Marine Operations Made Easy With Integrated Shipping Software Solutions

International shipping presents new challenges every day. With these challenges, ship operators are constantly finding better ways to simplify every aspect of daily operations, improve efficiency, and maximize profit. Good thing, these benefits, which seemed impossible to achieve 20 years ago, are now widely available with the development of integrated shipping software.

Many ship operators and carriers find themselves dealing with high bunker costs, high charter costs, high labor costs, expensive communication between vessels and poor tracking systems. If these issues are not addressed at the right time, shipping operations become prone to encounter high losses. When any of these happens, beside the financial impact the company risks damaging its reputation and eventually loses customers.

Shipping solutions software> enables ship operators and carriers to minimize expenses and gain significant cost benefits by reducing the amount of work involved in moving cargo across international borders. This is done by automating a number of tasks that are labor-intensive and time consuming processes such as redundant data entry, inventory, documentation, invoicing, etc…

Because there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to shipping operations, shipping software companies have developed different kinds of marine software solutions with their specific intended functions. Advanced software applications for shipping such as container management software allow merchants to easily control and manage container activities across multiple vessels. This enables operators to track the status and location of containers to minimize damage or loss.

Two other important kinds of marine solutions software are Voyage estimation software which calculates the length of time it will take for each shipment to reach its destination, and voyage accounting software which can be used run calculations of transaction costs. Using these solutions, operators can rate shop between carriers, compare routes, and identify commercial options with best revenue potential. Vessel operators use these software applications to compute bunker costs, chartering costs, port costs, canal fees, and load/discharge expenses, helping them to avoid expensive routes, evade risky procedures, and ensure that deliveries are always on time.

In addition, modern carriers are also using container tracking software which is used to show the exact locations of container. Container tracking software also records transaction details such as exact times certain shipments leave the port, transshipments, and load/discharge activities. Using this software helps ensure visibility and minimize loss of consignments.

To recapitulate, shipping solutions software is the key to success in modern-day shipping. It streamlines complex processes and removes bottlenecks throughout the shipment order cycle. Most shipping software can be integrated into existing platforms and customized to best serve specific purposes.

Nowadays, shipping software can be purchased off-the-shelf at rates so reasonable considering the benefits they offer. One challenge however is finding the right shipping software company or vendors which provide reliable products and support services not judging on price alone. With right choice, vessel operators can easily and quickly make back the difference in cost and enjoy the competitive advantage they get from investing wisely.

Top Five Reasons It Makes Sense to Consider an Integrated Endicia Shipping Software Solution

Endicia is one of the oldest and most respected electronic postage providers, in competition with only a few others, which include Stamps.com and Pitney Bowes. You could say that Endicia was the original purveyor of electronic postage, a claim that their moniker makes which can be traced back to the late 80s, when founders Amine Khechfé and Scott Montgomery launched the company. By 2007, the company would be acquired by Newell Rubbermaid for an undisclosed price. Today, Endicia serves millions of customers daily, offering them a cost effective electronic postage solution that can drastically trim the price they are paying for postage. It is one of the top favored solutions for ecommerce store owners. Plenty of eCommerce shopkeepers are unaware that many of the remedial pack and ship processes they experience daily can actually be fully automated by integrating an Endicia shipping software solution. The top five reasons to consider doing so will be explained in this article for you.

Reason One: Easy Label Printing

While there are options to print shipping labels from Endicia, are they compatible with your elected shopping cart or order management system? If they are not, you could find yourself manually copying and pasting your orders in. This can equate to a large amount of time that you have to spend and can also contribute to increased order errors in the shipping process, which result in returns and dissatisfied customers, ultimately eating into your bottom line. Integrated software can talk to the Endicia API and that API of your online store to automate the shipping information to and from your shopping cart and Endicia, allowing you to easily print accurate and professional shipping labels using the electronic postage provided by Endicia.

Reason Two: Faster Pack & Ship Process

The more orders that you can fill, the happier that your customers will be. By extricating the tedious pack and ship process, as outlined in reason one, you can more accurately fill more orders each day. A software solution can allow you to better expedite your shipping process by speeding up the packing side of the process, so you can get outbound orders out the door sooner.

Reason Three: Fewer Ship Order Errors

Order errors can eat up your profits in a jiffy. When wrong items are shipped, or when items are shipped to the wrong address, they result in costly returns. What’s more is that your customers crave accurate shipping. With an integrated software powering your shipping and order fulfillment process, you can fill more orders more accurately. Furthermore, the best solutions have error flaggers that will find and flag order errors before your shipments are sent out.

Reason Four: Less Time Consuming Status Updates

Your customers need to know when their orders have been shipped. If Endicia can’t talk to your API (in your shopping cart or order management system), then the ship statuses have to be updated manually. Software, however, can automate this process and updated ship statuses, amend or add comments and even send automated tracking numbers to customers once the orders have been shipped out.

Reason Five: More Integrated Order Fulfillment & Management

A good software solution will do more than just talk to your Endicia account and your shopping cart; it will also talk to any order management system that you have in place. This means that you can run multiple stores, for example, and still retain an accurate inventory as the orders are fulfilled in real time. This can eliminate the costs of a fulfillment house while empowering you to take full command of your order and fulfillment processes.

Why Choose Outsourced Over In-House Shipping Software Solution

Over the past two decades, automation of business processes has significantly increased in many industries including aviation, telecommunications, and banking. In shipping, automation has improved business efficiency by simplifying critical operations that require time and expertise. Nowadays, with increasing access to modern technology, it’s not unusual to find a small carrier using cheap off-the-shelf shipping software solutions to streamline and manage its core operations more efficiently. However, there are still quite a number of carriers who prefer bespoke IT systems despite the availability of much cheaper packaged solutions.

There are certain factors that motivate shipping business operators to develop their own IT systems in-house instead of buying cheaper off-the-shelf solutions. One of these is the advantage of having full control of the development processes which allows users to make specific improvements to the original platform as necessary. In addition, In-house platforms have been tailored to exact specifications, which is believed to deliver competitive advantage.

However, while bespoke systems offer full control of operation-specific features, they also require skilled IT staff and programmers to implement necessary upgrades. The fact that technology is rapidly changing means that IT platforms date and become unsupportable after a while. If a shipping business cannot keep up with the pace of change, it will find itself stuck with an obsolete technology which cannot support newer IT platforms. In addition, investing in a customized platform to automate only a single segment of shipping operation (e.g. a single segment of a terminal), is not worth the cost of the investment, which is significantly higher than buying off-the-shelf shipping software which can be customized to carry out various functions.

The following are some of the most prominent benefits of using off-the-shelf or packaged shipping software:

1. Price. Buying packaged software is calculated to be 10 to 50 times cheaper compared to developing an in-house IT system.

2. Flexibility. Modern packaged shipping software incorporate built-in switching options which allows operators to customize application to perform various tasks without doing any expensive reprogramming.

3. Upgrade options – Packaged software provides upgrade solutions to keep pace with fast changes in technology to make sure that users are always working from tried and tested, up-to-date, and well-supported platforms.

4. Guarantee. Customized or in-house systems do not offer test-runs prior to installation, and the end-product is not revealed until it has been delivered. Off-the-shelf solution allows you to use a system for a certain period to see if it delivers what you expect before you actually buy and install it into your existing IT infrastructure.

5. Efficiency. Packaged solutions are more cost-effective, require less resources, and deliver long-term solutions that can be customized to handle specific requirements of a shipping business.

While off-the-shelf shipping software offer a lot more benefits both in cost of investment and scope of features, accessibility to technology has significantly increased the number of software developers in the marketplace, many of which are not reputable. Carriers should be careful in choosing a supplier by checking their capability, reliability, and financial stability. After all, it’s not wise to buy from a company who’s not going to be around after two or three years, leaving you without support in a case of system failure.