5 Things I Learned at Parcel Forum 2023: Navigating the Shipping and Supply Chain Landscape
The Parcel Forum 2023, a premier event in the logistics and supply chain industry, brought together industry experts, thought leaders, and professionals to discuss the latest trends and strategies in shipping, supply chain, and fulfillment. This year's forum offered invaluable insights into the evolving landscape of the industry. Among the numerous takeaways, carrier diversification emerged as a key theme. In this blog post, we will delve into five key learnings from the Parcel Forum 2023 and explore how they can shape the future of shipping and supply chain management.
1. Carrier Diversification is Essential for Resilience
One of the most significant takeaways from the Parcel Forum 2023 was the importance of carrier diversification. The disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the vulnerabilities of relying solely on a single carrier. Businesses that diversified their carrier networks were better equipped to handle unexpected challenges and maintain efficient supply chain operations.
Speakers at the forum stressed the need for businesses to evaluate and diversify their carrier partnerships. This diversification doesn't just mean working with multiple carriers but also exploring a mix of regional, national, and international carriers. Such diversification not only mitigates risks but can also lead to cost savings and improved customer satisfaction.
2. How to Manage Shipping Cost with Carrier Rate Increases
Another key takeaway was the challenge of managing shipping costs in the face of general rate increases and assessorial and surcharge increases among the large carrier providers in 2024. The rising costs associated with shipping have become a pressing concern for businesses of all sizes.
During the forum, experts discussed the strategies and tactics that companies can employ to mitigate the impact of these rate hikes. It's evident that understanding carrier rate structures and negotiating effectively with carriers is crucial. This includes not only negotiating base rates but also addressing the various assessorial charges and surcharges that carriers often apply.
Businesses were advised to conduct regular audits of their shipping invoices to identify billing errors, assess carrier performance, and ensure that they are not overpaying due to inaccuracies. Embracing technology solutions that help automate this process and provide real-time insights can be a game-changer in managing shipping costs effectively.
3. SaaS Technology is Transforming Delivery Solutions
Advancements in technology are reshaping the delivery processes. Parcel Forum 2023 showcased the latest innovations in this space, from customizable business rules in selecting delivery services across carriers to real-time tracking solutions. These shipping technologies are enhancing efficiency, reducing costs, and improving the overall customer experience.
One notable trend discussed was around the benefits of new, SaaS technology to improve shipping workflows. Dependents on IT are much lower in a SaaS environment. Servers and dedicated IT teams with heavy lift to implement and maintain your shipping solution are no longer required. Businesses are no longer limited to solely use one carrier environment, and shipping software now provides more opportunity in flexibility for service and cost management. These platforms offer flexible, on-demand delivery services, making it easier for companies to meet customer expectations for fast and convenient deliveries.
4. Data-Driven Decision-Making is Imperative
In today's digital age, data is a valuable asset that can drive informed decision-making. Parcel Forum 2023 highlighted the significance of data analytics in optimizing supply chain and shipping operations. Gathering and analyzing data on shipping performance, customer behavior, and inventory management can uncover insights that lead to cost reductions and process improvements.
By harnessing data analytics tools and technologies, businesses can forecast demand more accurately, optimize warehouse operations, and identify opportunities for carrier negotiations. Data-driven decision-making isn't just a trend; it's a necessity for staying competitive and responsive to market dynamics.
5. E-commerce Growth Continues to Shape the Industry
The rapid growth of e-commerce has had a profound impact on the shipping and supply chain industry, and this trend is far from slowing down. Parcel Forum 2023 emphasized the need for businesses to adapt to the evolving demands of online retail.
One key insight was the importance of having a regional delivery strategy in place to improve delivery time performance for your clients. Tapping into regional carriers can help you optimize your network, meaning faster deliveries at a lower cost. Another insight for online businesses is to leverage market insights to redirect business focus to your customers. E-commerce companies that excel in these areas are positioned for sustained growth and success.
The Parcel Forum 2023 offered a wealth of knowledge and insights into the ever-evolving world of shipping, supply chain, and fulfillment. From the imperative of carrier diversification to the growing focus on carrier rate increases and technology-driven innovations, the forum shed light on critical aspects of the industry's future.
As businesses navigate the challenges and opportunities presented by the changing landscape, it's clear that adaptability, technology, and data-driven decision-making will be key drivers of success. Embracing these learnings from the Parcel Forum 2023 will enable organizations to thrive in the dynamic world of shipping and supply chain management.