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Top 4 Benefits of an Integrated Shipping Solution

Top 4 Benefits of an Integrated Shipping Solution

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Top 4 Benefits of an Integrated Shipping Solution

Oct 25, 2022

Shannon Sickmon
Woman with tablet managing shipments in modern warehouse.

Your shipping process is one of the most critical aspects of your business. The entire post-purchase experience is an extension of your brand—from customer service to shipping options to fulfillment. It could mean the difference between securing or losing a sale. 54% of consumers will cancel an order if shipping costs are too high.

Managing and coordinating timely shipments is a top challenge for any business. If you are using manual processes to ship, chances are, your rates are higher than they should be—which translates into higher rates for your trading partners.

So, what can manufacturers and distributors do to meet customer expectations and reduce manual shipping processes? The answer: automated, integrated shipping with the assistance of pack and ship software.

What Is Shipping Software?

Shipping software coordinates and streamlines outgoing shipments to customers, from label creation to destination arrival. Here’s how.

In the not-so-distant past, companies might have different software solutions for each carrier. They'd have to switch back and forth between systems to get rate information, note it down and then compare.

This manual method is still prevalent if you use Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) carriers to ship your products. Generally, LTL carriers have their own websites where you must log in and then fill out a form to get a rate. Reviewing each site gets unwieldy and time-consuming. Modern shipping solutions alleviate that issue by synchronizing with multiple shipping carriers so you can compare prices and choose the most affordable rate options.

With shipping software, you monitor your shipments in real-time so that if an issue arises, you can get ahead of it and let the customer know of any delays. These shipping platforms make creating and printing labels for outgoing and return shipments easy; most shipping software will perform all these standard functions.

But, suppose you need bi-directional integration with your warehouse or, more importantly, with your trading partners? In that case, you need a pack and ship software solution that is fully integrated with your enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.

Aptean Ship is that solution. Let’s delve into the specifics.

Beyond Shipping Software: A Fully Integrated Pack and Ship Solution

To get the most significant benefit from your shipping solution, it needs to integrate with your ERP. Most large trading partners are reversing shipping responsibility to their vendors to reduce costs—meaning you must shoulder the burden of shipping products and do it with retailer labeling and branding. It also means a shift from shipping pallets of an item to your retailer or a distribution center; instead, you must now send large numbers of individual packages to meet your trading partners’ customer orders. A change like this requires more work from everyone on your team, which is where an integrated shipping solution can help.

Without integrated shipping, a typical shipment using manual processes looks like this:

  1. Receive orders from your retail partners.

  2. Verify that the items are in stock by contacting the warehouse.

  3. Process the order and verify the shipping details.

  4. Compare rates from various carriers. Then calculate the best rate manually.

  5. Send the order information with the chosen carrier to the warehouse.

  6. The warehouse team fulfills the order by picking and packing it.

  7. Print labels, manually checking whether they meet your customer’s requirements.

  8. Add the labels to the packages.

  9. Note actual shipping charges and tracking information and send this back to the front office.

  10. Manually enter the freight cost and tracking information.

  11. Create invoice and post.

These manual processes are slow and prone to manual data-entry errors.

Aptean Ship has seamless integration with Aptean ERPs so that you'll incorporate customer orders with warehouse management systems (WMS) and shipment tracking. Now, you reduce an eleven (or more) step process to two or three steps—max. No more manual data entry and siloed shipping processes. Each step is automated and managed from a central hub, so everyone in your organization is working with the same information.

Benefits of Integrated Shipping Solutions

Multi-carrier, multimodal integrated shipping software is crucial to meeting high demand and even higher customer expectations. Here are four ways that an integrated shipping solution helps your business:

Reduce Freight Spend

Integrated shipping software connects orders from all your trading partners and channels into a single platform. The system will consolidate orders from different partners based on shipping dates and locations to reduce your freight costs.

Aptean Ship auto-selects the optimal carrier and service based on your custom parameters, so you won’t have to search for the best rates. The software calculates costs and provides you with the cheapest, most efficient shipping options. You'll save time and get the best possible shipping rates.

Aptean Ship even allows for the processing and rating of small parcels and LTL carriers from one unified view. You get options to choose a different carrier for returns than outbound to save even more money. Shop rates by carrier, by mode, or both.

Reduce Shipping Complexity

Aptean Ship streamlines complex shipping orders. Plug-and-play integration with Aptean ERP coordinates shipment processing from start to finish. You access line-item detail to automate documentation for international, HazMat and Bill of Lading (BOL) reports.

The system generates branded packing slips and GS-128 labels in seconds. Batch shipping functionality allows you to process large order volumes at one time. In addition, Aptean Ship automatically sends tracking numbers, SCAC codes, 856 Automated Shipping Notices (ASN) and other information to your Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) provider.

Minimize Errors and Save Time

Aptean Ship allows you to personalize the interface by having you choose how to map and translate the destination fields based on your individual needs. For instance, if you want to offer customers free shipping on a minimum order, you can set that up in the system. Or maybe you have a long-standing customer that has a set freight rate. You enter that data upon setup, and you won't have to manage outgoing shipment rules manually. This leads to fewer data entry mistakes.

When Aptean Ship automates your printing and assigning of shipping labels, there are fewer errors. You’ll get products out the door faster with the correct paperwork. You won’t have to email orders to the warehouse or print out paperwork separately. Instead, your warehouse team scans the invoice or order number, and the labels they need will print instantly.

Make Smarter Decisions

Aptean Ship has built-in reporting and analytics with a customizable dashboard allowing front office and management teams to easily view shipment history, metrics and reports such as ones for late deliveries. Create reports to see where you ship most frequently or get data on how much you are spending per shipment.

The advanced analytics in Aptean Ship help you make informed decisions about your freight spend. You get metrics about every carrier you have used, even on those trading partners that require you to use their third-party billing account.

Ship Gets Real with an Integrated Shipping Solution

Most pack and ship software is designed to bring your shipping costs down. However, a comprehensive, robust solution like Aptean Ship further automates and simplifies your shipping processes and handles the complex documentation.

Retail compliance is paramount for you. If your trading partners (or their customers) receive the wrong product or it goes to the wrong location, you'd have to handle costly returns or lose the sale. Aptean Ship reduces the human error factor and gives your customers the transparency they want.

You have complete visibility into the shipping process from incoming orders to fulfillment. You'll know if there are issues with the order in real-time. If your shipment requires multi-mode carrier options, you have that functionality at your fingertips too.

In a recent study, over 50% of respondents said they would only buy a product if the delivery conditions were clearly stated. Aptean Ship gives you that clarity and peace of mind. An integrated shipping solution like Aptean Ship allows you to process orders rapidly and reduces delays and mistakes.

With Aptean Ship, you streamline the shipping process and get the most affordable and efficient shipping options. Your data is integrated, so you don't have to hop back and forth between applications to rate and process your orders. Instead, compare carrier rates and choose each order's best course of action from the same solution. Ask for a demo today.

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