Unforced Errors in Shipping. Say “No” to Nuisance Fees

Category: Articles

From parking tickets to library fines, nobody likes penalties! Unfortunately, those who ship goods are all too familiar with them even though many are entirely avoidable.

There are many different kinds of penalties in shipping, levied by carriers, customers, and regulators. Frustratingly, you can do everything right, to the best of your abilities, and still be hit with these same fees time and again. Well, it’s time to stop the nuisance fees and eliminate the unforced errors that trigger them in the first place. Today, we’ll learn a little more about the different types, and the tools that prevent them in the first place: 

  • Carriers: Labeling errors can be costly
  • Customers: There’s more than customer service at stake
  • Regulators: The financial dangers of mislabeled hazmat

Carrier penalties: When printing shipping labels, and transmitting information to carriers, it is important for it to be exact. A powerful system like Acumatica, when used to manage order entry and processing, is excellent at capturing this data and disseminating it to the people and systems that need it. But even the slightest error (a single-digit typo; forgetting to request residential delivery) can make the information “wrong” to your carrier partner. When noticed, that carrier will happily correct the error… for a fee, of course. On some items, especially with multiple boxes, that fee can exceed not only your profit margin but even the order value!

That’s why it is so important to utilize some form of address validation. With software in place to verify the correctness of addresses, including types (business, residence, etc.) these fines can all but vanish as you manage to correct the errors prior to shipment. And, even better, a system with a strong enough Acumatica connection can write that data back to the ERP for future use.

Customer chargebacks. If you are a manufacturer or distributor shipping to large retail trading partners, you are already familiar with the complexities of retail compliance (which we’ve discussed in depth on this webinar). If it’s early, if it’s late, or if it’s wrong (items or information), guess what? Penalty time! But aren’t some mistakes or mishaps simply unavoidable? Nope!

The right shipping software can equip you with tools like scan-to-pack, which is not only faster, but has a 99.9% accuracy rate that lets you be certain you are sending the right items. That same software can also help determine the optimal carriers to use in order to ensure that the order arrives within the compliance window. Those with more sophisticated operations can also utilize the automation of GS1 label creation. In fact, with Acumatica, there are opportunities to connect into EDI providers (like SPS Commerce) to automate even more of the Advanced Shipment Notice process. 

Regulatory fines. When we think of hazardous materials and dangerous goods, chances are we are overlooking dozens – even hundreds – of items considered such by the U.S. government. They might not seem sinister, but if not properly labeled, not only can they potentially cause damage, but they will incur steep penalties. Unfortunately, even minor errors on complex paperwork can be perceived as noncompliance and if it happens across a high volume of shipments, those penalties can add up. 

Besides keeping public safety in mind, the penalties associated with improperly preparing hazardous or dangerous shipments are enough to warrant finding a permanent solution. With the right shipping software, you can ship those hazardous or dangerous goods and automate the paperwork process to accomplish two things: reducing the time needed to fill in the forms, and all but eliminating the likelihood of them being filled in erroneously. 

While some things are just “costs of doing business” penalties need not be among them. When shipping from Acumatica, consider shipping software add-ons that substantially reduce – in fact, all but eliminate – the unforced errors resulting in substantial penalties. After all, Acumatica users are all about investing in their businesses, not seeing their dollars fly out the door without adding value. 

Want to learn the specifics of eliminating costly penalties with shipping software? Click here to contact us today!