Around this time of year, the news is filled with stories and warnings about holiday gift shopping and shipping, but the temporary chaos of seasonal shipping doesn’t begin and end with retail. Increases in shipping volume and seasonal carrier costs affect every shipper. The strategies your business implements now to manage the additional challenges of the holiday shipping season helps to ensure shipping success without overwhelming employees.
The employee experience
There is one word to describe the shipping department employee experience during the holiday season: pressure. While the pressure to ship and deliver on time is always a factor, the holiday rush raises the stakes and intensifies the experience. Business and industry shippers have the same high shipping expectations as holiday shoppers, and if your shipping strategy can’t deliver, your stakeholders will also share in the seasonal anxiety and frustration. And it’s your shipping and mail center employees who feel the effects first.
Relieve the extra pressure from your company’s employee experience during seasonal peaks with an optimized shipping management strategy.
5 strategies for seasonal shipping success
Imagine you’re the VP of operations for a telecom giant, and you need to ship several new laptops to each of 10 locations in Connecticut — right in the middle of peak holiday shipping season. To make sure this essential equipment arrives on time, and within budget, you’ll need to account for changes in carrier costs, including peak surcharges, and delivery windows.
Some seasonal shipping strategies are more effective than others, but the most successful include the following five elements:
- Communication. Communicate with your shipping stakeholders early and often. Keep shipping department employees and expectant recipients informed with automated notifications and tracking tools. Provide frequent updates, and let stakeholders know right away if/when something changes.
- Delivery management. Delivery windows and shipping deadlines are subject to sudden change during seasonal peak periods. Use shipping management solutions with integrated technology for enhanced end-to-end visibility, near real-time tracking, and multi-carrier delivery window comparisons.
- Cost management. Carrier peak surcharges — along with annual rate increases — can make shipping significantly more expensive during the holiday press. Track peak surcharge effective dates to account for additional costs, or use third-party software to access shipping benefits, such as pre-negotiated discount rates, and avoid peak and fuel surcharge fees. Use automated address verification tools to avoid delivery error and redelivery surcharges.
- Data analytics. Applied analytics can forecast shipping demand for a more informed and prepared shipping strategy. Good data is vital to sound shipping decisions, and analytics are essential to a comprehensive seasonal shipping management strategy.
- Strategic scheduling. Plan your shipping schedules around peak carrier surcharges and holiday delivery deadlines. Quick multi-carrier comparisons help your business optimize the combination of cost and available delivery options. Timing is everything — and time is money. Avoid the worst of the holiday shipping season, streamline processes, and maximize efficiency with high-tech shipping schedule management.
Shipping software solutions
A sound peak shipping strategy is not complete without the smart technology to manage it well. Implement all five seasonal success strategies, and manage every aspect of your company’s daily shipping operations, with a feature-rich, cloud-based shipping management platform.
Things are about to get busy, and the holiday retail rush will inevitably affect your regularly scheduled shipping program. Mitigate potential problems with proactive preparation, a sound strategy, and a smart shipping management platform.
Explore cloud-based shipping management solutions for your business at pitneybowes.com.