re valuable to them.

Carriers evaluate potential partners based on how much they spend on small parcel shipments, how well their customer network aligns with the carrier’s existing network and how strong their brand is. If you know your shipping geography and how much you spend on each of your products--and pair that with knowledge about expansion or growth plans--you can easily explain to a carrier why you’re a valuable client.

Finally, whenever there’s a significant change in your business, you don’t have to wonder how your shipping spend will change. You can simply plug in the new parameters, such as a new region, a product with new dimensions or a carrier rate increase and see how your profile changes.

That’s what happened with RedCat Racing, a manufacturer of remote control cars and a Reveel client. Their products are lightweight, but packaged in large, heavily padded boxes. An analysis of their shipping profile revealed that their shipping spend was going to skyrocket after UPS switched to pricing by dimensional weight.

Company leaders decided to target the dimensional divisor in a contract renegotiation. It worked, and they saved 28 percent on shipping.

How to make sure you keep up with your numbers

At Reveel, we encourage our clients to track data on the most granular level possible. The more detailed your information, the stronger your understanding of your business becomes, and the better you can understand how seemingly small rate changes like a shifting definition of “oversized packages” will affect your shipping spend.

Further, familiarity with your numbers can give you the opportunity to lower costs in the future. When you know your data, you’re always prepared to negotiate. Whether that’s asking for an exception to a rate increase that will hit your business hard, pushing for a higher dimensional divisor that changes the price of shipping your flagship product or another clever ask.

Finally, when you know your own numbers, it’s easy to spot carriers’ mistakes on invoices. Knowing when you’re owed refunds and claiming them can lead to substantial savings.

Collecting, analyzing and making sense of all this data requires a great deal of time and expertise. Some companies have the bandwidth to do it in-house, but many do not. This is where Reveel comes in to play.

We offer software that tracks your shipments in real time, tracking package measurements, travel distances and on-time performance. Our consultants can help your executives comb through this data in preparation for contract negotiations, helping you decide which rates and surcharges to target and figure out how much you should be spending. And, we can audit every invoice to make sure your carrier is providing service as promised and help you collect refunds when they don’t.

We offer free invoice audits to potential partners. Contact us today to see how we can help you gather and analyze comprehensive shipping data--and how doing so could help your business grow.

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