Shipping all over the world
By Heather Legg
For any business, especially a small one, shipping costs, from local to national to international, can dig in and take up a big part of the budget.
Though business owners may not be able to avoid costly shipping all the way around, there are some ways to ship smartly and save on at least some of the cost. If owners can save even a small percentage of shipping costs and transportation, that all goes towards more money in the owner’s pocket and less going out the door with the shipments.
Think about some of these shipping considerations to help you save money in your business’s shipping and transportation logistics:
1. Choose who you will work with for shipping – USPS, UPS, FedEx – and then make sure you work with them to find the best methods for your business, your product and your shipping needs. Some companies like to have two providers to work with, but you should definitely choose one that you can get to know on a personal basis. Think about convenience as well; one across the street will save you time and money than working with one across town.
2. Recycle packing materials - This may seem like a no brainer, but packaging can add up in a big way. Save the packages you receive and adapt them to what you need to pack up.
3. Entrepreneur advises working closely with the small business specialist from your provider. They can help decide things like how to ship – air or ground which depends on distance and size/weight of package. They can also help with the timing of when to ship to avoid express fees. Entrepreneur adds that those who don’t work closely with their carrier can spend around 40 percent or more on shipping fees than the business owners who do work with their providers.
4. Be clear with your customers. If you are charging shipping on their purchase, let them know, and let them know how much it will be for each kind of shipping. If shipping is included in the price, make them aware of that as well. No customer wants to see a surprise delivery charge tacked onto the purchase price.
5. Consider letting someone else do it. If your business has grown and it’s gotten too much for you to go and ship every package, outsource it. There are companies out there to handle your shipping practices and you can focus on other aspects of your businesses, like getting those orders that need to be shipped!
Once your shipping needs begin to take off, you know it’s a good thing.
But as your business grows, you may need to adapt your shipping needs and methods.
Stay on top of it and work with your partners and customers to make sure you are continually maintaining the best prices and most efficient practices.
Heather Legg is a writer who covers topics related to small business, hiring and Steve Wynn.
FedEx is Reshaping Last Mile with Autonomous Vehicles
FedEx is embarking on an expanded test of autonomous, driver-less delivery vehicles to develop its last-mile logistics.
The US logistics firm piloted autonomous vehicles from Nuro in April this year, and the pair will now explore that further in a multi-year partnership. Cosimo Leipold, Nuro’s head of partnerships, said the collaboration "will enable innovative, industry-first product offerings that will better everyday life and help make communities safer and greener".
FedEx will explore a variety of on-road use cases for the autonomous fleet, including multi-stop and appointment-based deliveries, going beyond more traditional applications of the technology in single-route movement of goods from A-B. Exponential growth in ecommerce is spurring its broader experimentation in new autonomy solutions, Fed-Ex says, both in-warehouse and on-road.
“FedEx was built on innovation, and it continues to be an integral part of our culture and business strategy,” said Rebecca Yeung, Vice President, Advanced Technology and Innovation, FedEx Corporation. “We are excited to collaborate with an industry leader like Nuro as we continue to explore the use of autonomous technologies within our operations.”
The changing role of couriers
Unlike structured delivery networks, operating under long-term partnerships and contracts, agility is where couriers deliver true value - and their ability to deftly solve last-mile fulfilment has most acutely been felt during the pandemic. For the billions of people around the world forced to stay at home to protect themselves and their communities from the spreading COVID-19 virus, couriers have been a constant. They may have been the only knock at the door some people experienced for weeks or months at a time.
But the last-mile has been uprooted by a boom in ecommerce, a shift that has been most apparent in the UK, US, China and Japan, according to the Global Parcel Delivery Market Insight Report 2021 by Apex Insight. These are markets with dominant economies and populations used to running their lives with a tap of a screen or double-click of a mouse.
“Getting last mile delivery right has long been a challenge for retailers,” says Kees Jacobs, Vice President, Consumer Goods and Retail at Capgemini. “In 2019, 97% of retail organisations felt their last-mile delivery models were not sustainable for full-scale implementation across all locations. Despite increasing demand from customers, companies were struggling to make the last mile profitable and efficient.”
Jacobs says that the pandemic alleviated some of these stresses in the short term. With no other option, consumers were understanding and tolerant, if not entirely happy, with longer delivery times and less transparent tracking. “But, as extremely high delivery demand continues to be normal, customers will expect brands to contract their delivery times,” he adds.
Last mile's role in ESG
Demand and volume weren’t the only things that have changed during the pandemic - businesses looked closer to home and as a result became more sustainable. Bricks and mortar stores were transformed from mini-showrooms to quasi-fulfilment centres. Online retailers and other businesses sought local solutions to ship more faster. In densely populated London, UK alone, Accenture found that delivery van emissions dropped by 17%, while Chicago, USA and Sydney, Australia saw similar emissions savings.