Mastering Freight for IBM i Shippers: Changing the Game in Pre-Shipment Load Optimization

Learn about advanced shipping software and how it works to automate your pre-shipment load planning process

It’s a massive industry where every minute and every mile count, and the difference between success and stagnation often lies in the efficiency of operations. What are we talking about, you ask? Freight shipping.

Picture this: A bustling warehouse swarmed with activity and trucks lined up as far as the human eye can see. It’s a scene where time is money, and the pressure for fast deliveries is through the roof. However, in an industry where efficiency reigns supreme, manual processes just don’t cut it anymore, especially for IBM i (AS/400) Power systems users. Automation is the name of the game, reshaping the freight shipping industry in real-time.

With automation leading the charge, shippers can navigate logistics complexities with unparalleled ease and accuracy. Load planning has become a seamless process and route optimization is as easy as a few clicks of a button. Cutting costs and saving time are important goals to help maintain a competitive edge in a rapidly evolving landscape. Outside of these more concrete goals, meeting shifting customer demands is paramount.

Let’s dive into the intersection of technology and modern freight shipping, exploring how it’s revolutionizing the competitive landscape and enabling new levels of efficiency, accuracy, and cost savings.

A crucial factor that decides a business’s success is its operational efficiency. Therefore, reliance on manual processes in freight operations, especially load and route planning, can be a significant obstacle. Without utilizing automated solutions, freight shippers face several pain points that can negatively impact their efficiency, productivity, and bottom line, including:

  • Inefficient Load Building: Manual load building is a time-consuming and tedious process that often relies on outdated software and spreadsheets. When shippers lack the ability to consolidate separate shipments, it can result in underutilized capacity and increased transportation costs.
  • Suboptimal Route Planning: Selecting the optimal route for each shipment requires close attention to several considerations including delivery deadlines, distance, and carrier preferences. Manual route planning takes an extensive amount of time, falling short of the precision and efficiency offered by automated processes. This can lead to missed opportunities for cost reduction, decreasing carbon emissions, and inefficiencies in delivery schedules.
  • Failure to Meet Customer Demands: Automated technology ensures customer’s delivery requirements and routing guide compliance rules are met for each shipment. Without it, shippers risk failing to meet customer expectations. Relying on manual processes can result in human error, leading to incorrect carrier selection, missed delivery deadlines, and unsatisfied customers.

The reliance on manual processes in freight operations threatens companies with significant complexities, holding them back from thriving in the ever-evolving modern industry of logistics. Without leveraging the benefits of automated technology, shippers will continue to incur unnecessary costs and fall short of meeting customer expectations.

Fortunately, there are automated solutions available to help forward-thinking businesses avoid pitfalls like these and stay competitive. Solutions like multi-carrier shipping software (MCSS) offer invaluable benefits such as reduced costs, streamlined operations, improved productivity, and enhanced customer satisfaction. By leveraging the power of automated shipping software, IBM i (AS/400) Power shippers can overcome the pain points of outdated and manual processes, enabling them to master freight shipping in the modern world.

Freight shippers are always seeking ways to optimize their operations and future-proof their strategy. This is where multi-carrier shipping software comes into play as an indispensable tool. By utilizing the capabilities of top-tier MCSS solutions, freight shippers can streamline their shipping processes, access multiple carriers and service levels, and make informed decisions to drive efficiency and profitability.

Varsity Logistics offers an industry leading suite of IBM i-native multi-carrier shipping software solutions and modules tailored to meet the unique needs of freight shippers. This provides businesses access to advanced features and functionalities designed to optimize their shipping operations. Additionally, Varsity’s advanced software integrates seamlessly with all major existing IBM i Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), as well as in-house and home-grown systems, enabling a simple plug-and-play experience for shippers.

Part of Varsity Logistics’ top-tier software, the FreightPlan module is a cutting-edge solution revolutionizing the way businesses across the country ship freight, providing the key to streamlining pre-shipment load planning for both inbound and outbound freight.

As a pivotal component within Varsity’s comprehensive suite of supply chain execution modules for IBM i (AS/400) Power shippers, FreightPlan is designed to seamlessly pair with Varsity’s ShipSoft-Freight solution. FreightPlan offers various invaluable functions to streamline freight operations at every step.

By automating recommended shipping plans and optimal routes, dynamic load building and order consolidation, and online review and acceptance of load plans, it empowers users to achieve greater operational efficiency, reduce costs, and deliver exceptional service to their customers. Additionally, FreightPlan considers customer delivery requirements, reducing transportation costs and meeting customer expectations.

Logistics is an industry where every minute counts and every decision is imperative. That is why FreightPlan is far more than just a tool – it’s a strategic asset for freight shippers striving to maintain their competitive edge in today’s market. There are many important benefits businesses can leverage from utilizing FreightPlan, including:

Key Benefits of FreightPlan

  • Dynamic Load Building and Consolidation: FreightPlan offers advanced capabilities for dynamic load building and order consolidation, often into larger multi-stop loads. By intelligently aggregating orders traveling to the same destination and optimizing the allocation of shipments, FreightPlan maximizes transportation capacity and minimizes empty space, resulting in cost savings and increased efficiency. FreightPlan’s load planning is available for truckload (TL) and less-than-truckload (LTL) moves, ensuring the most efficient geographic route is taken.
  • Recommended Shipping Plans: With FreightPlan, users can generate recommended shipping plans tailored to their specific needs. Leveraging sophisticated algorithms and user-defined parameters, FreightPlan analyzes critical factors such as delivery deadlines, transportation costs, and service standards to produce optimal shipping plans that meet both business and customer requirements.
  • Incorporation of Customer Delivery Requirements: One of FreightPlan’s standout features is its ability to incorporate customer delivery requirements into the planning process. By working with user-defined parameters and customer-specific criteria, FreightPlan ensures that each shipment is customized to meet the unique needs of the recipient, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Online Review and Approval of Load Plans: FreightPlan facilitates seamless collaboration and decision-making through its online review and acceptance feature. Users can review the results of each analysis, compare alternative options, and select the optimal shipping plan with confidence. This transparent and user-friendly feature streamlines the decision-making process and enables shippers to make informed choices.

Varsity Logistics stands as a significantly unique provider of top-tier multi-carrier shipping software for both parcel and freight shipping execution, as it is the only holistic solution built exclusively for IBM i (AS/400) Power systems users. Varsity offers a comprehensive suite of advanced supply chain execution modules, addressing a variety of challenges in the freight shipping environment, including:

An industry that lives in such a competitive and evolving space demands advanced technology and innovative strategies to survive. That is why the automated capabilities of Varsity’s FreightPlan are not only designed to alleviate the complexities of freight shipping, but also to revolutionize the way we ship while empowering businesses for success in the long-term.

With a solution like FreightPlan, you have the leverage to power up your freight operations, reduce transportation costs, and deliver exceptional customer experiences. So why wait? Take the first step towards success and contact our team of shipping experts or schedule a pressure-free demo to learn more about how Varsity’s multi-carrier shipping software can propel your organization ahead in this competitive industry.

Optimizing in the Off-Season: Dos and Don’ts for Parcel Shippers on IBM i (AS/400) Power Systems

Learn how to take advantage of the off-season to future-proof your supply chain strategy

The shipping industry is not one that remains consistent year-round. In fact, the only consistency we can expect from the supply chain world is the various peaks and valleys that take place throughout the course of each year. Whether it’s the holiday rush, back to school, or the summer season, peak seasons will always occur. After the whirlwind of peak shipping season winds down, many shippers look forward to the off-season – a time often viewed as a period of respite.

However, this lull in activity should not be mistaken for time to rest. The off-season presents the ideal opportunity for shippers to strategically maximize their supply chain operations for the coming year. Especially for shippers utilizing IBM i (AS/400) Power systems, optimization is not just beneficial but a necessity for staying competitive and meeting customer demands.

In this blog, we’ll dive into the dos and don’ts of maximizing your supply chain during the off-season. From analyzing your past performance to investing in technology upgrades, we’ll explore actionable strategies to ensure that your valuable off-season time isn’t wasted, but utilized for planning, improvement, and setting the tone for success in the next peak-season.

With the peak season rush over and done with, it’s time to sharpen up your shipping strategy. These off-season dos and don’ts will guide you in avoiding common pitfalls and empower you to seize opportunities to enhance efficiency in your shipping strategy.

Don’t: Remain Complacent with Last Year’s Strategy

Perhaps your business just had its most successful peak season yet, surpassing numbers you never could have imagined. While the supply chain strategy you used last year led your business to great success, the reality is that the shipping landscape is always changing. This means there’s a good chance that whatever worked last year won’t produce the same outcome. Not only that but clinging to a static strategy can lead to a lack of competitiveness and missed opportunities. And let’s face it, there is always room for improvement.

Going into the upcoming peak season without considering the evolving market trends and changing customer expectations can leave your supply chain vulnerable to inefficiencies and major setbacks. Especially in today’s environment, flexibility and adaptability are crucial if you want to avoid the risk of falling behind the competition. That’s why it’s essential to break free from familiarity and adopt a mindset of innovation and adaptability in the competitive marketplace.

Do: Analyze Past Performance

One of the most beneficial things businesses can do post-peak to maximize their supply chain strategy is to look back into past performance data. IBM i (AS/400) Power systems users can uncover valuable insights to make informed decisions when reevaluating their supply chain strategy. Analyzing factors such as delivery times, order accuracy, and error rates can highlight bottlenecks, recurring issues, or specific areas that need improvement. Being aware of these key insights enables shippers to implement the necessary adjustments to their strategy to enhance efficiency and service quality for the next peak season.

However, oftentimes, historical data is not stored consistently or stored at all, and the time and costs associated with pulling together misplaced data can be extremely high. This is where leveraging a shipping and transportation database can be a game-changer. Having a centralized, organized, and easy to access place for your historical shipping data streamlines the post-peak analysis process. These efficient tools enable businesses to access valuable insights, ultimately driving informed decision-making and strategic planning in the off-season. [Learn more about transportation datamarts.]

Don’t: Put Technology on Hold

During the off-season, it might seem tempting to hit the pause button on technology upgrades. And with lower shipping volumes after peak, it might appear that your current shipping technology is performing adequately. But here’s the catch: technology is always advancing, so what may be working for you currently might be the reason you crash and burn when holiday shipping season rolls around. This is because outdated technology often lacks the speed and capabilities needed to streamline operations, leading to inefficiencies, errors, and falling short of your competitors. In other words, putting technology on hold is self-sabotage! Failure to remain agile in the supply chain landscape is guaranteed to impede your supply chain performance.

Another important point to mention is the process of implementing new technology is not a quick one. It takes time (several months or longer) to identify your needs, do research on what’s out there, narrow down your options, and set up demos. And, once you decide what solution best fits your needs, it takes even more time for it to be implemented. All of this to say, if you put technology on hold, chances are you won’t have it up and ready to go (and adequately tested) for your next peak season.

Do: Invest in Native Technology Solutions

It is no surprise that in today’s time, technology runs the world. From the way we communicate with others to how we buy everyday necessities; everything is driven by technology. That is why shippers on IBM i (AS/400) Power systems can unlock a world of opportunities by investing in robust, IBM i-native technological solutions designed to automate and optimize their operations, and the off-season is the perfect time to do it. The lull of the off-season provides ample time to evaluate your current technology and consider upgrading or investing in something new.

By investing in advanced shipping software solutions, such as multi-carrier shipping software, shippers can automate several tasks throughout the shipping process such as order processing, shipment tracking, and inventory management. This not only eliminates the risk for costly human errors, but reducing the time spent on manual tasks frees up valuable resources that can be dedicated to perfecting your strategy for the next peak season.

Furthermore, industry-leading shipping solutions enable shippers to optimize their supply chain by providing real-time visibility into shipments, inventory levels, and delivery routes across various carriers. Providing access to these valuable insights helps businesses make informed decisions, anticipate industry volatility, and proactively address it before things escalate. Additionally, top-tier multi-carrier shipping software solutions can seamlessly integrate with your existing IBM i system, fostering collaboration across the supply chain ecosystem. This way shippers can seamlessly stay connected with carriers, suppliers, and customers, ensuring smooth communication and collaboration to drive operational efficiency and outstanding customer service. That is why investing in the right shipping software in the off-season is not just a recommendation but a crucial step for shippers. [Discover 5 ways to master market volatility with shipping software.]

Don’t: Run on Autopilot

Getting through the hectic peak shipping season is no easy feat. Shippers put in a lot of hard work to keep orders flowing smoothly and customers satisfied. When the off-season officially begins, it’s a natural tendency to feel like you’re running on autopilot; Afterall, it’s the mind’s way of adjusting back to normal levels after the bustling holiday season. However, treating the off-season as a time to simply coast can be a costly mistake.

Think of it like this: when the Green Bay Packers are in their off-season, they aren’t just resting at home or treating it like a vacation. They are finding time to practice, analyze game film, identify their opponents’ weaknesses, and train on new plays and skills. This effort and hard work in the off-season is what makes them a strong competitor when the regular season arrives. The same goes for shippers.

By running on autopilot and neglecting strategic planning during the off-season, you put your business at risk of several pitfalls, including:

  • Inefficiencies: Unnoticed or unaddressed inefficiencies can lead to wasted resources, increased costs, and decreased productivity.
  • Lack of preparedness: Failure to plan ahead leaves shippers unprepared for potential challenges like fluctuations in demand, changes in regulations, or supply chain disruptions. This can result in delays, shortages, and unsatisfied customers.
  • Inability to anticipate customer needs: Without proactive planning, shippers may fail to adapt to shifting customer preferences and demands, leading to dissatisfaction and loss of business.
  • Difficulty implementing changes: Making significant changes to your operations without planning accordingly can be complex and disruptive. Shippers may encounter resistance from employees, unforeseen obstacles, and undesired outcomes.

Do: Take Proactive Measures

Now is the perfect time to future-proof your supply chain for the upcoming peak season by taking proactive measures. Supply chain uncertainty is a constant companion so taking proactive measures isn’t just about optimizing your current operations – it’s about preparing for unforeseen challenges as well. Instead of waiting for industry challenges to arise, shippers on IBM i (AS/400) Power systems should take advantage of the off-season to anticipate and address potential issues before they escalate.

Developing contingency plans for potential scenarios such as severe weather events, carrier service outages, or sudden fluctuations in demand can provide your operations with a safety net. By identifying possible vulnerabilities and conducting risk assessments, shippers can gain insight into potential threats and their impact on operations.

Once these risks are identified, shippers can develop contingency plans to help mitigate possible negative impacts and maintain business continuity. These plans may include alternative resource allocation, backup carrier services, or inventory management protocols. Leveraging multi-carrier shipping software can further enhance efforts to mitigate supply chain disruptions. This software provides shippers with access to a network of global, regional, and final mile carriers, allowing adaptability and flexibility in the face of unforeseen circumstances.

With fluctuating market demands and shifting customer expectations, shippers need a strategic partner to help them through peak season successfully. For shippers on IBM i (AS/400) Power systems, leveraging a comprehensive solution offers a strategic advantage, enabling them to seamlessly implement the “dos” during off season and stay away from the “don’ts”. From analyzing past performance to taking proactive measures, the right multi-carrier shipping software can empower shippers to optimize their operations with efficiency and flexibility.

Enter Varsity Logistics, a trusted partner for IBM i shippers navigating complexities. Understanding the unique demands and challenges faced during peak seasons, Varsity offers a multi-carrier shipping software solution designed to meet parcel and LTL challenges head-on. Varsity empowers shippers to surpass the basic shipping functionalities and embrace a robust solution that revolutionizes the way they handle peak season hurdles.

Success with Varsity Logistics

Varsity Logistics, the only holistic shipping solution built for the IBM i, is an industry-leading multi-carrier shipping software provider. Integrating seamlessly with all custom and major IBM i Enterprise Resource Planning systems (ERPs) and Warehouse Management Systems (WMSs), Varsity’s solution offers shippers several key functionalities, including:

  • Optimal Carrier Selection: Varsity’s shipping software considers essential factors such as transit time, cost, and service types to select the best carrier for each shipment. This ensures cost-effective choices without sacrificing service quality and enables shippers to adapt quickly to unforeseen circumstances, minimizing disruptions and enhancing customer satisfaction. [Learn more about the key benefits of automated carrier selection.]
  • Workflow Automation: Varsity’s solution automates the shipping process, reducing manual tasks and minimizing the risk of human error. From order processing to label generation and shipment tracking, it enhances efficiency, reduces labor costs, and improves order accuracy, ultimately enhancing the customer experience.
  • Data and Analytics: Varsity Logistics offers easy access to comprehensive historical data, empowering shippers to make informed decisions, negotiate with carriers, and identify areas for improvement. This eliminates barriers associated with accessing poorly maintained data, enhancing decision-making processes. [Learn more about Varsity’s analytics for transportation management.]

Don’t fall into the habit of letting your guard down during off-season; use this period to your advantage. As the shipping landscape continues to evolve, so should your shipping strategy. It is essential to use this time to reflect and analyze the past, leverage next technology solutions, and maximize efficiency to prepare your operations for not only the next peak season, but to achieve sustained success in an ever-changing industry.

Ready to maximize your supply chain operations? Contact Varsity’s team of shipping experts or schedule a pressure-free demo to learn how Varsity’s parcel and LTL multi-carrier shipping solutions can ease your logistics pain points and meet your unique needs.

Varsity Logistics at POWERUp 2024: Driving the Future of IBM i Shipping

Don’t miss Varsity Logistics at COMMON POWERUp 2024, May 20-23

In a world consumed with ever-evolving technology, it can be overwhelming to try and keep up with the latest and greatest advancements. However, valuable opportunities for companies to sharpen up their knowledge and skill sets on the systems they use daily do exist. For businesses utilizing IBM i (AS/400) Power Systems, the COMMON POWERUp trade show is the ideal event to learn, network, and explore all things IBM i.

Varsity Logistics is thrilled to exhibit at this one-of-a-kind event, focused on high-quality, IBM i (AS/400) Power Systems education. The show will take place in Fort Worth, Texas, from May 20th-23rd at the Fort Worth Convention Center. POWERUp 2024 will offer an agenda packed with over 300 sessions, 100+ speakers, and unlimited opportunities to network with IBM professionals, industry peers, and the experts behind the integrated solutions empowering the industry. Educational sessions will cover a diverse range of topics including IT, security, system management, client connectivity, and AI. [See full agenda]

As your trusted partner for parcel and LTL multi-carrier shipping software (MCSS) built exclusively for IBM i (AS/400) Power users, Varsity Logistics will be showcasing our comprehensive shipping solution at the event. The exhibition hall at POWERUp 2024 will be the largest IBM i-related expo of its kind, empowering attendees to experience the latest technology solutions driving the future for their organizations. Attendees can stop by booth #314 for the opportunity to discover what makes Varsity the only holistic shipping solution built for the IBM i, including:

  • Customization and Flexibility: Varsity understands each business has unique shipping needs. That’s why our shipping software offers customization options and flexible modules to adapt to specific workflows, business rules, and industry requirements, guaranteeing an optimized shipping solution that’s tailored to each customer’s needs.
  • Reporting and Analytics: Varsity’s software provides comprehensive insights into shipping performance, carrier utilization, cost analysis, and other key metrics. This capability empowers businesses to make informed decisions, optimize shipping strategies, and identify areas that need improvement for enhancing the shipping process or reducing costs.
  • ERP and WMS Integrations: Our software is the only holistic plug-and-play MCSS built natively for IBM i systems that offers seamless integration with all major and custom ERP and WMS systems, making implementation and data exchange completely uniform.

Make sure you also stop by this valued Varsity partner:

Friedman CorporationBooth #316

  • Friedman Frontier is the #1 ERP software for the complex, high-volume, make-to-order manufacturer, specifically for the window, door, cabinet, and furniture industries and other industries that engineer, build, or assemble to order. Frontier helps manufacturers reduce employee costs, reduce lead-times, increase customer service levels, and provide growth in revenues without adding significant costs.

Is your organization in need of a comprehensive shipping solution tailored to IBM i users? Varsity’s multi-carrier shipping solution is designed to automate operations, streamline shipping workflows, and optimize your shipping strategy. Discover the ways you can connect with our team of shipping experts at POWERUp 2024, or swing by our booth #314!

Can’t make the show? Explore Varsity’s suite of robust shipping solutions for IBM i (AS/400) Power Systems users or contact our team to begin your journey towards efficient and cost-effective parcel and LTL shipping.

Varsity Logistics: Multi-Carrier Shipping Software for IBM i Power Users

Discover Varsity Logistics – the only multi-carrier shipping software built exclusively for IBM i

Is your IBM i (AS/400) system causing shipping headaches? Juggling multiple carriers, manual processes, and outdated software can be a nightmare. Varsity Logistics is here to help. As the only native IBM i multi-carrier shipping software, Varsity streamlines your entire shipping operation. Reduce shipping costs by leveraging multi-carrier rate shopping for parcel and LTL freight and boost efficiency with automated order fulfillment, tracking, and containerization tools. Shippers gain greater control with advanced analytics and auditing capabilities. Plus, Varsity integrates seamlessly with your existing IBM i system and ERP/WMS software. Stop wasting time and money! With proven reliability and experience, Varsity is the only holistic shipping solution built for the IBM i.

What to Know Before You Invest: 7 Key Questions About Shipping Software

Shipping software is an important supply chain investment – do you have all the answers?

Rising transportation costs, labor concerns, and ever-changing customer demands for faster and free deliveries make shipping one of the most critical and costly areas of the supply chain. Because of this, the role of shipping software to gain efficiency and stay competitive has become increasingly pivotal. From optimizing resource allocation to ensuring consistent customer satisfaction, the right shipping software can make a significant impact on the cost savings you find as well as the overall success of your business. 

This leads us to the question: How do you ensure that your shipping software is a good fit? Before embarking on the journey of selecting the perfect shipping software solution, it is important to take a step back and consider your answers to a series of valuable questions. We’re sharing seven questions you should ask before deciding if a multi-carrier shipping software (MCSS) solution makes sense for your IBM i/AS400 system.

7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying Shipping Software

Shipping software is an important supply chain investment. Here are the top things to consider before choosing a multi-carrier shipping software solution for your business.

1. Are we doing too many things manually?

If your business is using separate, carrier-supplied systems and website searches to find the best shipping rates, you can likely add automations to your process with a new shipping solution. By fully assessing the manual effort required, you can determine the potential cost savings a MCSS solution could provide. Shipping software improves accuracy and reduces errors, avoiding costly consequences that can arise from manual tasks.

2. Are our shipping costs accurate?

It is important to audit your shipping invoices to ensure they match your contract rates, so you avoid overpaying. Cost auditing can also reveal inefficiencies and bottlenecks in your current shipping operations, allowing you to pinpoint areas where redundant tasks may be causing unnecessary costs. When you identify the areas of cost savings, you can better allocate your budget for a more efficient operation.

3. Do we have good visibility of shipments once they leave our facility?

Now more than ever, customers have high expectations for shippers to meet estimated delivery dates and provide updates throughout the shipping process. Top-tier MCSS solutions integrate seamlessly with your carriers and have options to allow real-time tracking and status updates for your customers. MCSS visibility also helps reduce risks, like supply chain delays or disruptions, which can prevent substantial financial losses for your company.

4. Do we have an efficient number of shipping staff?

Evaluating your labor force can help you allocate your resources effectively, especially in today’s labor-constrained warehouses. Industry-leading MCSS are single, fully integrated systems that seamlessly connect with your existing carriers and ERP or WMS systems, replacing inefficient carrier-provided systems. Using advanced shipping solutions can save your team time and effort, allowing them to dedicate it elsewhere. This results in improved productivity and a competitive advantage.

5. Can we scale up as needed?

Scalable shipping software integrates seamlessly with your existing software systems, ensuring that as your business scales, everything scales together cohesively. MCSS gives you the ability to automate carrier selection to find the best rates for your customer’s needs from the start, and as your business grows, you can add modules or features such as auditing, pick/pack integration, and custom filings. Investing in scalable shipping software is also a way of future-proofing your business operations, avoiding costly frequent software upgrades and keeping up with shifts in customer expectations.

6. How accessible is our shipping data?

The ability to analyze and evaluate transactional and historical data is essential for operational success. Choosing shipping software that allows you to easily view and/or export your data is the key to monitoring day-to-day shipping operations, ensuring accurate order processing and optimal resource allocation. Historical data gives great insight to performance evaluation and customer behavior, leading to data-driven strategies for future success and effective cost management.

7. How quickly will our investment pay off?

Estimating the time to achieve ROI helps align your investment with your financial goals and business strategy. This allows your company to effectively plan and allocate resources. Leading shipping software solutions, like Varsity Logistics, see their customers recoup 5-15% in overcharges and realize an ROI in just a few months. The combination of benefits that MCSS provides, like streamlined processes, automated rate shopping, batch processing, and reduced shipping errors, lead to immediate bottom line cost savings for your business.

Learn more about Varsity Logistics multi-carrier shipping software for IBM i/AS400 systems

Interested in learning more about the long term cost savings and increased operational efficiency with multi-carrier shipping software? Varsity Logistics offers a robust, industry-leading freight and parcel shipping solution for IBM i/AS400 systems that integrate seamlessly into your existing business infrastructure.

Contact our team of shipping professionals to discover how Varsity Logistics can step-up your shipping operations and revolutionize your supply chain game.

Why the IBMi Shipping Platform is Growing

IBMi’s robust AS400 operating system is powerful, stable and secure, which is why it continues to be a world-class solution.

Shipping and fulfillment is a major cog in many industries. Warehouses, supply chains and logistics all run on powerful shipping software. In this space, there are many competitors, and people often expect that the best software is going to be something new. But this is one industry where that isn’t necessarily the case. IBM shipping software, known as IBMi, has been around for decades.

Despite that, it’s still in use in countless operations around the world, and many still consider it to be the best of the best. Here’s why.

IBMi’s Simplified Concept Empowers This Shipping Software

IBM i runs IBM Power (AS400) operating system software. Anyone who’s used AS400 understands that it heralds from a time before all the current software bells and whistles existed. It’s simplified to a degree that’s hard to find in modern programming.

This simplicity – which should not be mistaken for simplistic software – leads to a robust system that struggles to fail, even when faced with monumental challenges. IBMi is reliable for the simple fact that it has fewer ways it can falter.

Advantages of IBMi

There are 3 main advantages of IBMi.

IBMi is one central system

IBMi runs like converged software. It functions like a packaged whole, allowing a central system to manage many nodes. You can run it on-premise or through the cloud, and you get the same experience regardless.

IBMi offers powerful security

Another advantage of IBMi’s simplified concept is that it adds power to security. Many of today’s modern vulnerabilities don’t exist within IBMi and AS400. It’s important to note that this power doesn’t preclude the need for security altogether, but using IBMi significantly lowers the risk of both internal and external attacks.

IBMi is a scalable solution

IBMi shipping software favors scalability. Because there are fewer cogs in the machine – so to speak – it’s easy for an IBMi system to start with a small business and handle growth all the way to the enterprise level. For example, IBMi is the system of choice for many Las Vegas casinos. It can handle large-scale work, yet it is still sensible for businesses that are nowhere the level of operations a large-scale casino would require.

4 Benefits to a Strong Shipping Software that Builds on Your Resources

Any significant investment into software has to address ROI. If it doesn’t improve your bottom line in some measurable way, it’s difficult to justify the cost of transitioning. IBMi provides several ROI opportunities, and all of them are viable for virtually any business.

Benefit #1 – Security

The first ROI potential can be found in security. Hacks and breaches are extremely expensive. As noted, IBMi, as a function of its nature, removes many security threats. Again, it’s not a foolproof system on its own, but cybersecurity teams have a much easier job ahead of them when this software is running the show.

This translates to huge savings in potential losses that can likely be averted by using this robust system.

Benefit #2 – Labor

Your second return is tied to labor. Parcel shipping on IBMi provides a multi-carrier software solution. It can offer automation in many facets of order and fulfillment, and each point helps reduce human error. 

It also improves workflow and overall fulfillment efficiency by keeping information organized and streamlined.

Benefit #3 – Customer Experience

The third return stems from improving the customer experience. When shipping and fulfillment are more reliable, customers get what they want when they want it. 

This leads to a better experience, which ultimately can translate into greater overall sales and boosted revenue.

Benefit #4 – Carrier Costs

A final return comes from saving money on carrier costs. ShipAudit is an example of an IBMi module that helps companies lower their overall shipping costs. Varsity customers estimate that they’re able to lower carrier overcharges by an average of 8 to 10 percent when they use the module. 

You can realize direct cost savings when you implement and use good software.

Varsity Logistics and IBMi

Why is IBMi still alive and well? Simply put, it performs. It is powerful, stable and secure. Those three words are more important than any other when it comes to enterprise software, and for shipping and fulfillment, IBMi is still a world-class competitor. Until something can outshine it on these vital fronts, it will continue to live a long life. Schedule a demo with a Varsity Shipping Specialist to see how our shipping software integrates with IBMi to optimize your parcel processes.

Shipping in a Post-Covid World: What You Need to Know

When it comes to shipping, the pandemic changed everything. Here is how to remain successful in a post-pandemic world.

COVID-19 caused an incredible shift in consumer and business purchasing that nobody could have foreseen coming. From traditional in-store buying behavior, to on-line purchasing, nothing will ever be the same.

This includes the world of shipping, and thus, the world of shipping software. What are the major issues the shipping industry in particular is facing moving forward? Let’s look at some of the highlights.

3 Major Shifts in the Shipping Industry

Although the pandemic impacted every aspect of shipping, we’ve identified 3 majors shifts in shipping.

Customer Expectations

Throughout the pandemic, both B2C and B2B customer expectations dramatically changed. Consumers not only prefer, they now demand:

  • Easy on-line ordering
  • Shorter order processing time
  • Up-to-date, accurate communication about order status
  • More (and cheaper or free!) shipping options – in fact, according to BigCommerce, 90 percent of consumers now say free freight is the #1 influencer to get them to buy*

The simple fact is, most consumers are becoming accustomed to an “Amazon style” experience.

Carrier Demand

Parcel carriers don’t have enough capacity to keep up during peak periods.

Shipping Costs

Across the board, shipping costs and carrier surcharges are at an all-time high, with no signs of slowing down.

E-Commerce Sales

In 2019, e-commerce sales made up about 11 percent of total retail sales. By Q2 2020, that number jumped to a record-breaking 16 percent.

Carrier Capacity

The pandemic brought on a demand not seen since the 1997 UPS strike. The 2020 holiday season saw a peak that, for the first time in decades, resulted in supply exceeding demand. Volume restrictions left many high-volume shippers scrambling to find reliable alternatives to their normal UPS or FedEx shipping carriers. The result of this fallout was widespread. Costs to ship went up exponentially, and some shippers began exploring regional parcel carriers to offset costs.

Major pain points related to carrier capacity:

  • Carriers added COVID-related surcharges and peak shipping fees
  • Shippers started seeking last-mile delivery alternatives (USPS, DHL, or courier services)
  • Guaranteed deliveries cancelled
  • Lengthier estimated delivery times

How to Manage Your Shipping Costs

Auditing carrier bills is now more important than ever. Two increasingly important components of estimating shipping costs include validating shipment addresses and managing oversized shipments. Other peak surcharges by major parcel carriers might include:

  • Jan 17, 2021 to July 3, 2021
    • $3.00 additional handling per package surcharges
    • $31.45 per item Large Package Surcharge
  • July 4, 2021 to October 2, 2021
    • $3.50 additional handling per package surcharges
    • $40.00 per item Large Package Surcharge
  • October 3, 2021 to January 15, 2022
    • $6.00 additional handling per package surcharges
    • $60.00 per item Large Package Surcharge
    • Over maximum limits will incur a $250.00 surcharge

How Consumer and Shipper Expectations Have Changed

The pandemic resulted in a dramatic shift in consumer behavior. They now have new expectations, such as wanting shipping rates and options that are clear, upfront and easy-to-find (both online and at point of order). They also expect as a standard:

  • Shipment confirmation emails
  • Detailed tracking info
  • Real-time tracking capabilities
  • Short delivery times
  • Free or discounted shipping 

How Varsity Modules Can Help Your Shipping Costs

Varsity’s modular system can optimize your entire package logistics process, including address standardization, rate shopping, shipping and tracking.

Varsity sets you up for success in this new shipping landscape. We can help you:

Calculate or shop freight charges at order entry or on your website
IMPACT: Reduce freight costs; increase eCommerce sale opportunities

Compare or shop various LTL and Parcel carrier rates/services from within your ERP
IMPACT: Reduce freight costs

Unlimited number of parcel & LTL carriers can be added
IMPACT: Reduce risk of carrier capacity issues risk

Audit parcel bills in house to check for a multitude of carrier add-on surcharges
IMPACT: Reduce freight costs

Increase packing/shipping throughput with optional advanced work-flows like printing shipping labels at the point of packing or picking
IMPACT: Reduce labor costs by increasing efficiency

Automatically send shipping confirmation emails with tracking numbers
IMPACT: Help meet customer expectations; reduce customer service calls

Optimize shipments (containerization) – Let Varsity calculate the best way to pack the order based on minimizing oversize charges and overall freight cost
IMPACT: Reduce freight costs

Take advantage of deep integration within your ERP/WMS – Varsity runs inside of your present system
IMPACT: Increase efficiency

Allow for reporting against shipping data company wide
IMPACT: Make informed decisions on freight policies

Visibility to shipping information to anyone in the organization that has an iSeries/AS400 sign-on
IMPACT: Reduce customer issue resolution time

Shipping Software ROI

The power of Varsity speaks for itself. The benefits Varsity customers see in terms of a return on their investment are clear:

  • Increase shipping through-put
  • Audit parcel and freight bills in-house
  • Allocate accurate freight cost by order, customer, freight program, etc
  • Automate international paperwork
  • Rate shop & rate quote from within your ERP/WMS
  • Optimize shipments
  • Enable e-commerce

Ready to realize your shipping software ROI with Varsity?  Request a demo with a Varsity Shipping Specialist to learn how our software can optimize your shipping program today.