Which factors are most important in determining how to ship a package? Is it cost? How about transit time? Does the size of the package matter? Destination? Weight? Carrier? How does customer preference factor into the decision?
Utilizing a single-carrier model along with the appropriate platform to produce shipping labels for that particular carrier, which many shops employ, makes these questions unnecessary. However, it’s highly likely that this scenario is only effective and efficient in the case of a single item business where one product is being shipped, at the same weight, in the same quantity, over and over again. Of course, outside of this scenario, many other questions arise.
For example, in the case of multiple units per order, where the weight and package dimensions necessarily change, does the selected carrier still offer the optimal combination of cost and transit time?
The truth is all carriers have strengths and weaknesses. The trick is to implement those carriers within the shipping matrix to maximize strengths and minimize weaknesses based on the business rules of the shipping department. By the way, those rules can change on the fly. The company rule may be to ship at the lowest cost available but the client requests overnight. Sure, the customer will be charged for a one-day shipment but the company still wants to ship at the lowest cost overnight service and, based on the destination, there will be at least three options from which to choose.
Cost savings aside, with all of these factors in play, does it really improve efficiency to implement a multiple-carrier shipping model?
The resounding answer is Yes!
For shippers today, affordable and robust shipping platforms exist that eliminate the decision-making responsibilities and produce the right label every time, based on the available mix of carriers and business rules. In fact, in some of the systems, there is nearly limitless opportunity to utilize carriers where they fit. (Of course, carriers also have rules and minimums which creates limitations, but that’s another story).
By the way, these platforms are not just for the Amazons of the world. The market is flush with systems built for even the lowest volume shippers.