eCommerce Shipping Small Business

Reduce Shipping Costs- without risk or changing your company’s operations

by Jennifer Dunn

Taxjar

You’re Losing Money Each Week

The packages that you ship using FedEx® and UPS® are guaranteed to arrive on time or you are owed a shipping refund.  The problem is finding the time and resources to filter through guaranteed dates, actual delivery dates, zones, carrier exceptions and the hundreds of pages of invoices you receive each week from the carriers.  It’s been a hard road getting your company operating at peak productivity, choosing the most beneficial shipping options to keep your clients happy and continuously turning a profit.

The question we ask is how much time do you have in your weekly duties to take on the audit of your carrier accounts making sure that all charges are correct and that you are not owed money? Furthermore, would it make good use of your staff’s time to manually track and audit each package – a process that has proven to suffer from human error while resulting in a net negative to the company’s bottom line?

Real Issue Resulting In Loss Of Real Money

You’re too busy to perform a daily tracking of all shipments – making sure you audit each parcel confirming it gets to its destination on-time.  When you do find a package has been delivered late, do you really have the time during your day to fill out required documentation with the carrier for refunding of your shipping costs?  When you do find this time, you realize that the package you thought was late had been delayed due to an incorrect address another staff member entered.  Now, you have spent valuable time researching just one package only to find out that not only was it late because of an incorrect address, the carrier has charged you an additional fee for this address entry mistake

Who has time for this?


Real Solution Delivering Real Money

What you need is a small package control and recovery solution that secures refunds for all late packages shipped using your FedEx® and UPS® account(s) on a weekly basis.  The service needs to track your guaranteed parcels and notify you when credits/refunds have been applied to your account(s) due to the packages arriving late.  The same service should secure these credits/refunds on your behalf and those credits should be applied directly to your carrier accounts- you have enough to worry without chasing down refunds.

In addition, demand that the solution supply you with additional value added tools including address corrections, customs delay notices, package and cost management to help control logistic and financial operations.  The solution should be transparent giving you access to shipping trends and dynamic reporting that allow you to take control of your shipping operations.

Technology Offers the Turnkey Solution

The explosion of technology throughout the last two decades allows shippers of any size to benefit from performance-based models.  Many outsourced auditors only invoice for a percentage of the savings after they are credited to your carrier account.  While that might seem simple, you should again demand transparency in their reporting and subsequent billing to ensure that you are not losing money by contracting with a 3rd party auditor.

As with any outsourced solution, make sure that the auditor you choose does not outsource their solution to another 3rd party- this is your confidential shipping information and they should treat it as such.  Be aware that there are more than a handful of companies representing that they offer this solution but only a few that actually perform the audit in-house.

Unfortunately, your company gets the blame for the late package.  By using a small package auditing service, you can make sure that your carrier account is credited for those late packages.  Late packages, even when caused by FedEx® or UPS®, become your problem and now you can take control.  When it comes to guaranteed shipping, you should receive what you pay for; if your expedited package is late by even 61-seconds you are entitled to a refund.  What many shippers do not realize is the on-time guarantee also includes Ground and Home Delivery service types.  You have paid for the service and the guarantee that comes along with it; confirm that you are getting what you pay for with each package sent.  Failure to do this opens you up to not just upset customers, but potential additional charges on your carrier invoices that have been overlooked.

The cost-benefit of data collecting, tracking, auditing and filing the late package with the carrier is not enough to take on this weekly task by yourself, outsourcing it and having a proven trusted auditor take on the risk far outweighs the time and money needed to keep this process in-house.

Take advantage of online reports that present your shipping date in a way that offers additional soft dollar savings including Service Type graphs.  Knowing what services you are using and learning how you spend your shipping dollars help you reduce your total spend.  For example, can you lower the amount of money you spend on shipping by selecting standard overnight versus priority overnight?

While researching a 3rd party auditor, what you might find from many is a restriction on the size of shipper (total spend).  The issue here is that while the majority of shippers in the United States are spending under $250,000/year, most auditors are not offering a solution or any services to the “smaller” shippers.  In 2011 the Census Bureau reported that 89.8 percent of the companies in the U.S. employed less than 20 workers.  The vast majority of these companies that make up the 89.8 percent are not shipping $250,000/year with the two major carriers.  With that said, you need to find an auditor that treats the small shippers with the same attention to detail as they do the larger shippers spending over $250,000.

In case you missed the news, we are in the age of advanced technology development.  While you might have the new iPhone, greatest computer on the market or the fastest download speed, it is time to incorporate the benefits advanced auditing technology into your shipping operations.  Regardless of the package count or the diversity of facilities, it is the continued development in auditing technology and centralized information that will help you stay one step ahead of rate increases and the major challenges you face regardless of the economic conditions.

You are the specialist in your area of business, allow technology to help you reduce your shipping spend without altering your operations.  Get back to making sure your customers are happy with your product and service, leave the auditing to the experts and optimize your operations.

About the Author:

Max Fisch is the Director of Business Development for RCS Audit and has worked with online sellers and in finance for over 15 years.

Advanced technology and dynamic reporting has separated RCS Audit from other players in the auditing industry because of their ability to delivery best in class service to any sized shipper regardless of traffic or diversity of facilities.

Learn more about RCS Audit and start a free trial today. Just enter code TAXJAR.

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