By Lance Healy
If you frequently ship freight, the concept of rate shopping isn’t new to you. By using live rating functionality instead of static routing guides and annual contracts, savvy shippers can communicate regularly with their carrier network to renegotiate their rates monthly or quarterly — resulting in savings on transportation costs upwards of 15 percent.
Yet while this seems like a no-brainer for full truckload (FTL) and less than truckload (LTL), why aren’t more shippers applying the same logic to parcel? The wheels often fall off the bus when shipping comes off the pallets. Those same savvy shippers leveraging rate and service shopping for freight instead default to a couple of national parcel carriers when it comes to smaller-sized shipments. But there is a whole world of regional and local carriers and couriers who can provide a wider range of same-day and white glove delivery services.
For many, it comes down to their relationship with their carrier network. Typically, shippers have shied away from actively shopping across multiple providers for savings because of pressure from their carriers, who reduce discounts with any loss of volume.
What’s more, there just haven’t been many service providers that could offer the technology infrastructure to support rate shopping in the parcel space.
Well, you may not have realized it yet — but that’s no longer the case if you’re connected to carriers through the right technology service partners. Innovations in live carrier connectivity technology means there's no reason shippers can’t apply the same rate shopping strategies to small parcel that are used in freight to realize significant savings.
Expand your carrier network; expand your rate options
To apply a rate and service shopping strategy to parcel, you must first expand your carrier network options.
This is where your choice in technology service partners is critical.
Pierbridge's Transtream Parcel TMS enterprise shipping software, integrated with Banyan Technology’s live carrier connectivity platform, serves as a single API source to quickly and easily connect users with more than 2,000 TL, LTL, local, and parcel carriers.
This means you can find the best rates across multiple modes, carriers, and service levels — right through your TMS.
And while you can connect in real time with the usual big players for parcel shipments — FedEx, UPS and DHL— to take advantage of live order rating, you can also leverage Banyan’s innovative Local Carrier mode to incorporate regional specialists. This is a game changer, as you’ll be able to shop for better rates, faster ship times, expanded delivery service options, and expanded regional coverage in specific geographies.
Because what retail or eMerchant can afford not to compete with large e-commerce marketplaces promising same-day delivery?
With deep integrations to hundreds of local carriers through a single API source, you’ll have access to critical options such as home delivery solutions, airport services, expedited, kitting, and specialty white glove services.
For parcel needs that fall in between major and regional carriers, such as shipping to non-traditional locations such as shopping malls or kiosks, Banyan also offers automated integration with UPS’ Ground with Freight Pricing (GFP). The first integration of its kind, this feature gives shippers a competitive edge by showing data you need to pay the least amount for the GFP Pricing level. Able to compare pricing for parcel and freight, you can quickly and easily view and make the right decision at the right price for your shipment.
And for low-weight residential delivery, the United States Postal Service (USPS) continues to deliver savings as well as packages. There are new options available that blur the lines between traditional LTL and small package, visible directly through your Banyan-powered TMS.
Ultimately, expanding your provider network across modes ensures you have the flexibility to choose the right carrier option for your shipment based on attributes like weight and zone. By integrating these expanded options into your current workflow, you’ll find rate shopping to be an easy strategy to implement to start saving on parcel shipping.
Compare carrier rates in real time
While an extensive carrier network is crucial to your rate shopping strategy, so is your ability to view, compare, and select carrier rates in real time. Replacing manual processes, static rate tables, and asynchronous EDI technology, API connectivity allows for real-time two-way communication between your and your carriers’ systems.
This ensures you have the most up-to-date information not just in terms of live rating, but for better end-to-end visibility, tracking, and reporting, as well — all features that are vital to better managing your entire logistics process.
Live carrier connectivity is essential to securing the best shipping options for your operation. You can make better-informed decisions based on live data, and ultimately, boost productivity and profitability.
Start saving with live rate shopping for parcel
Similar to your LTL or FTL operations, the ability to conduct real-time rate shopping across vendors is key to yield significant savings for your parcel needs.
In addition to comparing carrier quotes, Banyan Technology’s connectivity hub can help you:
- Eliminate rate table maintenance
- Increase your direct negotiating freedom
- Save time and money with automated tendering/dispatch
- Oversee end-to-end freight movement with live tracking and document retrieval
- Automate freight bill exception auditing
- Make better-informed decisions based on live carrier analytics
- Access hundreds of carrier and broker options through a single integration
To learn more about how live carrier connectivity can boost efficiency, improve visibility, and deliver permanent reductions in shipping costs for your operation, visit www.banyantechnology.com.
Lance Healy is the chief innovation officer of Banyan Technology, North America’s leading provider of live carrier and API connectivity for transportation management. Bringing more than 15 years of experience in doing hundreds of client implementations, Lance is responsible for strategic partnerships as well as directing the next innovations Banyan will introduce to the market.