What is a Multi-Carrier Software Provider?
Multi-Carrier Software Providers help to make shipping efficient by planning and executing shipment deliveries across the supply chain. With one source to manage all shipping vendors, users can build custom rules based on rates and time in transit; helping to reduce costs and offering a better customer experience.
We are proud of our partnerships with the most popular Multi-Carrier Software Providers , who support certified OnTrac Shipping Modules. For a complete list of the OnTrac supported shipping modules please visit http://www.ontrac.com/onlineShipMultiShip.asp.
If you are not currently utilizing a Multi-Carrier Software we encourage you to investigate your options. The holidays are just around the corner, adding in a shipping software solution NOW will make peak season easier to manage.
OnTrac Vice President of Business Development Mark Magill noted that guaranteed next-day delivery at Ground rates to Zone 4 destinations that are 500-600 miles from your distribution center means that next peak season, when Christmas is on a Thursday, a regional parcel carrier can pick your shipments up on Tuesday December 23 and deliver them on Christmas Eve, just as they do the other 249 shipping days of the year.
This will happen even if the pick-up point is in Boston and your customer is located in Washington, DC. In fact, to enhance their service offering (and your customer experience), some large regional parcel carriers are even providing Sunday (Ground) pickups with Monday delivery!
This will be especially helpful in years when there are fewer shipping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. (Keep in mind that in 2013, there were 17 shipping days in that time period and this year there will still only be 18).
It is time to start planning for the upcoming holiday season. By adding Regional Carriers and a Multi-Carrier Software solution to your operation, efficiencies will be improved and cost will be reduced.
OnTrac, the largest regional parcel carrier in the United States, is proud to announce the addition of Idaho to their service area. OnTrac is now offering its faster delivery service to and from the major metropolitan areas of Idaho. The expansion of Idaho grows their service area to 8 states and 60 million consumers.
From Idaho, customers receive next-day delivery to the metro areas of Idaho, Portland, OR, Northern Nevada and Utah, and Washington. They can also enjoy two-day shipping to Arizona, California, Colorado, Las Vegas, NV and Southern Utah. Now shippers have access to more customers in more states with faster transit times. When shipping to Idaho, customers can save a transit day over national carriers. The best part is that overnight deliveries are performed at Ground shipping rates.
"The addition of Idaho to the OnTrac service area means our customers are now able to ship and receive packages from Boise a day faster than they would with the national carriers," said President Robert Humphrey.
Adding Idaho comes at a great time for online retailers. With more and more consumers turning to an online retail solution, companies are looking for ways to gain an edge over competitors. Regional carriers, like OnTrac, have a Ground shipping footprint that reaches up to Zone 4 destinations next day.
The competitive rates, fewer fees and lower surcharges from OnTrac are all backed by a Money-Back Service Guarantee. To make it even easier for customers, OnTrac Ground uses the same zones as national carriers, so integrating OnTrac into existing shipping workflows will be seamless.
For more , visit our Overnight Shipping to and from Idaho webpage.
OnTrac is the leader in regional, overnight delivery in the 8 western states. By focusing on regional service, OnTrac reaches more Ground destinations next-day without the added costs of express shipping. Founded in 1991 as a division of Express Messenger Systems, Inc., OnTrac celebrates 22 years of on-time delivery, and offers competitive rates, lower fees, and fewer surcharges. OnTrac is a SmartWay Transport Partner
. To learn more about OnTrac, visit ontrac.com
, or call 1-800-334-5000.
By Mark Magill
Regular readers of this column know the many benefits of adding regional parcel carriers to their carrier mix. Not only can a shipper significantly reduce their shipping spend, get faster time in transit (including next day delivery at Ground Rates, but they can also increase their productivity by taking advantage of the later pick up times that regional parcel carriers routinely offer. But what does it require to implement a regional carrier, and is it worth the effort? By speaking with a representative of your local carrier, you will discover that it is a surprisingly easy undertaking.
Any change in your business will necessitate some degree of planning, time, and even expense. So you should always perform your due diligence in finding out what implementing a regional carrier will require. One of the most effective methods for doing that is to ask for a list of referrals from your local regional carrier. Ideally, they should come from a company in your industry who has been shipping with that particular regional carrier for some length of time. In addition to asking them how they implemented the regional carrier, ask them what specific benefits compelled them to make the change. You may be surprised at what you learn.
A step by step process for engaging the regional carrier should include providing them with few months of shipping data including package weights pieces per delivery stop and the five-digit delivery ZIP Code information for your shipments. This would enable the regional carrier to determine the true cost of servicing your account and enable them to be the most aggressive in their rate proposal. This cost to serve model is the same one that the national carriers use. When doing your analysis, be sure to include the savings your company would reap by being able to downgrade the shipping mode from Air Express to Ground service in Zone 4 delivery points where the regional carriers can deliver next day at Ground rates over 500 miles from their origin. The savings from this portion of your business can be especially significant. When you have completed the analysis based on the rates that the regional carrier is offering, it should be fairly easy to create a cost/ benefit analysis based on any soft costs you may incur and competitive advantages you receive.
The next step would be to determine how you will process your shipments. A regional carrier of any significant size has their own internally created shipping software that they would gladly supply along with a thermal label printer. But if you are a large shipper you are probably already using multi-carrier shipping software of some kind. The larger regional carriers often have shipping modules for those software providers or if need be can have generic modules created. (if they already do have modules, it is the closest thing to "plug and play" in the parcel shipping IT world). The regional carriers can also directly integrate with your own homegrown legacy system, via API, ODBC or even integrate with the very largest TMS systems.
Finally, having an available dock door is an issue that sometimes arises. The flexibility that is the hallmark of regional carriers can usually alleviate this issue. Since these carriers are by definition regional, they operate in a geographical space that allows them to provide later pick up times. Rather than having a dock door dedicated to them, they can arrange a pull time that occurs after the national carriers have already picked up.
Since DHL pulled out of the domestic shipping market four years ago, there has been a definite need for alternatives to the national carriers. In any industry, a limited number of choices does not best serve the market. It may be well worth your while to investigate the reduced expense and competitive advantages that the regional parcel carriers provide. Adding them to your carrier mix may be much easier than you think!
The Peak Season Solution
It's Friday, December 21 at 6:00 PM, and you’re the distribution manager of a large e-commerce company. The national carrier’s last truck has just pulled away from your distribution center dock and you’re wondering how you’re going to get all the packages you have yet to process delivered by Monday the day before Christmas. Cyber Monday seems like a distant memory but you’ve still got this last peak season hurdle to surmount. What do you do?
While none of us has the luxury of a time machine to go back and change things, one course of action you could have taken was to add a regional parcel carrier to your carrier mix before the start of peak season. The regional parcel carriers operate in most large population centers and link the major cities of the US with next day delivery at Ground rates at distances up to 600 miles from their point of origin.
As their customers know, flexibility is the hallmark of regional parcel carriers. One of the most competitive features they offer is much later pick up times than the national carriers. That forlorn distribution manager could have had a regional parcel carrier pick up at 8:00 pm and still have satisfied his customers with shipments delivered by Monday December 24th.
In fact, some regional parcel carriers offer their very largest customers pick-ups on Sunday with delivery on Monday to Zone 4 destinations over 500 miles away. They also offer midnight pick-ups with deliveries that same day to Zone 2 destinations. This level of flexibility can provide your company with a huge advantage over your competitors. The very largest shippers are well aware of this and use regional parcel carriers accordingly.
The reason regional parcel carriers are able to offer this level of flexibility is because they are not tied to huge intra-continental line haul systems. Those networks often involve intermodal transport with limited departure schedules. The regional carriers operate on localized hub and spoke systems that link major metropolitan areas like Minneapolis with Chicago using tractor trailer line hauls with frequent departures.
Implementing the regional parcel carriers is much easier than you might think. They all have IT teams in place to help integrate with your shipping systems. And many of them have partnered with multi-carrier shipping software providers to create shipping modules that are the closest thing to plug and play in the shipping system world. And if you are concerned about limited dock door space, keep in mind that since the regional carriers can pick up much later than the national carriers, you can arrange a time for them to come after the national carriers have already departed from your facility.
Now is the time to contact your local regional parcel carrier. The clock is ticking, it’s now October and on the day I wrote this article, there were only 55 shipping days left until Christmas!
For more information and to view this and other articles, click here.
Author: Mark Magill, Director of Business Development, OnTrac
Regional parcel carriers give you the next-day delivery edge!
Last week our Director of Business Operations, Mark Magill, spoke at the Council of Supply Chain Management, where more than 3,000 professionals in logistics and supply chain management met at the Annual Global Conference to learn how to cut supply chain costs, network with colleagues from all over the world, and discover new and innovative supply chain ideas.
His presentation included information on the online retail industry and gave shippers an idea of what to do when offering free shipping is not enough.
The online retail industry passed the $200 billion mark in the 2011 revenue estimates released last month. Projections show it will grow by another 60 percent in the next five years and cross the $300 billion threshold by 2016. These are staggering figures when you consider that e-Commerce still only comprises about seven percent of retail sales.
This has had a profound impact on the parcel delivery market. An industry once dominated by the commercial segment has been inundated by business to consumer deliveries. At last count, it had exceeded 40 percent of all shipments and it is relentlessly approaching the halfway point. The fiercely competitive e-Commerce landscape has caused free shipping to become an almost standard offering on most websites. This has caused the volume of postal consolidators to spike up sharply because they are the lowest cost shipping method. But what are your alternatives when free shipping is not enough to satisfy the demands of your customers?
The seven to ten day delivery commitment offered by postal consolidators may be a satisfactory option for inexpensive items ordered online (sometimes humorously referred to as “cheap and cheerful’). But what are the realities when your customer is ordering an expensive piece of apparel like a $700 leather jacket? Is it worth the risk of buyer’s remorse with that type of high margin item? And what about the risk of shopping cart abandonment if they need the apparel for a special occasion and balk at the high cost of the express shipping option on your website? These issues become even more critical when dealing with the Generation Y/Millennial consumers who have an expectation of overnight delivery without being willing to pay extra for it.
However, there are viable solutions to these issues in major metropolitan areas of the United States. To gain a sharper insight into these solutions, let’s first examine the term Mega-region. A Mega-region is a geographical area where a large portion of the U.S. population is concentrated. A good example of this is California. It is home to more than thirty seven million people. Other examples are the Phoenix Sunbelt, Cascadia (the Seattle/Portland I- 5 corridor), the Front Range of Colorado and the Boston to Washington D.C. Corridor. The population of these Mega-regions totals nearly 200 million consumers and the overwhelming majority of e-Commerce deliveries are shipped to them.
The solution to your faster time in transit requirements are the regional parcel carriers that are located in most Mega-regions. These carriers have a next-day Ground delivery footprint that is much larger than that of UPS and FedEx. They offer guaranteed next-day delivery to Zone 4 destinations as far as 800 miles from point of origin. For example, with a distribution center in Reno, NV, you could provide your customers the option of, not only overnight delivery in Nevada, but overnight shipping from Seattle to Phoenix. The best part about it is these overnight deliveries are performed at Ground rates. This makes free shipping with faster time in transit a much more cost effective advantage to offer to your customers.
Last year I had an in-depth conversation about online delivery needs with the vice president of a very large e-Commerce company. When I asked him his opinion about regional parcel carriers, he mentioned that the regional carriers should talk about nothing but faster time in transit because it has become such a competitive factor. He wanted me to talk about , or ground shipping in Arizona. The largest Internet retailers are continually raising the bar with faster deliveries. Not every company can afford to locate a distribution center in every state, but every company that wants to remain competitive can strategically place two distribution centers in the most effective locations to take advantage of the faster time in transit that the regional parcel carriers provide. Some of the regional parcel carriers linking those Mega Regions are OnTrac in the seven largest western states, Eastern Connection in the Northeast, Lone Star Overnight in Texas and SpeeDee Delivery in the Midwest.
To learn more about our overnight delivery service, please visit any one of our OnTrac Ground information pages.
The 2012 PARCEL Forum will shine the spotlight on regional parcel carriers with multiple themed tracks and educational sessions. The regional carriers advertise many benefits over the national carriers including cost savings, greater service options including same day delivery, and custom/specialized solutions. Is your business a candidate for regional carrier services?
To better understand the regional carrier market, its advantages and potential disadvantages as well as shipper’s experiences using regional carriers, the PARCEL team once again partnered with the parcel industry experts at Shipware. PARCEL will publish the results of the “2012 Shipper’s Survey on Regional Parcel Carrier Usage” in the October edition, and Shipware will unveil survey results at the Parcel Forum.
Here’s a teaser, but look for the full results at the PARCEL Forum and in the September/October issue of PARCEL.
Like the name implies, regional carriers serve a specific region within the U.S. offering reliable package delivery services similar to FedEx and UPS. Regional carriers such as Eastern Connection, Lone Star Overnight, OnTrac, Spee-Dee Delivery and Pitt-Ohio cover more than 80% of the U.S. population and specialize in short-haul delivery (typically up to 500 miles). (To view the OnTrac Service Area, click here.)
Regional carriers can offer cost savings of 10% to 40% over UPS and FedEx pricing. As an example, Spee-Dee Delivery’s pricing starts at $3.79 for next-day delivery of a 1-pound package within Zone 2. Compared with UPS and FedEx’s minimum charge of $5.49, shippers would save 31%.
Since regionals concentrate operations in a well-defined geographic market, service to that market is often better than what the national carriers provide. For example, Eastern Connection handles East Coast deliveries from Maine to Virginia, all included as “next day” delivery points. Using FedEx and UPS Ground service, the same coverage area extends to five zones for 1-4 day delivery.
Survey respondents listed the following responses as “benefits realized to regional carrier usage”: Larger next day delivery footprint; Better service than nationals; Cost savings; Fewer surcharges; Better billing terms; Better sales rep; Improved reporting; Better dimensional divisor; Better or no minimum charge; Improved customer service; Specialized/Custom solutions; and Same day options.
Despite the many advantages, shippers are largely unaware these carriers exist. Only 39% of survey respondents reported using regional carriers, and two-thirds of that group ship less than 5% of their overall volume via regionals.
Are there any downsides to shifting parcels away from national carriers in favor of regional carriers? Is service up to par? What about customer service, caliber of the driver, automation, reporting and tracking? And just how much are the reported cost savings?
The complete survey results will reveal opportunities for shippers as well as potential mistakes to avoid. Again, look for the full results in the September/October issue of PARCEL. See you at the PARCEL Forum!
Rob Martinez, DLP is President & CEO of Shipware LLC, a parcel auditing and consulting company based in San Diego, CA. He welcomes questions and comments and can be reached at email@example.com.