[Webinar Recap] How to Tackle Unexpected Shipping Costs Due to Box Size Variance

Check out the on-demand webinar with Varsity customers Waytek and Concordance Healthcare Solutions

Varsity Logistics was thrilled to be invited to participate in this year’s ProS Who Know 2023 Virtual Webinar Event, hosted by ProShip Inc. This is the fourth year for this annual virtual event, which brings together a diverse panel of supply chain professionals, industry leaders, and top-notch shipping and logistics experts. Throughout 5 live webinar sessions over two days, attendees enjoyed an engaging lineup of discussions diving into pressing industry topics, strategies for success, tools for streamlining operations and more.

Varsity Logistics shared the spotlight with expert speakers from Varsity customers, Waytek and Concordance Healthcare Solutions, and a guest from Cubiscan in their session: “[Waytek Wire, Cubiscan & Concordance] How to Tackle Unexpected Shipping Costs Due to Box Size Variance”. The speakers offered a high-level look at what’s effecting shipping costs in the current shipping environment and then took a deeper dive into strategies and tools to mitigate some of these financial discrepancies. Waytek and Concordance speakers were able to provide firsthand experience with some of these issues, while Cubiscan offered depth and knowledge into one of the tools that helps to address these cost issues – automated dimensioning technology.

[Watch the full version of the Waytek, Cubiscan & Concordance session on-demand!]

Session Overview

A common issue many shippers face today is receiving overcharges and unexpected costs. First, shippers must dive in to find the source for these frustrating parcel shipping chargebacks. Often, however, it is a result of discrepancies between the box size declared by the shipper and the actual size determined by parcel carriers. With the dim factor always changing, these issues can affect both low and high-volume shippers. But there are advanced supply chain technologies out there that can help businesses overcome challenges like these.

This webinar brought together 5 experts to discuss these supply chain obstacles further in-depth as well as provide insight into tools and technology that have proven beneficial in mitigating overcharges and streamlining overall shipping operations.

In the on-demand session recording, you will discover…

  • The intricacies of dimensional weight pricing and its role in common shipping cost discrepancies
  • Customer testimonials on shared challenges and solutions
  • Strategies and tools, like automated dimension capture technology and multi-carrier shipping software for IBM-based (Power I, AS400) systems, to cut overcharges and improve shipping operations

“When we first started this, when we would ship our small parcels like UPS and FedEx, our average cycle time was over three minutes. By changing to add automation, now we’re under a minute on an average package and what that does is help all of our customers, whether external or internal, show that we’re controlling our costs. We’re presenting accurate information and I think that’s a key that for every customer, if we’re shipping on some other customer’s account number, we want to make sure they’re getting billed correctly and not getting audited by manual. Humans don’t try to make mistakes, but whenever there’s a human process in there, there’s going to be mistakes.”

– Tim Mark, Warehouse Operations Manager at Waytek

Is inaccurate-dimensional information causing delays in getting shipments to your customers? Listen in to learn more!

Meet the Expert Speakers

Tim Mark, Warehouse Operations Manager | Waytek

Travis Peltier, Director of Sales and Marketing | Cubiscan

John Bouillon, Director, Freight Management | Concordance Healthcare Solutions

Charlie Hawkins, Director of Sales | Varsity Logistics

Tom Reber, Director of Business Development | Varsity Logistics

Why Varsity Multi-Carrier Shipping Software

Varsity Logistics’ multi-carrier shipping software serves as the cornerstone for tackling the challenges shippers face such as excess costs from box size variation. Want to learn more about how Varsity’s multi-carrier shipping software solution for IBM-based (Power i, AS400) system users can help remove some of these manual processes and avoid chargebacks to enhance and streamline your shipping operations? Contact our team of experts today or schedule a demo to transform the way you ship!

The IBM i (AS/400) Guide to Handling Increased Parcel Throughput

Learn how IBM i (AS/400) Power users can streamline their shipping operations and increase their parcel throughput with ease

Up and running since 1988, IBM i (AS/400) operating systems (now Power Systems), are a cornerstone of many businesses’ shipping operations. In fact, the AS/400 platform is used in over 100,000 companies including Fortune 500 companies that use IBM i Power systems. As these systems have stood the test of time, their reliability, scalability, and durability have remained strong, which is why they are still relevant in today’s modern business environments. IBM i (AS/400) Power systems act as a central hub for various business functions, including those related to shipping and distribution. For those in the parcel shipping industry, these systems play a critical role in managing the various aspects of daily shipping operations.

E-commerce and customer expectations have surged over the last few years. This has caused the pressure for shippers to handle increased parcel throughput to grow in tandem. As businesses find themselves grappling with the challenge of managing an increased volume of packages, they must find an efficient solution to help them navigate this quickly changing environment to remain competitive. For shippers relying on IBM i (AS/400) Power systems, there are strategies and solutions that can empower your business in tackling the ever-growing demand for efficiency. Let’s start by looking at potential challenges you may face if you fail to adapt your strategy.

The Challenges of Handling Increased Parcel Throughput

While increasing your business’s parcel throughput can point to many positives, such as business growth, improved customer satisfaction, and competitive advantage, it is not always an easy undertaking. A quick spike in orders can stretch a company’s staff and resources thin without proper planning. Operational bottlenecks and a slow down or halt in tasks due to inefficient processes can result in order processing delays, late shipments, and unfulfilled customer expectations.

As mentioned previously, there has been a substantial increase in consumer demand and expectations surrounding the delivery of their products and customer service. Because of this, there is a heavy pressure on shippers to ensure they meet order fulfillment timelines and delivery promise dates. This requires businesses to adapt their shipping operations quickly to meet high order volumes and keep their customers satisfied.

As a reliable system for over 35 years, it is no wonder that the IBM i (AS/400) Power system is one of the world’s “most popular business computing systems”. However, because it has been around for so long, it is considered a legacy system by many – mainly because of other, newer solutions that have been released since. In fact, many companies with IBM i (AS/400) Power systems still have homegrown shipping solutions that may not be as adaptable or efficient, making it hard to keep up with increased throughput demands. Because of this, it is crucial for shippers to find scalable and efficient technologies that can seamlessly grow with their operations and provide the adaptability they need to keep up with such a dynamic parcel shipping landscape.

Strategies to Handle Increased Parcel Throughput Like a Pro

While the challenges of managing increased parcel throughput are evident, there are several strategies for shippers utilizing IBM i (AS/400) Power systems to empower them to tackle these obstacles effectively.

Automating Order Processing

Order processing automation is crucial for businesses experiencing an increase in demand. Implementing the automation of tasks such as order entry, address validation, and order routing can minimize the need for manual data input. Overall, this significantly reduces the possibility of human error and allows businesses to handle increased parcel throughput with ease. When integrated into IBM i (AS/400) Power systems, order processing automation substantially improves the precision and seamlessness of order fulfillment, delivering a streamlined processing of orders and efficient dispatch of shipments.

Rate Shopping

Rate shopping is an invaluable strategy for shippers utilizing IBM i (AS/400) Power systems to efficiently handle the challenges that come with increased parcel throughput. Rate shopping technology gives shippers the ability to compare and select the best carriers and rates for each shipment, allowing them the opportunity to stay cost-effective for both their business and their customers. Incorporating rate shopping into the shipping process also guarantees a reduction of overspending on shipping costs while ensuring users can make well-informed decisions in real time, guarantee timely deliveries, and remain competitive in a rapidly evolving landscape.

Real-Time Tracking for Customers

With the high expectations consumers hold today, real-time tracking and visibility to their orders is extremely important. Shippers can utilize their technology to provide their customers with tracking information, providing them insight into every step in the shipping process of their order. Notifications of early, on-time, or shipping delays make deliveries more convenient for consumers, as well as builds trust with the business, enhancing the overall customer experience. IBM i (AS/400) Power users can achieve this through integration with shipping software, like a multi-carrier shipping software solution, ensuring real-time tracking and visibility for their customers.

Dimensional Weighing

Incorporating dimensional weighing technology can significantly boost your company’s parcel throughput. This strategy is critical for IBM i (AS/400) Power users to integrate in order to get accurate rate calculation and cost-efficient shipping. It ensures accurate pricing based on the dimension and weight of parcels, minimizing discrepancies between manifest weight and actual weight. Not only does this technology lower shipping costs and allows businesses to handle increased parcel throughput, but it also results in substantial labor savings. [Learn more about dimensional weight pricing and unexpected shipping costs.]

The list of strategies for shippers using IBM i (AS/400) Power systems to handle increased parcel throughput goes on, but wouldn’t it be nice if there was one comprehensive platform that combined all of these strategies into one helpful solution?

Introducing: Varsity Logistics’ Multi-Carrier Shipping Software Solution

Varsity Logistics has stood as a top-tier supplier of multi-carrier shipping software for companies in need of parcel shipping capabilities for over a decade. Designed exclusively for IBM i (AS/400) Power users, our comprehensive parcel shipping suite is seamlessly integrated, hosting various top tier supply chain execution modules engineered to handle even the most intricate small package shipping.

Varsity’s ShipSoft-Parcel seamlessly integrates with ERP, legacy, and Order Entry systems running on IBM i (iSeries, Power, AS/400) systems. It delivers a unified and automated shipping solution that ultimately eliminates manual data entry and significantly reduces shipping costs for your business. This solution incorporates several technologies to apply the strategies for businesses to handle increased parcel throughput discussed above.

Within Varsity’s ShipSoft-Parcel solution, ShipSelect automates the carrier selection process based on factors such as transit time, cost, and carrier service. It chooses the optimal carrier for every shipment, following business requirements and routing guides. ShipOptimizer technology finds the ideal containerization process and accurately predicts shipping costs before processing the order. SpeedWeigh allows shippers to automatically retrieve the package weight from the scale which is pulled into the system at the time the order number is scanned. This eliminates the need for an additional get-weight barcode scan or manual entry, ultimately saving your business processing time and money.

Varsity’s multi-carrier shipping solution is a unified platform that encompasses automation, order processing, dimensional weighing, real-time tracking, and more. This all-in-one solution optimizes operations, improves efficiency, and guarantees the effective and successful management of increased parcel throughput for those operating on IBM i (iSeries, Power, AS/400) systems. To learn more about Varsity’s Parcel shipping solution, the additional execution modules, and how our software can transform your shipping operations, contact our team of shipping experts or request a demo.

How IBM i (AS/400) Power Users Can Reduce Shipping Errors and Overcharges with Automated Auditing

Learn how to automate the once time-consuming process of uncovering errors and overcharges in your shipping process

From inaccurate charges to overlooked errors, the numerous ways your parcel and freight shipping invoices can quietly drain your company’s finances are as widespread as they are costly. All it takes is a simple miscalculated surcharge, an incorrect shipping address, or an unnoticed billing error before you are hemorrhaging money that could have been invested elsewhere in your business.

Regardless of the reason for your increased shipping costs, often times they aren’t identified until after the fact. Fortunately, today’s methods of auditing shipping charges have improved significantly due to automated intelligent audit software provided via some multi-carrier shipping platforms. For companies utilizing IBM I (AS/400) Power systems, using a tool like this can revolutionize the way businesses audit parcel and freight shipping invoices, ensuring precision and substantial cost savings.

Let’s take a look at a few ways companies can perform these audits.

In the Beginning: The Manual Audit

Manual auditing has been the traditional approach and common way to start evaluating parcel and freight shipping invoices. However, like any job done manually, this process has its fair share of flaws. Not only is it a time-consuming process, but it also demands a high attention to detail, leaving room for human error. This, unfortunately, is unavoidable as it’s human nature for even the most meticulous auditors to overlook an error or record something inaccurately.

The manual auditing process may work initially, but once the volume of orders rises to a certain level, it can become impossible to keep up. This is especially true if employees have their hands full with other job responsibilities. Things start to be missed, and the percentage of error starts to increase, thus costing your business dollars that could and should be spent elsewhere. Labor shortages also raise concern for manual tasks as we currently have 1.4 million fewer Americans working than we did in early 2020. These flaws place a spotlight on the urgent need for a more advanced approach to parcel and freight auditing so what else do you try? Enter the consultant.

We Can’t Take It Anymore: The External Audit

Auditing companies have been established for a long time and serve a crucial function in helping businesses ensure financial accuracy and adhere to regulatory standards in various areas of their operations. They make money by keeping a portion of compensation from the businesses that use their auditing services. Although they may do a better job of keeping up with high volumes than an internal team, auditing companies still have their own flaws.

While you may be saving on shipping costs by receiving more accurate audits on your parcel and freight invoices than you were with manual audits, you are still paying for an outside service. [Learn more about FreightAudit solutions]. At this point, you may be feeling a lack of control over the money spent on not only shipping, but also monitoring shipping. The reality is you could have paid for automated auditing software several times over by now, reducing excessive costs and unnecessary errors. If you want more visibility, but are unwilling to return to a manual process, it’s time for the next step. Enter auditing software.

Keep It Simple: The Automated Audit

Top shipping software solutions provide easily integrated and automated auditing solutions as a core component of their offerings. These software solutions go beyond the traditional auditing methods mentioned above as they leverage algorithms, data analysis, and technology to examine various kinds of records. Typically, they work by analyzing data invoices, receipts, and shipping records against rules agreed upon by contract to detect any discrepancies or errors in real-time. Doing so prevents your business from paying for things like overcharges, duplicate bills, and invalid charges. This solution also empowers businesses to improve their competitive edge, streamline their operations, and reach substantial cost savings. What’s even better is that there are multi-carrier shipping solutions strategically built for shippers who are on IBM i (AS/400) Power systems. This is key when trying to find a solution that integrates properly into your Enterprise Software Stack (ESS).

Feedback Loop: The Continuous Improvement Benefit

When your automated auditing software discovers errors, particularly those that cause expensive accessorial charges, the fault doesn’t always lie with the carrier. There are many potential errors that your shipping software and/or your employees can help you avoid. These include, but are not limited to, dimensional weight pricing, residential surcharges, address corrections and more. [Have more questions about dimensional weight pricing? Watch this webinar to learn more about tackling unexpected shipping costs with automated technology.]

Having auditing software can help recoup carrier overcharges and with the right shipping software in place, brands can identify the types of overpayments that are internal. For example, a package might have been sent via Regular Delivery to a residential address, causing a surcharge, when it could have been sent via Home Delivery. Additional employee training to reduce internal errors can be another beneficial way to minimize shipping costs. An elite auditing program will surface the examples you need to help your staff learn.

While rising shipping costs will continue to be an area of concern for most companies, keeping a close eye on costs with internal auditing software can help make the most of shipping budgets.

The Industry’s First IBM i (AS/400) Power Shipment Auditing Solution: ShipAudit™

There’s only one solution for IBM i (AS/400) Power customers looking to ensure accuracy on their parcel shipping invoices, as well as save money on their transportation spend. Varsity Logistics’ ShipAudit™ software helps shippers find a quick ROI on their investment by reconciling pre-negotiated contract rates against actual carrier invoices as they are received electronically. Once the invoice is audited, everything that aligns is marked ready for processing and sent automatically to the finance or accounting department.

All the details related to any exceptions, duplicate charges, and accessorial fees are collected and presented together, along with recommendations to pay or deny, and charges that require an adjustment based on contract rates. After a quick review, legitimate exceptions are paid and the details for the contested charges are submitted back to the carrier for correction.

Varsity’s ShipAudit™ software offers many other benefits in addition to cost savings and eliminating manual data entry and audit processes. Other benefits include erasing the need for costly third-party involvement and ensuring contract rates and incentives are correctly applied to freight bills. Plus, there is one additional benefit from keeping your audits internal: a well-trained shipping staff.

Ready to learn more about how Varsity Logistics’ ShipAudit™ software can help you? Contact our shipping experts today to schedule a ShipAudit™ demo & see how auditing software can revolutionize your shipping process and help you avoid costly shipping mistakes.

For VAI S2K Users: Single System with Any Parcel or LTL Carrier via Varsity Logistics

Discover the seamless integration between Varsity Logistics and VAI S2K and how it can optimize your shipping strategy.

In the world of shipping and logistics, convenience and efficiency are not only characteristics that companies seek out, but they are necessary for supply chain success. Picture a scenario where shippers handling high volumes of outbound packages daily can effortlessly connect with multiple carriers, all thanks to a pre-built, user-friendly integrated solution. This is not just a dream; it’s a reality meant to revolutionize the way VAI S2K enterprise users operate and serve their customers. 

Varsity Logistics, the #1 shipping software solution for IBM i, is thrilled to provide a pre-built integration with VAI to existing VAI S2K customers requiring outbound shipping services for 100 packages or more per day. Varsity is proud of their recognition as VAI’s selected shipping software partner, offering S2K enterprise customers a single unified system to ship with any parcel or LTL carrier. These two technologies work together seamlessly to optimize Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and shipping processes, by streamlining operations and enhancing the customer experience.

Benefits of Varsity Integration

This proven, pre-written integration offers a number of benefits.

  • Carrier selection based on each company’s unique business rules
  • Enhanced visibility of detailed shipment information 
  • Multi-carrier shipping from a single unified platform within S2K (Parcel and LTL)

Varsity Logistics x VAI S2K Brochure

Join other successful VAI S2K customers using Varsity’s Shipping Software Suite! View the Varsity VAI S2K brochure to learn more.

Ready to Talk Shipping? 

As an industry leading shipping solution, Varsity Logistics offers robust and comprehensive parcel and freight shipping software for shippers who utilize IBM i for IBM Power® servers. With this seamless integration, VAI S2K users can leverage the partnership of VAI and Varsity’s technologies to optimize their shipping processes.

Interested in learning more about taking your supply chain strategy to the next level with shipping software? Contact our team of shipping experts to discover how Varsity Logistics can enhance your logistics operations.

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.

The Importance of Supply Chain Collaboration Between Retailers and Suppliers

Discover the 4 ways retailers benefit from collaborating with their supply chain vendors.

Over the past few years, the landscape of the global supply chain has faced various shifts and disruptions, reshaping the ways that many businesses operate and collaborate with one another. This period of transformative events and trends has exposed many companies’ vulnerabilities, tested their resilience, and most of all, proved the importance of adaptability and collaboration across the entire supply chain network. Especially when it comes to the retailer-supplier relationship, the recent rise in e-commerce and continued evolution of technology has echoed the significance of an efficient collaboration.

In today’s intricate world of commerce, where customer demands are soaring, the success of retailers and suppliers weighs heavily on their ability to collaborate seamlessly within the supply chain more than ever before. The flow of products from manufacturers to store shelves and into the consumer’s shopping cart relies on synchronized and robust supply chain operations. An interdependent relationship between both parties sets a sturdy foundation for cost savings, demand planning, continuous improvement, and improved customer experiences among many other key factors that make their collaboration crucial.

Key Benefits to Collaboration

Here we’ll take a closer look at some of the primary benefits of a strong connection between these retailers and their vendors.

  • Cost optimization: Effective supply chain collaboration between the retailer-supplier relationship presents the opportunity for significant cost savings. By working together closely, both parties can streamline processes, look for areas of improvement, and eliminate any inefficiencies. By sharing information on demand, production, and logistics, together they have better visibility in identifying cost savings such as consolidating shipments and optimizing shipping routes. Additionally, for both retailers and suppliers, the cost savings can be reinvested into bettering their business or even passed on to their customers.

  • Demand planning and forecasting: By utilizing collaborative demand planning and forecasting, retailers and suppliers can view and understand more accurate predictions of product demand, allowing for improved overall preparation. This also allows retailers to share real-time data and forecasts with suppliers who can use it for things like production scheduling, adjusting inventory levels, and clearer visibility of the supply chain for both sides to proactively tackle any potential disruptions or opportunities. Collaboration on demand planning and forecasting can also reduce the chance of products being under or overstock, ensuring the products in demand are available at the right time.

  • Continuous improvement: Working collaboratively in the supply chain drives continuous improvement for each partner involved. When retailers and suppliers work in collaboration, it enables the exchange of successful strategies and best practices, advice and lessons learned, as well as performance feedback. By partnering in analyzing data, both parties can identify inefficiencies and opportunities for optimization, fostering growth on each side. A collaborative retailer-supplier duo is also important for staying on top of trends, evolving technology, and innovative solutions, adaptations businesses should make if they want to remain competitive. Especially with the various supply chain shifts experienced in the last few years and the unpredictability of the supply chain today, retailer and supplier collaborations are important for staying resilient, agile, and responsive to changing market dynamics.

  • Enhanced customer experience: When retailers and suppliers work together like teammates, it can help them ensure product availability, timely delivery, and seamless order fulfillment. Collaborative efforts also lead to faster order processing, shorter lead times, and better delivery efficiency, resulting in a reliable service that will keep customers coming back. By working closely together to address issues and proactively face challenges, retailers and suppliers can better mitigate risk, improve their communication, and provide an exceptional customer experience. Lastly, shared real-time data and shipment tracking between the two can help both parties stay informed on potential delays and monitor daily delivery performance. All these collaborative efforts build customer loyalty and leave customers satisfied.

Supply chain collaboration between retailers and suppliers has proven crucial to finding shipping success. Working together enables opportunities for cost optimization, improved operational efficiency, positive customer experiences, and overall greater supply chain visibility. The collaboration also plays a vital role in ensuring product availability, timely delivery, and seamless order fulfillment.

After the collaborative partnership is confirmed, the next step is finding a shipping solution that streamlines these collaborative efforts and enables retailers to work with suppliers in a way that meets the unique needs of each relationship for optimal outcomes. Implementing a shipping software solution is an effective way to enhance the relationship and produce optimal operational outcomes.

Varsity Logistics offers robust and comprehensive freight and parcel shipping software solutions for IBM i/AS400 systems that enhance communication and transparency, optimize logistics processes, and enable retailers and suppliers to synchronize their operations and meet delivery expectations for the end customer. It unlocks a new level of accuracy and visibility with document generation and detailed historical data visible for analysis and reporting. The software also helps customers manage their selection of carriers and optimize shipment pricing, fostering seamless collaboration, elevating the competitive edge, and enhancing the overall customer experience.

Interested in simplifying and streamlining your supply chain strategy with shipping software? Get in touch with our team of experts today to explore the ways Varsity Logistics can enhance your shipping operations and transform the way your business handles logistics.

5 Ways a TMS Will Help You Weather Storms in the Supply Chain

Learn how the right Transportation Management System (TMS) prepares you for unexpected supply chain events and challenges.

A perfect storm of weather events, regulatory restrictions, the pandemic’s “great resignation,” and inflation are wreaking havoc on the supply chain and delaying getting goods to market.

Adding fuel to the fire is a new law, AB5, set to go into effect in the state of California that challenges the role of truck drivers as owner-operators. The result? Drivers staged actions along the state’s major ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Oakland last week.

What can your business do?

Be prepared!

The most important preparedness tool is one that enables you to adjust quickly to changing market conditions. In most cases, that means having transportation management system (TMS) software that is plugged into the major carriers.

Read on to learn 5 ways that using a TMS can help your business adjust early to sudden market conditions.


The main advantage of a TMS is that it gives you unlimited access to truckload capacity. This will not only help get your goods out the door, but it’ll also help you find the optimal balance of price and service to fit your needs.


The most valued TMS providers are flexible, giving you the ability to react quickly to changes in the network. The process of setting up new lanes, shifting volume, or finding capacity in markets can be intense, but TMS software is designed to make these changes as seamless as possible. The same is true if you want to scale space, labor, and transportation according to inventory changes at your warehouse.


A TMS gives you all-in-one capability for your shipment needs by providing both real-time visibility of shipments in transit and analytics to deliver long-term efficiencies. You’ll suddenly have full control of every aspect of your shipping operation.


The best TMS providers give you access to a vast resource network that can help your supply chain expand quickly and efficiently. Now, due to their relationships, you’ll have new opportunities for volume discounts, lower overhead costs, and timelier service.


A good TMS provider knows the marketplace of shippers, from small to large. Which means they can find a solution to any challenge. They have a greater knowledge of compliance programs and access to the online scheduling tools of every major retailer. This means you’ll avoid the costly fines that come with non-compliance. And don’t forget that your software vendor is also on top of market conditions and trends, so you’ll get up-to-date business intelligence on things like general rate increases (GRIs) to help you make the right decisions to mitigate risk.

Has your TMS helped you grow your business, cut costs, or avoid costly mistakes? If not, request a demo with Varsity Logistics and learn more about what we can do for your business.

More Moving Parcels Equals More Costly Errors – Here’s How to Save Money

Learn how auditing these 3 areas in your shipping process can result in significant cost savings.

Shipping has become the new normal. Everything from soap to socks, from pedometers to pet food are being delivered to COVID-19-imposed, quarantined consumers around the world. Companies are breaking open cases to deliver smaller quantities or enlisting 3PLs to do the piece-picking for them. The result is a huge increase in the number of parcels moving through the supply chain to residential addresses.

Yet, the increase in parcel shipping to residences means there are more errors on more invoices. More errors on invoices means you may be paying more than you should for shipping. What you can you? In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the three most common reasons your bill might be too high, and what you can do to reduce the impact of invoicing errors and overcharges to your bottom line.

Wrong Address Charges

If any part of an address is wrong, your package could be delayed, held up or mis-delivered. This can be due to updated Zip+4s or incorrectly formatted or wrong addresses.

When a parcel is sent to an incorrect address, or delivery is attempted at an address that doesn’t exist, carriers charge a fee to provide the correct, deliverable address information back to you.

2020 Charges for Address Correction by Major Carrier:

  • UPS $17.00 per package
  • FedEx $17.00 per correction
  • DHL $17.00 per shipment

It’s worth updating your database with corrected information for the future, or to consider shipping software that is already integrated with the US Postal Service’s database. Make sure the data you use is CASS-certified, meaning it uses the Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS) to check for accuracy against the USPS database.

Address correction charges only appear after the package is delivered, without any advance warning. That’s why it’s important to review your invoices and record any address changes for future shipments. If your customer provided the wrong address information and already paid for shipping, good luck trying to collect the extra charge! Shipping software that examines and corrects addresses up front can save you money and headaches.

Wrong Method Used

The second most common reason for invoice errors is not selecting the right shipping options from the start. Employees need to be aware of the most current methods, rates and billing programs to be able to find the lowest rates every time. Carriers have long lists of “Accessorial Fees” or what they like to call “Value Added Services” that are a significant portion of most invoices.

These charges are assessed for additional handling requirements, rural delivery areas and more. Some of the more common surcharges include:

  • Dimensional (Length or Width) Overage
  • Dimensional Weight Charges
  • Collect on Delivery (COD)
  • Delivery Confirmation (Signature Required;Adult 21+ Signature Required)
  • Address Correction
  • Delivery Reattempt
  • Inside Delivery or Pickup Charge
  • Fuel Surcharge
  • Third-Party Billing
  • Package Rerouting (Phone request; Web Request)
  • Delivery Area Surcharges (Remote Area; Metro Service Area; Residential Area; Alaska or Hawaii; International)
  • Return Pickup
  • Saturday Delivery or Pickup

While it’s easy to know if you should be looking at a Saturday rate based on the expected pickup or delivery date, it’s not always easy to know if you’re selecting the right service from the right carrier for the lowest price.

For example, UPS has 10 different service levels with 12 delivery timeframe options for sending a domestic package, while FedEx has 11 options for U.S. package shipping. Do you know all the differences between SmartPost, SurePost, and SimpleRate shipping and when to use each?

It’s also important to be aware of new offerings for residential deliveries and how those prices compare with standard/saver delivery options with a residential surcharge. It’s not unusual for a warehouse worker to send a parcel using a specific service to save money, only to have two or three additional charges added at the back end. Unless you are actively reviewing carrier invoices, it will keep happening. The key is to use what you learn about those additional charges to improve internal training.

If you don’t have the resources to do that, it’s time to consider shipping software that does the rate shopping for you. To use rate shopping, you would first enter your contract rates for each carrier. Then, when an item is ready to ship, the software identifies the best way to ship it to meet your goals—such as fastest, least expensive, or to meet a specific delivery date.

Carrier Overcharges

What if you are keeping your database clean, and you’re always choosing the best rates and minimizing your accessorial fees, but your invoices are still higher than you expect? The truth is, with so many line items, it wouldn’t be surprising if some of the charges on your invoice are just wrong.

Sometimes there are accessorial fees on your invoice that you shouldn’t have been charged. Most of the carrier errors, however, are for packages that were not billed at your contract rates. So what are your options?

You could hire a third-party service to do a line-item audit of your invoices for you. The downside is that they keep a good portion of the money you were overcharged. For some companies, the attitude is that whatever they get back, it’s “found money,” since they don’t have the bandwidth to do their own audits.

A better option is to use invoice auditing software, like Varsity’s ShipAudit. The ShipAudit module is integrated with the company’s ShipSoft® shipping and rate shopping software. With ShipAudit software, all overcharges are credited back to your company, not just half. Plus, having the shipping software gives you the tools you need to validate addresses in advance, keep your database up-to-date, and to find the best rates to satisfy your customers.

One Final Tip: Avoid Overpaying

Shipping costs are inevitable. To get the lowest possible rates based on your shipping volume, it helps to have audited documentation about what (and how much) you are spending by carrier and by service. While this information won’t save you anything on this month’s invoice, it will help immensely when it comes time to renegotiate your annual contract.

Varsity Logistics is the preferred multi-carrier shipping software solution for the IBM i (AS/400) platform. Request a demo with a Varsity Shipping Specialist to learn how Varsity can help you eliminate costly errors and save money.

Tackle Your Supply Chain Goals During the “Off-Season”

Don’t wait for training camp to make changes to your shipping playbook

It’s almost March and the year is already flying by. Luckily, you’ve had a little time to breathe after the hectic holiday season. Football season is over, and just like the athletes, you’ve enjoyed your “off-season” to take a break, get organized, and prepare for the high volumes of orders to begin in the next few months.

While football players get some time to rest their injuries and aching muscles, they also spend time perfecting their game. From weight-lifting to team practices to dieting to prepare their whole selves for the next tumultuous season, these players never quit.

In a way, the logistics industry is the same. While it might not be our busy season, it doesn’t mean that we can sit back and kick our feet up.

On the contrary, actually; now is the time to reflect, brainstorm, and prepare for the supply chain craziness that is to come.

First, take a look back at last season. The holiday season is the peak busy shipping season for the supply chain. How did things go for your warehouse? Did everything run smoothly? What could be improved and how? These are the questions you need to consider.

Then, you can tackle the issues and brainstorm new solutions. Perhaps it means adding more seasonal staff workers, or upgrading to new and improved shipping software. Part of your success is greatly riding on the structure of your organization and the people and tools that you use in your warehouse. A new shipping software might be the “special team” you need to take your facility to the next level.

Take the remaining time in your off-season to prepare your business for the next busy season. Get organized, clean up, purchase the new software and tools and get everything in place before it is too late.

Now is the time to act and make changes for the better, before you run out the clock! Request a Demo with a Varsity Shipping Specialist to learn how multi-carrier shipping software can help you execute a winning logistics strategy today.

3 Ways Online Holiday Shopping is Affecting the Supply Chain

Learning how peak season holiday shipping affects your supply chain can help you better plan for its uncertainty

The holiday shopping season is an annual test of the global supply chain. How the season treats each company depends on how multi-channel inventory management systems service the fulfillment demands of multi-channel customers.

So far, so good. Consumers spent nearly $8 billion online during Cyber Monday alone, a 20 percent increase that day from the previous year. Black Friday shopping alone delivered $6.2 billion in online sales, a 24% hike from 2017. More than 89 million people shopped both online and in stores, which a whopping 40% increase from the previous year.

Driving these numbers are mobile devices. Mobile accounted for 54% of all ecommerce sales on Thanksgiving itself, surpassing sales done via desktop, a historic record. Overall, mobile drove 68% of all e-commerce traffic, up from 62% the previous years.

3 Ways Your Supply Chain is Affected by Holiday Shopping

Besides these impressive numbers, what can supply chain operators learn about the current shopping season that will give them insights into adjusting expectations for next year? Here are three:

1. The holiday shopping season is starting earlier

Now the shopping season is rolling back to include the entire month of November or even earlier. The new start to the season is “Black November” as most major retailers started slashing deals much earlier than usual. Amazon unveiled “Black Friday Deals Week” before Nov. 1. Best Buy, Rag & Bone, Target, Apple, and Walmart all began promotions before this month with messaging that encouraged shoppers to “beat the rush” for “early access” to deals that encouraged earlier shopping than usual.

Both heightened competition and the explosion of ecommerce is behind this. As retailers promised deep discounts, the only response from the competition was to go deeper — and earlier. Increased reliance on online retail made competition tighter. Today a weekend bookended by Black Friday and Cyber Monday has ballooned into a full pre-season going back to the beginning of November or even earlier.

For major brands, opportunity is there because shoppers are there:

  • Investment management firm JLL found that more than a third (34%) of U.S. consumers said they planned to shop before Thanksgiving, an increase from 30% who said they’d do the same last year.
  • The National Retail Federation also reported that while 60% of holiday shoppers are waiting until November, one fifth planned to start in October with another fifth in September or earlier.
  • A 2018 survey by Brand Keys, a research firm, found that more than half (55% ) of respondents said they already intended to shop before the traditional Black Friday kick-off date. The majority of those (25%) said they were doing their holiday shopping in November before Black Friday; 20% said they would shop on Black Friday, 15 percent said they were shopping in October and 15% said they were shopping for the holiday in September or even before. Only a quarter said they were shopping for the Christmas holiday in December.

2. Omni-channel is changing the speed of shopping

Consumers are shopping more because they are researching more — on their phones and even within stores. More leading brands are finding innovative ways to integrate the online and offline shopping experiences. One example is Walmart’s mobile shopping app which is designed as an interactive pocket guide to the store and its promotions. Target’s app enabled mobile checkout to streamline purchasing and reduce wait times. Nike is using data from e-commerce purchasing to determine what it stocks in its brick-and-mortar stores. The intersection between mobile, e-commerce, and in-store purchasing is not just giving consumers more power at their fingertips, it is accelerating purchasing more than ever before.

3. Big Box stores are pushing online promotions earlier — And promising faster delivery too

The shopping season keeps backtracking earlier because big box retailers are making it harder than ever for consumers to pass up bargains at basement prices. They’re also promising consumers to wait less to get goods on their porch.

Amazon is offering free shipping on all orders delivered through Christmas, regardless if you’re a Prime member or not. Target’s website offers free two-day shipping with no minimum order size. Walmart’s online delivery is also offered with two-day free shipping. Kohls is now a pick-up point for Amazon delivery. Even Whole Foods Market is offering Amazon Prime Now pickup and delivery capabilities across the U.S., with curbside pickup in 22 markets.

How Multi-Carrier Shipping Software Can Help

As online shopping continues its path toward becoming the dominant way people shop each holiday season, big box retailers will find more creative ways to compete. That means getting goods faster to front doors at all cost. For supply chain operators, that also means months of preparation time to optimize systems to handle disruptions and to determine the most efficient ways to get goods out the door.

A lot goes into planning for the rush of the holiday season. Don’t go at it alone. Request a Demo from a Varsity Shipping Specialist to learn how Varsity multi-carrier shipping software can optimize your supply chain logistics during peak holiday shipping and beyond.