• July 24, 2024

A Simple Solution to Cut Shipping, Courier and Parcel Delivery Costs For Small to Medium Businesses

I am simply amazed that there isn’t more of this going on with businesses these days. I suppose you could compare what I am about to say to car sharing, a perfectly feasible idea which is guaranteed to reduce pollution and save money by sharing fuel costs with fellow commuters. Why then are there still Range Rovers and people carriers whizzing around with only one solitary being at the wheel? People just can’t be bothered with the hassle, time and inconvenience is the apparent answer. I know I wouldn’t want to wait outside a house while the occupant made you late for work by having a “ladder in the tights” emergency or if they couldn’t find their wallet!

Let’s get back to the point of the article and apply the car sharing strategy to the business world and couriers. It’s common knowledge that any company that makes their daily bread by distributing and selling a physical product will most likely need to use a courier. It’s also common knowledge that courier and shipping bills are usually the second or third largest overhead for any company (employee salary usually hits the top spot, if you wanted to know). Finally, we all know that the larger the volume of parcels and pallets you send with your couriers the less they will charge you.

So, if we apply the same strategy by consolidating your parcel traffic with other business users on the same industrial estate or business-park, I guarantee you will be able to negotiate keener rates from the couriers than if you stood divided. Great in theory but like the car share idea it’s inconvenient, takes up more time moving the parcels to somebody else’s warehouse and who is going to spend the time sorting through all those invoices to ensure everybody pays for what they’ve sent?

In steps the “Parcel Broker” to solve all of the inconveniences

So what exactly does a Parcel Broker do?

In a nutshell a parcel or pallet broker is a web skid shipping based logistics consolidator that enables any business of any size to instantly book a collection and delivery online with a globally recognised courier at up to 65% discount from their tariffs.

Why do businesses need this service?

It solves an age old chicken and egg problem for SMEs and especially start-ups. Smaller businesses struggle to enter the marketplace alongside established competitors. This is usually not because their competitor can buy or make the product any cheaper but because they can distribute it for less, which makes their product selling price and/or delivery costs cheaper. The services of a parcel broker level the playing field for the smaller businesses, allowing them to grow into larger businesses faster, which means they can then choose to “fly the coop” and seek their own discounts with the couriers direct, or stick with the broker and continue to reap the extra benefits they can provide their customers.

Other than saving businesses money on their shipping, what other benefits does using a parcel broker offer?

Some brokers allocate a dedicated account manager to each registered business, who will deal with any queries on a daily basis. There are no huge call centres like the major couriers and these smaller brokers can build rapport with the customer to understand their needs fully. Any “leg work” will be undertaken by the Account Manager. It’s like having a external logistics controller but for free!

A recent survey found that over 89% of all UK companies used more than one courier to cater for their needs. The whole shipping process is simplified with a broker, one point of contact, one online booking engine and tools, one tracking interface for all carriers, one invoice for many services. This means more time for businesses to focus more important issues rather than chasing a paper trail and training staff on multiple systems.

Brokers will usually use the best parcel and pallet carriers the world has to offer. This is because the fewer things go wrong, the easier the parcel brokers job gets. Customers can use a website to compare quotes and then book a carrier to suit their budget, time frame and commodity.

Some parcel brokers can integrate the shipping process by using a set of API’s which increases productivity and ensures order integrity for e-commerce based businesses.

So to conclude, are there any real downsides to using a specialist business broker for your shipping requirements? If the prices are cheaper and the courier service remains the same with the additional benefits of a dedicated account manager, I can’t think of any reasons not to, so let’s hope a parcel broker can come up with a solution to make car sharing a more attractive option for the future!

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