Investing in automation and optimization software gives you greater supply chain visibility, tighter inventory management controls, and access to better rates through multiple carriers.

Parcel is having a moment. In 2022, there were 173 billion parcels shipped globally, translating to 475 million packages being sent every day. The Pitney Bowes Parcel Shipping Index indicates that by 2027, the volume of parcel shipping is projected to hit a staggering 256 billion parcels — an annual growth rate of 8.5%. These statistics highlight the significant growth in the parcel industry, driven by the increasing demand for online shopping and the need for reliable and efficient shipping services.

With shipping a significant driver of cost for many businesses, it pays to strategically think about parcel shipping operations before a period of rapid growth. Having a solid, streamlined process will help you meet the ever-increasing demands of an expanding customer base. And, if your parcel shipping volume is high, finding the right strategies for your shipping operations can mean big savings. Here’s our guide to scaling parcel shipping operations.

6 tips for scaling parcel shipping operations for growth

1) Embrace multi-carrier strategies for flexibility and cost savings.

Begin by adopting a multi-carrier approach to shipping. Diversifying your carrier options not only ensures access to competitive rates and services but also enables you to leverage the strengths of different carriers. By relying on multiple carriers, you can circumvent potential service disruptions and better accommodate your customers’ diverse shipping preferences. With a looming UPS strike, having access to more carriers has never been more important.

2) Unlock the potential of shipping software for efficiency and accuracy.

Investing in shipping software is a game-changer when it comes to automating and optimizing your shipping processes. Advanced technology allows you to compare rates, print labels, track packages, and generate insightful reports, all while seamlessly integrating with your existing e-commerce or inventory management systems. 

Advanced, custom shipping software can take this a step further – employing broad scale logic to a batch environment, even if non-standard batches. This streamlined workflow minimizes errors, increases efficiency, and ultimately frees up time for you to focus on other aspects of your business. 

3) Master the art of packaging and labeling for cost savings and customer satisfaction.

Optimizing your packaging and labeling processes is crucial for reducing shipping costs and ensuring your parcels arrive in top-notch condition. 

By employing cartonization technology — at scale — across your operation, you can be sure you’re packing each item using the right packaging material and in the most appropriately box size. This minimizes the dimensional weight charges and decreases the risk of damage during transit. 

Furthermore, clear and accurate labeling plays a vital role in preventing delays and misdeliveries, which directly impacts customer satisfaction.

4) Build strong carrier relationships for better rates and services.

Establishing solid relationships with your carriers is key to negotiating favorable rates and securing preferred services. Clear communication of your needs and expectations, as well as a collaborative approach to addressing any issues, will help create a foundation of trust and mutual commitment.

5) Elevate your inventory management for enhanced efficiency.

Optimizing inventory management is essential to scale your parcel shipping operations. Maintaining ideal inventory levels reduces storage costs, minimizes stockouts, and accelerates order fulfillment times. 

A WMS or even a comprehensive standalone inventory management system can support you in tracking stock levels, anticipating demand, and making data-driven decisions related to restocking and order fulfillment.

6) Achieve supply chain visibility for proactive problem solving.

Greater supply chain visibility empowers you to identify potential bottlenecks, delays, or inefficiencies that could impact your shipping operations. By implementing tracking and monitoring tools, you can gain real-time insights into your shipments and proactively address any issues before they become a problem. Enhancing supply chain visibility helps you maintain high customer satisfaction levels while streamlining your overall shipping process.

Scaling parcel shipping operations for growth can feel like walking a tightrope, as you balance automation, optimization, and supply chain visibility. By adopting a multi-carrier strategy, harnessing top-notch shipping software, and perfecting your packaging and labeling processes, you’ll be well positioned for sustained growth and long-term success.

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