How to navigate the evolving shipping landscape.

Take a closer look at the evolving shipping landscape, its impact on receiving operations and how best to navigate.

Managing a delivery from the door or dock to the final recipient has grown more challenging in just the last two to three years. With the number of packages shipped on a daily basis increasing dramatically and deliveries now arriving from multiple carriers at different times throughout the day, many organizations face challenges in processing packages accurately and timely. And what’s more, many of the packages arriving require monitoring because their contents are time sensitive, valuable, confidential, or regulated.

Transformations in the shipping industry heightens the requirements and responsibility for receiving packages and documents. Timely, secure, confidential, and accountable internal routing is now the expectation; and this can be burdensome.

An array of factors are reshaping the shipping landscape and creating a pressing requirement for inbound package tracking:

Exponential growth. In the online retail marketplace, there are now over 1 billion globally connected, digital buyers of physical goods. Looking ahead, the forecast for growth in online purchases is steep: From $1 trillion today to $3.5 trillion within just five years.

Shrinking delivery horizons. The introduction of Amazon Prime ten years ago was a game-changer that made second-day delivery the new industry standard and permanently altered customer expectations. Then, Walmart entered the fray with ShippingPass, which offered three-day delivery at a lower-priced membership.

Now, Amazon offers same-day delivery in major metros – and others are following. One of the latest, Best Buy, now offers same-day delivery in the San Francisco area. While in more than a dozen cities, Amazon Prime Now service even provides one-hour delivery for a low fee — or for free, for those who can wait two hours.

Carrier-mix expansion. There once were a known handful of national and international carriers, such as USPS, FedEx, UPS and DHL. Now, there are many more to choose from including:

  • Local, third-party couriers and regional carriers with smaller geographical coverage, delivering from strategically placed warehouses and distribution centers
  • Specialty carriers, such as those bonded for high-value items, legal proof-of-custody, or U.S. HIPPA compliance for pharmacy orders
  • Crowd-sourced logistics providers, who offer same-day delivery services.

For many organizations it’s become clear that the traditional methods of manually logging deliveries at the mail center, reception or dock don’t fulfill the breadth of today’s needs. And they introduce additional problems, such as lost-productivity expense or the possibility of human error.

We recently sat down with Nick Staffieri of The MSC Group, Inc., a 30-year shipping and receiving operations veteran, to discuss the challenges facing mail centers in today’s evolved shipping landscape. According to Nick, “When shipping is handled manually, there are inefficiencies, longer processes and more chance of data entry error. That’s always been a challenge. Putting technology to use for you is the key to resolving those issues.”

Technology has a significant role to play in alleviating the losses and delays that can hinder employee productivity. Transforming from a manual shipping operation to an automated and tracked operation is a major change, but it can make a world of difference. Today’s automation technologies streamline the shipping and receiving process, creating digital histories that make it possible to trace each package and piece of mail and identify its whereabouts at any point in time. In addition to providing greater visibility and accountability, this saves the time and expense of manual searches and replacing lost items.

Bottom line: the potential for mail center efficiency and precision is enormous. To learn more about the technologies shaping today’s shipping operations and other anecdotes from Nick Staffieri, download our white paper: Optimizing your shipping and receiving operation — an expert’s perspective.

Or for a quick snapshot of key white paper topics, check out the videos.