Online retailers need to take steps now to avoid widespread shipping delays in the final days of the holiday season. Many of the factors that contributed to the delivery delays that plagued retailers in 2013 are present again this year.
Atlanta, Georgia (PRWEB) September 04, 2014
NPI, a leading spend management consulting firm, advises online retailers to take steps now to avoid widespread shipping delays in the final days of the holiday season. Many of the factors that contributed to the delivery delays that plagued retailers in December 2013 are present again this year, including tight capacity and a condensed holiday shopping season. As the industry’s top carriers take action to mitigate this risk, NPI advises shippers to take steps of their own.
“Inclement weather was only one factor that caused shipping delays during last year’s holiday retail season. The timing of the last day to ship, tight carrier capacity and a shorter-than-average shopping season all played a role, and these same factors will be in play this year. Shippers need to take matters into their own hands to make sure a repeat doesn’t occur,” said Jon Winsett, CEO of NPI.
NPI’s recent advisory bulletin suggests shippers take the following actions to protect margin and customer satisfaction:
- Bring regional carriers into the mix. Many regional carriers offer comparable service levels to large carriers like UPS and FedEx for a lesser cost. At a minimum, shippers should create a contingency plan that leverages regional carriers in the last shipping days of the holiday season. This means acting now to make sure supply chain systems (e.g. WMS) are capable of taking on another carrier.
- Explore hybrid delivery options. Major carriers like UPS, FedEx and DHL offer hybrid shipping services that use the U.S. Postal Service for last-mile delivery. These services have proven to be timely, less costly and a way to diversify retailers’ mix of shipping options for lower risk.
- Make sure Guaranteed Service Refunds are included in carrier contracts. Some shippers waive Guaranteed Service Refunds (GSRs) in exchange for more competitive discounts. NPI advises affected retailers to consider getting rid of the waiver in their agreement.
- Take a collaborative approach to network planning. Retailers should keep carrier(s) apprised of big promotions, such as bargain sales or free shipping. This will allow both retailer and carrier to tweak network planning throughout the holiday season.
- Make the last day of shipping earlier. Expect carriers to be overburdened with volume in the days leading up to Christmas – the risk for a repeat of 2013’s holiday season is high. Retailers can mitigate this risk by moving their last day of shipping for on-time delivery to December 22nd rather than December 23rd.
More information is provided in NPI’s recent advisory note, “5 Actions Retailers Need to Take Now to Avoid Holiday Shipping Delays.” The advisory note is available on NPI’s website at http://bit.ly/XAYxn9.
For more information on NPI’s retail spend management services, please visit “How NPI Helps Retailers Cut Costs.”
NPI is a spend management consulting firm that protects companies from overspending in specific cost categories – information technology, telecommunication and transportation. Using a combination of market experts, proprietary methodologies and extensive data, NPI ensures that prices and terms are best-in-class. Reviewing more than 14,000 purchases annually, NPI provides objective oversight for billions of dollars of strategic spend for its clients. To learn more about how NPI can help your company start saving today, visit http://www.npifinancial.com or call 404-591-7500.