With the power of the internet at your fingertips, the connotation of auditing has changed. Historically, audits were seen as a costly, intrusive process that often resulted in the assessment of some sort of fine or penalty. However, the internet is making audits become the “best friend” of shippers. Audits provide a huge amount of power, which can be leveraged to increase sales, production, and return. However, some continue to refute audits, but take a look at what could be going on in your operation without small package auditing.
Shippers May Be Overpaying, Which Affects Small Package Auditing.
Shippers pay up to 5 percent more when small package auditing is not completed, explains Jared Fisher of PARCEL Media. Shippers are basically leaving money on the table, but an audit can identify these costs and charges, catalyzing refund procedures.
Opportunities for Re-Rates Are Available.
In shipping, fuel surcharges, toll costs and expenses can change rapidly. Today’s expenses are not necessarily indicative of tomorrow’s costs, but the only way to identify if the costs are appropriate is to review invoices and these costs for accuracy. In some cases, a re-rate of a shipment may be available once a final fuel cost has been determined. As a result, the overall cost of shipping a small package may be significantly lower than originally determined.
There Are Problems With Delivery.
Customers are not always able to receive a package, and leaving a small package at the doorstep is quickly seen as inviting thieves to take what is sitting in the open. Moreover, multiple failed delivery attempts may result in sending the package back to its origin, increasing costs for the shipper and original seller. However, auditing can identify what is most likely to result in a failed delivery and provide recommendations on how to proceed in each circumstance.
Management of Returns Is Difficult.
Returns management represents one of the most significant costs for shippers. As a result, every cost that can be lowered during returns is essential to making sure the investment of offering customers refunds does not turn into a hassle or money-eating machine.
Accountability and Visibility Are Critical Parts of Modern Shipping.
Modern shippers face growing scrutiny by the public and government. Since visibility and global market-share of small package are continually expanding, reports John Haber of PARCEL MEDIA, audits are the best means of ensuring all processes and operations are being carried out to the letter of the law and according to customers’ expectations.
Shipments Need Optimization.
Small packages are small, and what happens to small things when they are introduced to a big world? They get lost, damaged, misplaced, put on the wrong pallet, moved to the wrong carrier or worse. However, small package auditing is designed to identify where small packages have the greatest risk for becoming stuck in-transit in some unknown place. This allows carriers and shippers to take extra care during these riskiest parts of the package’s journey, resulting in an optimized supply chain. Furthermore, optimized small package delivery schedules are possible through audits of routes and transportation operations to find the fastest, cheapest way to delivery products.
Incorrect Data Exists.
Today’s shipping systems are capable of processing thousands of requests in break-neck time. However, this means any problems that occur are capable of leading to severe skews of reports, metrics, and key performance indicators. Although the frequency of shipping reports is becoming a weekly, if not more often, occurrence, incorrect data leads to higher costs over even small periods of time. Consequently, shippers need to verify information for all packages, including small packages, as they occur to identify areas where data capture is missing or inaccurate. This may include identifying incorrect scans or processing of small packages.
Rate Models Are Evolving.
Today’s shippers are facing more difficulty in determining the cost of shipments due to evolving rate models, such as dimensional pricing. This pricing model takes into account the volume and weight of a package in determining shipping cost, but shippers may have legacy systems that only account for traditional freight classification models. In addition to upgrading systems to a dedicated transportation management system, shippers can use auditing capabilities to isolate pain points in switching to dimensional pricing models.
Customer Service Needs More Accurate Information.
The growth of e-commerce and the internet is not just beneficial for shippers; it provides customers with more information about their products and status. However, this information may not necessarily be reflected in customer services’ systems during periods of transition or after transitioning to a newer system. Therefore, the level of customer service falls, and customers are at risk of not doing business with you or your business-to-business partners any longer. However, audits can be leveraged to identify what consumers are calling in about, where the problem lies and how it can be fixed and prevented in the future. As a result, audits make customer service more efficient and effective, especially when a negative customer-client interaction has occurred.
Manifest Problems Result in Delays and Costs.
When the manifest is incorrect, it opens the door to delays in delivery, incomplete orders and potential fines or assessment of penalties, especially when crossing international borders. Audits need to be in place to locate areas that are continually experiencing problems with completing or maintaining an accurate manifest. As a result, the shipper can avoid unnecessary delays and costs from having a shipment stuck in Customs for an extended period of time.
After looking at each of these problems, shippers can see why small package auditing or parcel invoice auditing is essential to boosting productivity and efficiency. However, small package auditing is only half of the battle. Shippers need to follow the best practices of small package shipping, as explained here, and ensure their system uses the latest technologies in both predictive analytics and rate optimization. Small packages are the new gold standard in shipping.