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  • Inefficient Load Building: Manual load building is a time-consuming and tedious process that often relies on outdated software and spreadsheets.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.

Discover Cutting-Edge IBM i Shipping Solutions: Varsity Logistics at Manhattan Momentum 2024

Save the date to experience Varsity’s cutting-edge shipping software, May 14th – 17th

As the world of modern supply chain continues to evolve and grow, businesses are constantly seeking opportunities to connect, inspire, and recharge, especially those running on IBM i (AS/400) Power systems. Manhattan Momentum 2024 provides a unique opportunity for supply chain professionals to connect with like-minded individuals, provide and receive inspiration, and find time to recharge their motivation towards long-term logistics success.

Varsity Logistics is excited to join Manhattan Associates for their annual user event, Momentum 2024, the premier event for supply chain commerce professionals. This year, the event will take place in San Antonio, Texas, from May 14th – 17th at the JW Marriott San Antionio Hill Country Resort.

Throughout the four days of the show, there will be a full agenda packed with over 70 educational sessions, covering a variety of industry topics including supply chain execution, sustainability, omnichannel commerce, and AI. With over 1,200 industry professionals in attendance, there will be ample opportunity to network with supply chain experts and leaders. Additionally, the discovery center will feature more than 60 trade show exhibitors, showcasing the newest innovations driving the future of supply chain commerce.

Make sure to check out this session with Varsity partner, IBM:

Maximizing MAWM Extensibility – Building a ProActive CoE Organization with Bryanna LaMour, Supply Chain Delivery Executive at IBM | Wednesday, May 16th at 10:30am

  • Gain valuable insights from Cencora and IBM Consulting as they share their journey building an MAWM ProActive COE! Discover how to maximize ROI, implement best practices, and learn from their experiences to drive successful extensibility within your MAWM ecosystem.

Varsity Logistics will be exhibiting our parcel and LTL multi-carrier shipping solution designed uniquely for IBM i (AS/400) Power systems users, alongside showcasing our integration with Manhattan PKMS (Manhattan WMi). Our team is looking forward to connecting with fellow supply chain professionals, discovering new supply chain innovations, and showcasing our top-tier shipping software. You can stop by the booth or schedule a private meeting with Varsity’s IBM i shipping experts to further explore how Varsity can revolutionize your supply chain and streamline your IBM i shipping operations.

Can’t attend the show? Learn more about Varsity Logistics, the only holistic shipping solution built for the IBM i, in our resource center or contact our shipping experts to discover how we can meet your business’s unique supply chain needs.

[Shipping Automation] How IBM i (AS/400) Users Avoid Manual Carrier Selection

Discover how Varsity ShipSelect eases pain points associated with the carrier selection process

Two things are certain when it comes to the logistics landscape today: the major growth of e-commerce over the past several years and the ever-dynamic conditions of up-and-coming and traditional shipping carriers. Therefore, the efficiency of logistics operations plays a crucial role for businesses striving to meet customer demands and maintain a competitive edge. And, with the exponential growth of e-commerce in recent years, the importance of fast and reliable parcel shipping has never been such a necessity.

However, with what seems like an unlimited variety of carriers to choose from, and several variables involved in the shipping process, selecting the optimal carrier for each parcel can be a logistical challenge.

E-commerce businesses thrive on efficiency and speed. Every step of the fulfillment process needs to be optimized to meet customer expectations and stay ahead of the competition. However, carrier selection in a traditional, manual setting can become a significant bottleneck. Businesses must juggle a complex web of factors for each shipment, including:

  • Carrier Availability: With a vast number of carriers offering services, finding the right fit for every package size, weight, and destination requires extensive research.
  • Cost Comparison: Different carriers offer varying rates based on factors like distance, weight, delivery destination, and service level. Manually sifting through quotes to find the most cost-effective option is a time-consuming task.
  • Delivery Speed: Balancing cost with desired transit times is crucial. To determine which carrier offers the best combination for each shipment, many businesses must resort to manual comparisons between separate carrier systems, potentially leading to delays if the optimal option is missed.
  • Compliance Considerations: Shipping regulations and compliance requirements can be intricate and are ever-changing. Manual compliance verification of each label for each shipment adds another layer of complexity and risk of errors.

This tangled web of considerations makes manual carrier selection a slow, error-prone process that can negatively impact shipping costs, delivery times, and overall customer satisfaction. Manual processes only complicate these issues, slowing down operations with inefficiencies, human error, and delays in finding the most cost-effective carrier and service level for each parcel or LTL shipment. Even more, fluctuating transportation costs further exacerbate the complexities faced by businesses. As margins grow thinner, every dollar spent on shipping directly impacts businesses’ bottom lines.

Fortunately, innovative solutions like automated carrier selection tools can help businesses navigate these complexities. These tools factor in variables like transit times, costs, and compliance to ensure the perfect fit for each shipment, while eliminating time-consuming tasks and potential errors associated with manual selection. Varsity Logistics’ ShipSelect module is a powerful example of such a tool, optimizing carrier selection for businesses in today’s dynamic e-commerce landscape.

When used with Varsity’s ShipSoft-Parcel or ShipSoft-Freight solutions, ShipSelect offers a comprehensive tool, designed to alleviate the pain points associated with carrier selection during the shipping process. For various modes of transportation including parcel, Less Than Truckload (LTL), Truckload (TL), and rail, ShipSelect automates the entire carrier selection process.

The module goes beyond the conventional approach of carrier selection solely based on cost. While cost is a crucial factor, ShipSelect accounts for the multifaceted nature of logistics decision-making, considering critical criteria such as:

  • Transit time
  • Carrier preference
  • Transportation cost
  • Transportation mode
  • Carrier performance
  • Carrier service types

By weighing these important factors, ShipSelect creates an output of the most optimal carriers based on user-defined preferences. This ensures each shipment is sent with the carrier best suited to meet the specific requirements of both the business and its customers, while also conforming to routing guide requirements and shipping compliance at the time of order placement.

ShipSelect empowers shippers to efficiently select optimal carriers for their shipments, driving efficiency and value across their logistics operations. By automating the carrier selection process, it soothes the many pain points associated with manually finding the carriers best suited for your business and customers. This invaluable solution not only provides overall logistical enhancement, but it also minimizes transportation costs, ensures your business remains compliant, and saves you time on managing inefficiencies and costly human errors due to manual processes. Not to mention, insights into carrier performance empowers shippers to make informed decisions and remain competitive in the dynamic supply chain landscape.

Key Benefits of ShipSelect

The ShipSelect module offers several key benefits that significantly improve logistics efficiency and reduce costs for shippers, including:

Reduction in Shipping Costs: ShipSelect analyzes various factors such as package destination, carrier rates, and package weight to optimize shipping costs. By applying weight breaks (the weight at which the shipping cost changes based on how much the package weighs), ShipSelect ensures businesses get the best carrier option for cost without compromising service quality.

Mitigation of Costly Violations: Ensuring your shipments are compliant with complex routing guides (documents dictating how and by whom shipments should be handled and transported) and shipping instructions is crucial, as penalties for misalignment can be costly. ShipSelect automatically verifies each shipment adheres to these requirements, helping businesses avoid the risk of violations and maintain streamlined shipping operations.

Significant Time Savings: The process of manual carrier selection is not only labor-intensive but also highly prone to human error, causing inefficiencies and operational delays. ShipSelect completely automates this process, keeping operations moving and enabling businesses to allocate their time and resources to other valuable areas.

Varsity Logistics is the only holistic multi-carrier shipping solution built for IBM i (AS/400) Power systems users who need parcel and LTL shipping capabilities. Varsity’s ShipSoft-Parcel and ShipSoft-Freight shipping platforms automate the parcel and LTL shipping processes at every step, serving as a centralized control center for each of Varsity’s supply chain execution modules, whether your supply chain includes parcel and/or freight:

Parcel-Specific Modules:

Freight-Specific Modules:

ShipSelect isn’t just a tool designed to alleviate the challenges of the carrier selection process, it’s a transformative solution that empowers businesses to enhance their shipping operations like never before and set themselves up for long-term success.

Ready to wave your shipping woes goodbye? Contact Varsity’s team of shipping experts or schedule a no-pressure demo to learn more about how ShipSelect and Varsity’s other parcel and LTL solutions can revolutionize your operations and meet your unique business needs.

Optimizing Parcel Packing: How ShipOptimizer Transforms Containerization

Unlock cost-efficient and streamlined warehouse operations with automated containerization software

Anyone in the e-commerce and logistics space is familiar with the vast array of, what seems like, never-ending challenges. Especially when it comes to packaging, where complexities are ever-present. As each order is unique with a different number of items, shapes, and sizes, finding a way to efficiently pack goods into shipping containers can quickly become a nightmare for businesses. The pressure to find cost-effective and space-efficient packing solutions is no easy feat.

Traditional packing and shipping procedures often fall short, leading to increased shipping costs, inefficient use of space, and even unsatisfied customers who may receive damaged goods or excessive packaging. What shippers need is an innovative solution to tackle the pain points of efficient packaging. What shippers need is containerization.

At its core, containerization is a process that optimizes the way goods are packaged, reducing any wasted or extra space in the container, or package. This eliminates the inefficiency of shipping empty space, often referred to as “paying for air.” In a world where every penny counts, utilizing containerization software for efficient packaging can produce significant savings on a company’s bottom line while also ensuring the secure transportation of consumer goods.

Dimensional (DIM) weight is a calculation used by shipping carriers to assess the combined weight and volume of a package. Consequently, even lightweight, bulky items can incur higher shipping costs due to the space they take up in a delivery vehicle. DIM weight calculations frequently pose challenges for businesses, introducing unexpected high shipping costs and logistical complexities.

The process of containerization accounts for several factors such as dimensions, weight, and compatibility with other items like fragile goods. By coordinating and analyzing each of these factors, businesses can determine the most efficient way to package items into their parcels, eliminating excess packaging, reducing the risk of damaged items, and ultimately lowering shipping expenses. For any business who experiences the pain points associated with parcel packaging, considering the implementation of an automated containerization software, like ShipOptimizer, could be a game changer in shipping speed and efficiency. [Learn more on how to tackle unexpected shipping costs due to box size variance.]

A module in the Varsity Logistics ShipSoft-Parcel Suite, a multi-carrier shipping software for IBM i (AS/400) Power systems users, ShipOptimizer is a revolutionary solution to the all-too-familiar challenges of parcel shipping packaging. Developed to address the complexities of modern e-commerce and logistics, ShipOptimizer enables businesses to overcome the obstacles of efficiently and cost-effectively packing consumer goods.

How ShipOptimizer Works

At the time of order entry, ShipOptimizer accurately predicts shipping expenses, providing businesses upstream visibility before actually shipping the product, streamlining the fulfillment process and optimizing container packing procedures. This transformative solution empowers businesses to quote freight costs in real-time, streamline warehouse operations, and improve the ordering experience for your customers, making it a must-have tool for companies looking to stay competitive in modern logistics.

Key Features

The ShipOptimizer module delivers several key benefits including:

Address Changes in Order Profiles: ShipOptimizer is equipped to handle changes in order profiles, accommodating both full-case and split-case picking processes. This adaptability ensures that businesses can efficiently manage these orders without compromising packing efficiency.

Efficient Carton and Pallet Building: With ShipOptimizer, businesses can develop an efficient plan for building cartons, pallets, and trailers, ensuring companies can streamline their distribution processes and eliminate wasted space.

Automated Carton Selection: The ShipOptimizer solution automates the selection of cartons based on item dimensions, weight, and compatibility, ensuring that each shipment is packed in the most efficient way possible. This automated process saves both time and resources while also reducing the risk of manual error and extra costs.

Meeting Complex Processing Requirements: ShipOptimizer enables businesses to meet complex processing requirements, such as those related to order customization and special handling instructions. By efficiently managing these requirements, ShipOptimizer helps companies save time, packing materials, and container space, ultimately reducing operation and transportation costs.

A top tier multi-carrier shipping software solution for shippers on the IBM i (AS/400) Power systems platform, Varsity Logistics offers an impressive suite of advanced supply chain execution modules, designed to tackle even the most difficult parcel shipping challenges including:

The ShipOptimizer module is a unique and revolutionary solution to help businesses offset growing transportation costs and improve overall shipping efficiency. By automating the containerization process based on various package factors, Varsity ShipOptimizer plays a critical role in lowering shipping costs and streamlining warehouse operations.

Ready to take your warehouse packaging strategy to the next level? To learn more about ShipOptimizer or Varsity Logistics shipping software solutions, contact our team of shipping experts or schedule a demo. Take the first step towards long-term success with the only holistic shipping solution built for the IBM i.

Ship Faster with SpeedWeigh: Auto Package Weighing

Learn about Varsity SpeedWeigh and how it works with ShipSoft Parcel to automate the package weighing process

Imagine you are mid-shift working in a bustling warehouse, where efficiency is crucial and every second counts for staying on track of your parcel shipments. In this high-stakes environment, every moment wasted on manual tasks, correcting inaccuracies, and inefficient processes can impact your business’s bottom line and lead to lost opportunities. When it comes to traditional package weighing processes, the reliance on manual scanning and data entry into shipping systems consumes valuable time and increases the risk for errors.

But what if there was a way to avoid these threats of inefficiency and streamline your shipping process with a solution that eliminates the manual tasks and integrates into your existing workflow? Enter SpeedWeigh, a module that partners seamlessly with Varsity ShipSoft Parcel to revolutionize the way packages are weighed and processed.

In this blog, we’ll dive into the world of SpeedWeigh, taking a closer look at how the module works, why it’s important for shippers, and the key benefits it can bring to your business’ shipping operations. From increased efficiency to significant cost savings, let’s explore how SpeedWeigh can transform the way you ship and propel your business towards long-term success.

SpeedWeigh works by automatically sending the package weight from the shipping scale to Varsity ShipSoft-Parcel (the only holistic shipping software built for the IBM i) at the precise time that the order number is scanned. This eliminates the need for an additional barcode scan or manually entering the package weight.

To find the best rate for a package, you need to consider all of these factors:

  • Package weight
  • Package dimensions
  • Service type
  • Carrier rate and discount
  • Destination

ShipSoft Parcel combines the package weight provided by SpeedWeigh with destination, package dimensions, service type, and carrier rates to determine your actual shipment costs in the blink of an eye. By using SpeedWeigh to eliminate the manual steps to scan or enter the package weight, companies improve accuracy and streamline the shipping process.

Varsity’s SpeedWeigh also eliminates the need for a keyboard wedge, a device that connects the scanner to the keyboard for inputting the weight. The data is transferred automatically from SpeedWeigh into ShipSoft Parcel on your IBM i (AS/400) Power system without the third-party device.

As we know, in the dynamic world of shipping and logistics, every step matters. That is why the SpeedWeigh module plays a crucial role in the industry as it offers a solution that goes beyond convenience. There are several benefits this module brings to businesses.

Key Benefits of SpeedWeigh

Automation of Package Weight Retrieval: Arguably the most important ability SpeedWeigh provides shippers with is the elimination of manual tasks. In traditional package weighing processes, manually scanning each parcel’s barcode and the tedious entry of weight information is not only extremely time consuming, but it also leaves the door wide open for introducing human error into the mix. This integration automates weight retrieval and removes the risk of inefficiencies, ensuring that the weight of each parcel is accurately recorded without the hassle of manual input.

Increased Throughput Speed and Efficiency: Automating the package weighing process allows for accelerated throughput speeds as workflows can move more quickly, creating an overall more efficient process. With less manual steps, employees can process more parcels in less time, leading to faster turnaround times, more time to allocate resources to other important tasks, and improving the overall customer experience.

Cost-Optimization: With manual processes comes the increased risk of costly human errors. Automated systems help to reduce the need for manual labor, saving businesses on staffing costs and costs associated with “damage control” from human intervention. Additionally, automated weighing systems provide accurate weight measurements, which help ensure shipping costs are appropriately calculated, minimizing the risk of overpaying, underpaying, or running into penalties and disputes with carriers.

Varsity Logistics multi-carrier shipping software is the #1 solution for IBM i (AS/400) Power systems users who need parcel shipping capabilities. Our ShipSoft-Parcel Suite is a complete and integrated solution, automating your business’s shipping process from start to finish. The ShipSoft application acts as a central control for each of Varsity’s supply chain execution modules for parcel including:

SpeedWeigh isn’t just a ShipSoft-Parcel tool – it’s a transformative solution for shipping operations. By automating processes, enhancing efficiency, and creating opportunities for cost-optimization, Varsity SpeedWeigh for IBM i (AS/400) Power systems users empowers businesses to revolutionize the way they ship.

To learn more about SpeedWeigh or Varsity shipping software solutions, contact Varsity’s shipping experts or schedule a demo. We look forward to exploring how Varsity Logistics can meet your business’s unique needs.

Mastering Market Volatility: 5 Ways Shipping Software Helps You Weather the Storm

You can’t always predict the unexpected, but you sure can prepare for it

In 2020, a global pandemic forced our world into a lockdown, causing productions to shut down, surges in unavailable product demand, and delays at ports. In 2022, 1,743 entities were impacted by supply chain cyber-attacks in the U.S., a 235% increase year-over-year since 2017. In 2023, anticipation of a potential strike by UPS Teamsters triggered a defensive response in many businesses, increasing costs for alternative shipping options, stress and anxiety, and many other harmful effects. Uncertainty regarding capacity exceeding demand adds another layer of complexity, as businesses grapple with questions about how many carriers will survive or merge in the face of changing market dynamics. Not to mention, other threats of disruption, like natural disasters and labor concerns, continue to loom over the supply chain and logistics industries.

You might be wondering: What’s the point of calling out these examples of market volatility? The point is, the supply chain and logistics landscape changes rapidly, constantly evolving. At the same time, they’re consistently faced with irregularities and the unknown. The possibility of supply chain disruption can occur at any time, especially when we least expect it. So, how can businesses be prepared for the unexpected?

Not only understanding, but also preparing for these market dynamics is crucial for businesses looking to excel in today’s volatile shipping environment. An advanced supply chain technology solution, such as a Transportation Management System (TMS) or multi-carrier shipping software built for both parcel and LTL shipping, emerges as the strategic key, offering a variety of tools and capabilities designed to help you navigate uncertainty. Let’s explore how these solutions can set your shipping operations up for success against unforeseen circumstances and market volatility.

From visibility to automation and provider expertise, here are five ways a robust shipping software solution can help you adapt to evolving market conditions and provide the control you need to weather any storm:

1. Enhanced Visibility: Industry leading multi-carrier shipping software offers real-time visibility into the entire supply chain ecosystem. Advanced tracking and monitoring gives businesses visibility to several factors including shipment status, carrier performance, inventory levels, and market conditions. This provides companies with the ability to quickly detect disruptions and proactively respond to any unexpected obstacles.

2. Optimized Routing: In times of supply chain disruption, a shipping software’s optimized routing capabilities can really make a difference. The software can analyze various factors like traffic conditions, carrier capacity, and delivery windows, to select the most efficient route avoiding any disruptions. This way, businesses can still minimize transit times and adapt to volatile market conditions.

3. Improved Communication: Superior shipping software platforms integrate seamlessly with other parts of the Enterprise Software Stack (ESS), ensuring smooth data exchanges and streamlining operations. This also allows for uninterrupted communication between shippers, carriers, and customers. By maintaining real-time communication between the different parts of the supply chain, it helps businesses keep stakeholders informed to swiftly mitigate the impact of unforeseen circumstances and vice versa.

4. Automation: The ability of a comprehensive multi-carrier shipping solution to automate manual tasks and streamline workflows improves overall operational efficiency and agility. Not only do automated processes reduce the risk of costly errors, but they enable businesses to quickly adapt to sudden market changes, ensuring high service levels even in unpredictable events.

5. Expertise: A top-tier shipping software provider’s expertise is invaluable when it comes to preparing shippers for market volatility. Experienced providers offer strategic guidance, innovative solutions, and proactive support. Leveraging their strong industry knowledge, these providers can assist businesses in anticipating potential risks and developing contingency plans to mitigate them. By partnering with an experienced shipping software provider, shippers can lean on a trusted resource to help them navigate turbulent times and ensure resilience in supply chain uncertainty.

While it’s clear that unforeseen circumstances and instances of supply chain volatility are inevitable, Varsity Logistics’ comprehensive shipping software solution is the obvious choice for safeguarding your shipping operations against them. Varsity Logistics is the industry-leading multi-carrier shipping software provider exclusively designed for shippers on the IBM i (AS/400) Power systems. Included in our parcel shipping suite are various robust functionalities and supply chain execution modules, built for even the most complex shipping challenges. As a premium shipping solution, we help you protect your shipping operations with our:

Supply Chain Visibility

Electronically linked via Varsity’s ShipTalk module, your shipping software is seamlessly connected to your carriers to provide your business with real-time, end-to-end visibility into various parts of the supply chain. This functionality gives insight to variables such as current time order updates, delivery status, and advanced tracking and tracing. The visibility ShipTalk provides gives companies the ability to swiftly identify disruptions and take proactive action.

Carrier Selection

Another functionality Varsity provides as an important tool in mitigating supply chain disruptions is our carrier selection process. Based on a list of criteria including transit time, cost, mode, performance, optimal carriers, and more, Varsity’s ShipSelect module chooses the best carrier for every single shipment. This kind of functionality offers your business an automated way to still select the optimal carrier option for your shipments even during volatile supply chain conditions.

Streamlined Communication

Varsity’s shipping software solution offers the most robust and powerful integration possible with IBM i ERPs, making it the clear choice for IBM i (AS/400) Power systems users. This seamless integration allows for smooth communication and real-time shipping data access, empowering IT and e-commerce teams to stay informed of any potential threats or disruptions, allowing for immediate collaboration and proactive responses. [Learn why Varsity is the preferred shipping software partner of VAI!]

Automated Workflows

Automation plays a big role in helping shippers mitigate volatility. Varsity’s ShipSoft-Parcel solution automates the entire shipping process from start to end, eliminating the risk of expensive manual errors. From optimizing shipment pricing to ensuring label compliance, our automated solution ensures quick adjustments to your shipping strategies in response to shifting market conditions, like disruptions in transit routes. Additionally, our ability to conform to business requirements and industry compliance standards guarantees shippers a reliable solution regardless of supply chain challenges.

Supply Chain Expertise

We absolutely agree that the experience of your shipping software provider is invaluable, especially with unforeseen circumstances consistently looming. Founded in 1989, Varsity Logistics is proud to share that we hold over nearly 40 years in the supply chain and logistics space under our belt. Additionally, the tenure of our services and support teams surpasses 120 years. With that much experience, we know best when it comes to preparing shippers for resilience against market volatility.

Additional Features

There are many more capabilities of Varsity’s shipping modules that go beyond this list, but it’s important to mention:

  • Auditing: Varsity’s ShipAudit module reconciles carrier invoices against the anticipated costs, eliminating over-charges, duplicate bills, or invalid charges. Overall, by protecting profitability, ShipAudit helps companies fortify their supply chains against disruption and encourages operational continuity.
  • Analytics: TransData is Varsity’s transportation analytics tool that provides shipping companies with access to organized historical shipping and carrier data, enabling them to analyze performance, monitor trends, and make informed decisions. Leveraging this data helps businesses negotiate better agreements with carriers and reduce costs, thus helping to mitigate the impacts of a volatile shipping market.
  • Containerization: The ShipOptimizer module revolutionizes shipping operations by providing companies with the ability to predict shipping costs accurately before product shipment, offsetting rising transportation expenses and enhancing warehouse efficiency. By optimizing the container packing process, this module enables companies to seamlessly manage complex fulfillment requirements, reduce operating costs, and minimize potential product damage, ultimately helping companies navigate the challenges of supply chain disruptions.

To learn more about the modules mentioned above and Varsity’s comprehensive selection of parcel, freight, analytics and auditing shipping solutions, visit our resource center.

Varsity Logistics’ industry-leading multi-carrier shipping software is more than a shipping tool; it’s an essential piece of your supply chain software solution helping to safeguard your IBM i (AS/400) shipping strategy against the unexpected. Offering a valuable set of capabilities, including enhanced visibility, optimal carrier selection, streamlined communication, automated processes, and provider expertise, Varsity provides the solution to equip your shipping strategy for whatever’s around the corner.

Ready to weather the storm and take on supply chain disruptions with confidence? Contact our team of shipping experts or schedule a demo to learn more about how Varsity can help you navigate the ever-changing parcel shipping landscape.

Explore Shipping Software for IBM i at MODEX 2024 with Varsity Logistics

Explore Varsity’s industry-leading shipping software for IBM i at MODEX 2024

The rapid growth of modern commerce demands innovation and agility, especially for IBM i (AS/400) Power Systems users navigating the complexities of today’s supply chain. But what if there was an opportunity to connect with peers, explore emerging technologies, and gain valuable insights to overcome common IBM i shipping challenges and propel your operations forward? Look no further than MODEX 2024, the full spectrum supply chain solution trade show.

This year, Varsity Logistics, your trusted partner for multi-carrier shipping software built exclusively for IBM i Power Systems users, will be exhibiting alongside ProShip, Inc. at booth C7298. The show takes place from March 11th-14th in Atlanta, Georgia, bringing together supply chain professionals from all parts of the industry. It’s the perfect opportunity for businesses and suppliers to showcase their end-to-end supply chain solutions and technologies driving the future of supply chain operations.

Our team of IBM i shipping experts understands the unique challenges you face:

  • Modernization hurdles: Juggling outdated interfaces and limited functionalities can hinder your agility.
  • Integration headaches: Connecting your IBM i system with other applications can be complex and time-consuming.
  • Manual processes and errors: Relying on manual processes can lead to errors and decrease productivity.

Varsity’s comprehensive IBM i solution empowers you to overcome these challenges with a web-based interface to streamline shipping management for everyone on your team, regardless of technical expertise. In addition, Varsity’s seamless integration with your IBM i environment eliminates integration headaches and ensures smooth data flow. Finally, with automated tasks and error reduction, shippers can automate key tasks, minimize errors, and boost productivity.

Our team of IBM i shipping experts are thrilled for the opportunity to connect with supply chain professionals, explore top-tier solutions, and to share our industry-leading multi-carrier shipping software suite built exclusively for IBM i (AS/400) Power Systems users. Schedule a meeting with one of our shipping experts at the show to learn how Varsity can streamline your shipping operations and unlock the full potential of your IBM i infrastructure.

With over 1,175 of the leading solutions in both manufacturing and supply chain on display at the show, and over 200 expert-led seminar sessions, there’s sure to be something of interest to everyone attending MODEX 2024. Several technology companies seamlessly integrated with Varsity’s IBM i solution will also be exhibiting. Make sure to visit these key partners:

Infor – Booth #A12214

Infor®, with over 30 years of experience, is a global leader in industry-specific cloud software solutions that empower businesses around the world. With over 60,000 organizations relying on us for digital transformation, we provide end-to-end solutions to help you build a better business. Infor, positioned as a leader for a 5th consecutive time in the 2023 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Warehouse Management Systems, and its WMS caters to the evolving needs of modern businesses, emphasizing agility, usability, and exceptional outcomes.

Manhattan Associates – Booth #C7270

Manhattan Associates is a global technology leader in supply chain and omnichannel commerce. We unite information across the enterprise, converging front-end sales with back-end supply chain execution. Our software, platform technology and unmatched experience help drive both top-line growth and bottom-line profitability for our customers. Manhattan Associates designs, builds and delivers leading edge cloud solutions so that across the store, through your network or from your fulfillment center, you are ready to reap the rewards of the omnichannel marketplace.

Manhattan Seminar Sessions:

Looking for an all-in-one shipping solution built specifically for IBM i users to automate your operations, streamline your shipping processes, and overcome common pain points? Explore all the ways you can connect with our shipping experts on-site at MODEX 2024, or visit us at booth C7298 alongside ProShip!

Are you unable to attend the show? Discover more about Varsity’s #1 shipping software solution for IBM i (AS/400) Power Systems users in our resource center or reach out to us to explore how we can help you find the best shipping solution for your unique needs.