Peak Season 2021: 6 Parcel Shipping Best Practices

During peak season following some parcel shipping best practices will be the best solution for avoiding potential frustrations that usually accompany this time of year. As economies continue to emerge from a worldwide pandemic, this peak season is expected to be even busier than ever. That said, there are several steps shippers can take to avoid stress and navigate through a smooth and successful season.

1. Recognize That Peak Season is Going to be Unlike Any Other in History, So Being Ready Early is Key

In the past, peak season was easier to manage, and being prepared for this time did not require significant changes. This year, however, is projected to be unlike any in the past and even more hectic than last year. . If preparations are not already underway, begin planning immediately. Start by looking at peak season survival tips and considering the possibility of utilizing a 75-day peak season strategy. By making the proper adjustments where needed, will result in a less stressful, smoother peak season experience.

2. Capture Data From Across All Modes, Including Parcel

Analyzing data and making the necessary adjustments is an important part of peak season planning. Further, leveraging historical shipping data from last year's peak session will enable managers to adjust planning to see where the supply chain struggled and where it operated well. Reviewing shipping data associated with Amazon Prime Day 2021 will reveal insights related to carriers, cost analysis, and service levels that will prove useful in projecting peak season outcomes. Having that baseline understanding will make it easier to incorporate changes as needed to keep the business running smoothly and customers happy.

3. Reduce Stress by Leveraging Zone-Skipping

When a customer orders a package, the ideal expectation is for the package to arrive on schedule and as quickly as possible. By using parcel shipping practices this peak season, that expectation can still be reached without added stress. Zone-skipping is a practice commonly used with high volumes of packages because it still allows the benefits of truckload pricing versus individual package prices. On a larger scale reducing the zone for hundreds of parcel shipments in a truckload is a great way to reduce total costs and is an easy strategy to implement with the right business intelligence partner. Zone-skipping can be used when a customer is willing to wait an extra day or two for the delivery and will result in better source rates. Instead of shipping individual packages across various zones and locations, one truckload will be sent, allowing for lower shipping prices per package.

4. Encourage Customers to Order Earlier, Promoting Increased Lead Time in Your Network

During this peak season, with countless numbers of packages ordered and processed at once in such a small window of time, it can be challenging for shippers to keep pace. Encouraging customers to order earlier is one solution to avoiding the peak season strain and inventory delays. Multiple retailers, including Target, are starting holiday sales as early as October, which provides customers with the option to buy online and pick up in stores. Peak shipping best practices during Black Friday and Cyber Monday can be very effective in allowing more time to be spent on packages that may not be in that area or may not be given that option. Customers utilizing the sales and early ordering will ease capacity constraints and make it more manageable to prevent delivery delays.

5. Analyze Data to Understand When and Where to Expand and Work With More Regional Parcel Carriers

There is an absolute need for improved efficiency through peak season 2021. According to Parcel Industry, "Shopping during this time of year can account for 40% of annual sales for retailers. This puts stress on ensuring inventory is in stock, e-commerce sites are ready to handle the influx in shoppers, and warehouses can optimize fulfillment." Working with more regional parcel carriers will provide a faster, cheaper, and more flexible delivery service to keep up with the competition. A significant advantage to regional parcel carriers is that next-day ground delivery within 400 miles of the shipment origin can be achieved. In contrast, national carriers can achieve next-day services only if the shipment is within 200 miles of the point of origin.

6. Avoid Problems With Automated Anomaly Detection

With stress levels and the number of packages ordered on the rise as peak season approaches, there is no room for problems. Using peak shipping best practices like automated anomaly detection can provide specific indicators of what may be going wrong while also providing a better picture of what is happening behind the data.

For example, errors may exist within addresses or specific routing instructions.

Leveraging technology to catch those errors at the time of shipment creation will go a long way toward reducing confusion and avoiding unnecessary delays in shipping execution. Data and information need to be closely monitored at scale during peak season, something a manual approach to anomaly detection and correction cannot accomplish.

Put These Best Practices to Work to Thrive Through the Rest of 2021 and Beyond

The holiday season can be stressful for everyone, especially shippers. Using peak shipping best practices and making the necessary changes to prepare ahead of time should result in less stress. To ensure an even smoother peak season, start capturing the right data by connecting with Intelligent Audit today.

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