This is how tech can optimise your business in 2019

Assuming you have read all the key tech trends for 2019 including our recent piece and you’ve already started to get all your ducks in a row. You’ve implemented and optimised things like: voice commerce – finally, your customers can place orders with their hands tied behind their backs! You’ve created easy checkouts and aren’t losing customers through any sort of duplications or frustrations at the paypoint. Your business customers feel like they’re individual customers, you’re treating them like kings and queens; your delivery is so fast Amazon Prime better watch out, and your chatbot service is a dream. But what is it that your business wants to achieve with all of these improvements and will it come at a cost that you may not have expected?

Here are the 3 most important end results you need to be gaining from the changes to your systems and parcel shipping processes. To give you a heads-up, the take-away from this list will be: good tech can help with that.

Convenience

In your business you may be continually preoccupied with how to make your customer journey as frictionless as possible. Convenience is king. We’re here to remind you that at the end of implementing changes that provide the best service for your customers to ensure they keep coming back, there is a key element often overlooked: convenience for your business and your employees too. Software systems as advanced as ours streamline the shipping process from start to finish: label production, cloud storage, address updates? By taking care of these shipping processes across all of your offering to customers – you ensure that convenience starts at home leaving you space to focus on scaling your business, building relationships and taking care of your people.

Speed

Yes, your business success relies heavily on the speed with which you can deliver to your customers. But it can’t come at a cost to the quality of your customer service. Speed too often ends up meaning ‘rushed’. The more rush to deliver the greater the chance of human error, confusions and even, dare we say it, chaos. Implementing a good software system is without a doubt the best antidote for human error – machine intelligence is not undermined by speed and doesn’t react negatively to deadline pressure and narrowing timeframes in the way that employees, contractors and service providers might. In order to ensure that speed.

Cost Effectiveness

The cost effectiveness of your service depends on your ability to manage the multi-delivery, payment and returns options you are now offering your customers without having to support the offering with added costs like: a new employee to oversee things, extra time on maintaining, chasing and responding though new delivery channels, various software programmes for each new or upgraded process. To maintain on a grasp on all the various shipping functions your customers expect – the most cost-effective next step is to install shipping management software that is able to keep everything on track with minimal opportunity for human error. Good software should enable you to easily review depots, tracking, support tickets and invoices – at the very least.

With great software comes peace of mind; the ability to scale at speed without compromising on quality of service; and the happiness of not just your customers but everyone involved at each step of your supply chain.

Take a look at what we can do for you from cost control through to our powerful payment solution to seven different levels of security for different tiered employees, to localisation adaptability functions and a customisable notification engine – SmartConsign has your back. Give us a call.

How to Choose the Best Shipping Logistics Software

The global logistics industry is predicted to be worth $15.5 bn by 2023. With so much stock moving between retailers and customers, you need to be sure your shipping is working well.

Choosing the right software is one way to help manage shipping costs and your logistics. But with different options available, how do you choose the right software for your business?

Read on to learn what questions to ask when choosing shipping logistics software.

Does the Software Do the Basics Well?

At its most basic, logistics software needs to improve your productivity and efficiency. It’s designed to save money and keep your customers satisfied.

It’ll perform plenty of functions, such as warehouse functions like picking, and even transportation.

So ask yourself these questions when you’re looking at software.

  • Can it support more than one partner/carrier?

  • Can you process costs and invoices in real-time?

  • Does it send and receive shipping data?

  • Does it offer support for mobile tech?

Don’t be afraid to look at a package of solutions, rather than a single model you use for every client.

Can It Provide Analytics of Data?

More data passing through electronic systems give better opportunities to analyse such information. Having software that uses analytic tools gives you better insights through regular reports.

It’s all part of the ‘Big Data’ revolution. 90% of the world’s data was generated in the last two years.

Your software can harness the power of Big Data to help you grow your business. The software can spot patterns faster than human operators. So your reports might start providing solutions to problems instead of just highlighting the issue.

These recommendations can help your business make better, and faster, decisions about the entire business process.

Does It Offer Integration?

You can choose between plenty of stand-alone software solutions. But because of the moving parts involved with shipping logistics, you may need more.

You’ll need either one suite that covers all functions. Or you’ll need a series of stand-alone solutions that integrate. Alternatively, you’ll need your solution to integrate with those of your partners.

The software needs to extract data from the process in order to make decisions. Maybe it needs to change the warehouse dispatches to keep stock levels up. Or it might slow down to build stock levels / speed up to reduce stock?

Will This Software Address Pain Points?

Introducing new software can introduce its own problems. You don’t want to cause issues if it’s not necessary.

So you need to be sure that you know exactly what problems the software is going to solve. By evaluating where your current pain points are, you’ll be better able to choose the right solution for you.

If you’re looking for the cheapest way to ship, you need software that excels at that. But if stock management is more of an issue, that’s where your new software needs to place its focus.

Now You Can Choose the Best Shipping Logistics Software

The world of shipping logistics doesn’t need to produce headaches. By evaluating exactly what problems you need to solve, you can find the right software for you.

If you’re looking for a partner to help solve your shipping problems, then why not get in touch? We can discuss how to get you moving today.

Mobile Tech in Shipping Logistics Infographic

The parcel delivery sector is by nature a mobile intense environment. With advancements in mobile tech capabilities, logistics professionals have a better chance to step up to the challenges posed by rising consumer expectations that are disrupting the sector. Find our how mobile tech is shaping the logistics industry in our infographic.

 

Multi-Carrier parcel delivery software: a smart solution for growing enterprises

As online retail soars so too does the demand for faster, better delivery, with most people in most instances expecting an option for next-day or free delivery. In this landscape retailers can only benefit from having more carrier choices. A multi-carrier system has many advantages and helps to spread the risks as well as drive efficiencies by taking advantage of the unique strengths each carrier brings to the table.

Although carriers act largely outside of the control of the retailers they serve, the fact that customers are interacting with delivery suppliers at a much higher rate than ever before means that customers make judgements about the retailer in conjunction with making judgements about the delivery.  As a consequence, a poor delivery experience reflects poorly on the retailer – sometimes even more so than on the carrier. On the other hand if customers have come to view a specific carrier negatively they may choose not to purchase through a retailer in order to avoid dealing with their delivery option.

Despite the advantages, the thought of managing a multi-carrier system can be daunting and, in some cases, prohibitive. At SmartConsign we have created multi-carrier management software that makes management easier, not more difficult. With access to 25 carriers using our simple, efficient system, retailers can effortlessly find and utilise whichever carrier best fits their needs, every time.

Key benefits of the SmartConsign multi-carrier management software

  • Carrier Agnostic System – our software doesn’t charge carriers to be integrated into the system. This ensures all the information you access about carriers is totally independent and unbiased
  • Operational Efficiencies – you can access all carrier rates in one place, reducing the time it takes to research rates and process orders
  • Operational Flexibility – you can review carrier performance and easily benchmark carrier’s strengths and weaknesses. This gives you the flexibility to choose the best carrier for the job
  • Minimise Risk – the shipping logistics environment is subject to constant change (for example poor weather or traffic delays) having a choice of carriers at your fingertips gives you choice and helps mitigate risks
  • Buyer Power – with access to all the rates and performance of carriers you are in a stronger position to negotiate and get best rates
  • Win new clients – match preferences for certain carriers – particularly if they are locked into certain contracts
  • Customer Service – our software gives you the ability to meet rising demands for shipping whether for same-day or free delivery. With access to multiple carriers you are free to choose the best option for your brand
  • Returns Management – get enhanced ability to manage inbound shipping which allows you to access the right carrier at the right time for the job

In addition, we know that labelling can become an issue – at SmartConsign we’ve standardised all label formats to 4 by 6 inches, so there’s no need to worry about which carrier you’ll be using for each parcel – you can print off the same size label for all of them.

Our multi-carrier management system is just one of many ways that we are able to simplify and optimise your shipping processes. Take a look at some of our other great features or get in touch to find out more about how our multi-carrier system could work for you.

Mobile Tech in Shipping Logistics – no longer optional

Consumer expectations for parcel delivery have never been higher and continue to rise at a rapid rate. Our modern lifestyle revolves around convenience and most of us have become accustomed to getting what we want when we want it – not to mention being able to return it with ease when we don’t…  With 57% of domestic parcel deliveries being for next-day, shipping logistics services who don’t offer a speedy service, make themselves obsolete.

In order to ensure that your brand stays relevant, it is vital that you choose a tech solution that provides both speed of service and convenience of access to customers. This means clear, easy ordering facilities as well as smooth-processing options for both home delivery and click and collect. At point-of-purchase, a consumer will think nothing of stopping short of placing an order if the delivery option doesn’t live up to the (very high) expectations of immediacy or near-immediacy.

Customers want equally convenient choices at every point

Mobile tech is perfectly suited to this consumer landscape, with over 5 billion global smartphone users and, in the UK, a generation of consumers who take online shopping with the option for 24-hour delivery turnaround for granted – utilising mobile tech capabilities is an absolute essential for any logistics company who wants to stay competitive.

Providing consumers with options like home delivery or click and collect has been the most recent disruption to the industry. Never a more frustrated consumer than the one who has to wait all day for a delivery that is due to arrive “between 8 am and 8 pm”. Consumers have made their preference clear with 49% choosing click and collect and with half doing so to avoid delivery charges while the other half find it to be more convenient than home delivery. Mobile tech allows you to stay in touch with your customer, particularly in the last-mile period, the challenges of which are generally accepted to be able to make or break a brand.

The future is wholly mobile

In 2019, that’s just next year, the moon will get its first mobile phone network as part of a project between Nokia and Audi and later this year 12 US cities will be first to receive 5G mobile internet. Also, this year 4 million GM vehicles will be equipped with in-dash e-commerce tech. The future is very clear, very powerfully mobile-centric and must be a part of logistic providers immediate future plans. Until now financial limitations have been a major deterrent for smaller providers to embrace mobile but staying connected to your customers right from point A to Z – something big brands with big money do so well – is no longer just for the main players, mobile tech is becoming affordable and mainstream, opening up the market potential for small brands with commitment to win over customers with consistent, good service. Collaboration and integration are key, parcel delivery software like SmartConsign are constantly evolving their technology with smart mobile solutions coming soon.

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How startups can turn shipping logistics into competitive advantage

Like many aspects of building and growing your brand, it takes time to figure out what works best for your business model. The effort you put into designing your product, merchandising, recruiting, and building your website, among other things, is vital to long-term success. And whilst shipping might be covered in your pricing strategy, few organisations think about their shipping operations holistically. Agile e-commerce startups embrace holistic shipping because they know it will help them win market share from incumbents.

Startups that position their shipping logistics as a key differentiator recognise the following:

  1. Brand Experience
    The point at which the customer receives your parcel is their ultimate experience with your brand. The opportunity for repeat purchases is at your fingertips, but the customer journey has got to be satisfactory. Otherwise, all of your previous effort will have been wasted.
  2. Business Efficiency
    Delivery management can get complicated and costly, but the shipping logistics process can generate a wealth of data that can be used to help improve overall business efficiencies.
  3. Customer Loyalty
    Understanding all the variables involved in shipping logistics is vital to long-term success. The mix of shipping delivery options are key drivers of customer loyalty. Getting this right at the outset requires careful planning and should form part of your overall brand strategy.

With a myriad of hi-tech solutions in the delivery supply chain, the opportunity to maximise business efficiencies is accessible by everyone. When choosing a parcel delivery software consider some of the following features:

  • Standardised labelling that fits any carrier
  • Real time information cost and transaction logs
  • Customisable notification
  • Rapid consignment generation
  • Rapid label creation
  • Covers all major shipment types
  • Drop ship label
  • Returns management

Getting clarity in your delivery management process can deliver competitive advantage and can be achieved sooner than you think. A shipping logistics software solution like SmartConsign can be set up in a matter of days, and as it’s an SaaS-based solution, there is no hardware installation to worry about . Just sign up and you’re ready to go. Request a demo today!

SaaS Solutions – What every logistics professional needs to consider in 2018

SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) is an on-demand, cloud-based delivery model for software applications. A service provider hosts the application at a remote location and the user reaches it through an internet web browser. The service provider manages the infrastructure, and the user pays for a monthly or yearly subscription.

SmartConsign is one of the first true cloud-based SaaS solutions for shipping logistics.  With their 10-year anniversary coming up, the team at SmartConsign is looking forward to 2018 and helping logistics professionals achieve their business goals through cloud computing.

With that in mind, here are a few tips for the new year:

  1. Simplifying Operations

    Businesses need to look at ways to make it easier for their customers to access services by integrating SaaS solutions into their business operations. This is crucial to meeting customers’ growing expectations. With cloud-based solutions like SmartConsign parcel delivery software, there is no hardware or software installation, which streamlines integration.

  2. Competitive Advantage

    SaaS solutions offer a flexible and financially attractive solution for businesses. Users want the simplicity and high performance that the cloud offers, and more businesses are realising the benefits of moving key parts of their operation to a cloud-based environment.

  3. Boost Performance

    The need to enhance existing infrastructure and systems to improve overall performance underlines the importance of API’s. But, it also highlights the need for a clear data strategy. Data centres, as cited in a recent report by Cisco, are important enablers in the expansion of cloud computing. SmartConsign retains up to 10 years of data on secure servers.

  4. Connectivity and Business Continuity

    Enhanced network quality will increase consumer expectations for highly responsive, fast-loading services. Apps continue to drive demand for cloud services and help cope with the volume of data generated by multiple devices in the IoT (Internet of Things). For some businesses, this means re-evaluating and upgrading their SaaS solutions to be more responsive. For others, it means integrating cloud-based software that offers additional business continuity options that weren’t previously available. Setting up a DR (Disaster Recovery) solution like SmartConsign’s is fast becoming the norm as businesses are under pressure to deliver robust and efficient delivery services.

  5. Security

    As cyber-attacks become more sophisticated, cloud services must ensure that they have robust and secure systems. SmartConsign is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS), one of the world’s most secure servers.

Over the past year, the adoption of SaaS solutions like SmartConsign has gone from strength to strength. A recent Cisco report says that by 2020, 90% of workloads will be processed in the cloud. For more information about how SmartConsign cloud-based carrier management software can help improve your operational efficiencies, contact info@cloudstuff.co.uk or telephone 0345 257 3005.

Cover Your Ground with SmartConsign, the Cloud SaaS Solution

Simplified Shipping Logistics Done Right.

When customers shop online, they expect their packages to be delivered promptly and in perfect condition. Now, more than ever, companies where shipping and operational management aren’t optimized will see their revenues drop. In order to stay competitive, you need to be sure that your shipping logistics system is both comprehensive and easy to use. That’s why SmartConsign has created a web-based application to make sure your shipping run smoothly.

Protection for Unexpected Mishaps

Every time there’s a delayed shipment or lost package, your brand suffers. Shippers who used City Link know this all too well. Two years ago, City Link went into administration, leaving millions of parcels stuck in depots–they just weren’t able to deal with the surge in online shopping. If SmartConsign had been around then, shippers could have mitigated these unexpected circumstances by switching their nominated carriers in real time saving their customers disappointment, uncertainty and frustration.

Web-based and Built for Speed

As businesses scale, they need to create more robust systems to sustain growth, but they also need those systems to be agile. Our web-based logistics software enables you to track multiple carriers in one place, saving on operating costs and storing shipment history for up to 10 years. We’re the shipping logistics solution that’s built for speed, and our software works just as easily on a mobile as it does on a PC.

More Value for Money

Our financial management functionality lets you easily keep track of costs in real-time, but also completely changes the way carrier invoices are processed, checked, audited and reconciled. We’ve got everything organized in one place so you can see the big picture. You can even control the entire journey of the workflow, from point of sale to delivery and returns.

Whether you run an SME or a multinational corporation, SmartConsign can help streamline your shipping and returns processes. Contact us today to find out more.