If you missed Part 1 of this article, you can access it here.
Here are questions to ask about your existing shipping technology:

· How old is it? If you answered five years or more it's an antique! I advise you to consider replacing it because there's a good chance you're losing a lot of money by keeping it.
· Did the carrier provide it to you for free or did you select it based on its ability to improve processes, save time and make a profit for your company? If your carrier provided it free that means it helps their profits, not yours.
· Can it compare the lowest cost carrier and class of service automatically so you can save money each time you ship while achieving the desired delivery objective? Without this capability you are paying too much to ship!
· Does it validate the deliverability of each shipment to reduce the risk of it being returned or not being delivered on time? This happens more than you may realize and each time, it can be very costly.
· Will it display all of the fees such as residential and other accessorial charges that will appear later on your invoice before you ship? Without this it's difficult to accurately charge your customers for shipping correctly.
· Is international shipping handled by a separate department due to complex compliance rules and documentation requirements? New TMS technology eliminates the need to process International shipments separately from domestic shipments assuring compliance and saving space, time and money.
· Does it compare the expected charges (at the point of shipping) to the invoice to make sure you are getting charged properly? This is a huge mistake most companies make - they do not compare expected vs. actual and this could be costing your company.
· Is the system you are using designed to save your company money or increase profits for your preferred carrier? If you have to ask, you probably now know the answer. Carriers are trying to increase their profits, that's their job.
If you answered no to any of the questions above, perhaps it's time to consider a multi-carrier shipping system. I know how painful it can be to change what you are using now, but if you want to get un-confused and lower your shipping costs it's time to make a move. Okay, so I know what you are probably thinking;

· "I evaluated our shipping options last year and that decision saved us 30%, so we're already saving enough?"
· "I don't have the time"
· "There's no way I can save more money - my carrier rep. told me I'm a Preferred' customer and only GE pays less than we do".
· "The carrier-provided technology is free so why buy a multi-carrier shipping solution when we will have to pay for it?"
· "Our #1 concern is sales and marketing, shipping decisions are left up to the people in our shipping department?"
· "I need another project like I need another hole in the head"

These are the reasons many of you will end up paying your carrier(s) 15 - 30% more than you need to!
A multi-carrier shipping system no longer requires a lengthy and expensive installation process. There are hosted and on-premise solutions that can be deployed very inexpensively and with a big payback.

Here are some of the benefits of an innovative multi-carrier shipping solution:

· Finds the lowest cost carrier / class of service electronically that saves you the most money. This works similar to how Expedia and Orbitz work to find the lowest airfare.
· Validates the delivery address to make sure the package will be delivered on time.
· Lets you know the fees the carrier will charge in advance of shipping so you can charge back your customers the accurate amount.
· Installation is measured in hours/days vs. months
· Exposes carrier fees before you ship so you know the cost that will appear on your invoice
· Improves shipping processes - saves time
· Saves space (one system vs. many)
· Contract rates reduced by 15% (when a carrier knows it's easy to switch, the rates you receive from them have to be the most competitive)
· Saves money especially if you ship lightweight product to residences, by incorporating the USPS with tracking and internet postage
· Address Validation - the fees for incorrectly addressing a parcel have skyrocketed. A good system will not let you ship unless the address is deliverable.
· Lower overall shipping costs

Overall, a multi-carrier shipping system will help de-mystify shipping rates, fight "Confusopolies" and help your company Ship Better and Save Money. I hope you will reach out to a logistics professional today!

Jim LeRose - known in the industry as "TheFreightSpendAssassin" is Principal of Agile NYC Metro, President of Advantaship.com - a shippers savings club and has been a transportation industry consultant for 25 years. His clients have saved millions on transportation costs. Agile has helped companies such as JP Morgan, Audiovox, Intuitive Surgical, Panasonic Electric, Petco and over 1,000 others. Jim welcomes your comments and can be reached at jim.lerose@agile-network.com jim.lerose@advantaship.com or @888.214.1763