As the pandemic demonstrated all too clearly, supply chain disruptions have the power to limit business growth, boost uncertainty, and create shipping chaos. And the truth is, supply chain disruptions happen all the time. The pandemic just intensified them and threw a harsh spotlight on the uncertainty they cause.
Supply chain disruptions need to be treated as a constant challenge. This makes it all the more important for small and midsized businesses (SMBs) to have clear processes in place to maintain an even keel no matter what gets tossed their way. This is especially true for SMBs that ship products to customers or vendors.
So these businesses can prepare for the unexpected, we recently partnered with 3G Pacejet to produce an on-demand webinar designed to help distributors, retailers, and manufacturers learn how to automate and streamline shipping processes, gain clear data insights, and remain stable despite a fluctuating supply chain. We’ll cover some highlights from that webinar today.
Common Shipping Concerns and Mistakes
Today’s distributors, retailers, and manufacturers face many shipping challenges that are beyond their control. These include:
- Unstable fuel costs – Occasionally fuel costs drop, but, most often, they increase, and prices vary from region to region. Businesses have to budget for this instability, which can be difficult to predict.
- Global unrest – Sadly, the world is full of conflict, and, as fresh contentions boil up, they spell disruption for the economy and its global supply chains. SMBs, especially those that ship across borders, may feel caught in the middle.
- Inflation – For growing companies to thrive, they have to accurately predict expenses and allocate resources. Inflation can upend this process—spreading volatility, increasing the cost of every component in the supply chain, and making predictions difficult.
- Skilled labor shortages and growing unemployment – In 2022 and 2023, the U.S. experienced “The Great Resignation” or, as the S. Chamber of Commerce calls it, “The Great Reshuffle.” Millions of employees resigned from their jobs and transitioned to other roles “in search of an improved work-life balance.” Employees are looking for stability, but, without the skilled labor they need, SMBs may find it difficult to supply that stability.
- Changes in documentation and compliance requirements – Companies that ship goods have to comply with specific governmental requirements for domestic and international shipments and for imports and exports. They also have to comply with labeling, packaging, and shipment guidelines set out by their own customers or vendors—especially if they dropship goods on behalf of other companies. These requirements are subject to change, and businesses must be prepared to meet them no matter how they fluctuate.
Such external forces shape the ways SMBs operate, but how these concerns are internally managed can make or break a business. When navigating the ups and downs of modern shipping, companies tend to make several common mistakes.
- They rely on error-prone, manual processes, like spreadsheets or even paper-based work, to keep up with customer data, budget items, regulations, and shipping requirements.
- They use disconnected applications for shipping, accounting, and other business management needs—creating gaps in operations and causing users to fall back on those error-prone, manual workarounds.
- They use one-off carrier systems rather than an integrated software suite that holds all data in one place and creates streamlined shipments for every carrier, every time.
These mistakes can quickly compound into costly issues. You may ship things late or ship the wrong items to the wrong addresses—leading to returns, dissatisfied customers, and higher shipping rates for expedited orders. You may pick the wrong items, package them incorrectly, and accidentally be out of compliance with regulatory requirements—leading to unnecessary non-compliance fees. You may become accustomed to shipping things one way, forget to rate shop, and not know that you could save time and money by shipping with another carrier.
But all these concerns can be addressed and these mistakes avoided with the right technology.
Shipping with Acumatica and 3G Pacejet
Acumatica Cloud ERP is a modern business management system purposely built to connect your entire organization and put data and information at your fingertips. And 3G Pacejet Shipping, integrated with Acumatica, is designed to set your business up for whatever lies ahead and help you become your customers’ source of certainty. In combination, Acumatica and 3G Pacejet provide:
- Powerful automation – Make error-prone, manual processes a thing of the past and forge the stability both employees and companies crave. You can customize Acumatica and 3G Pacejet workflows to automate routine picking, packing, putting away, counting, and more. With streamlined serial and lot number tracking, the software also eliminates shipping and labeling mistakes, so you can rest assured that your customers will receive what they order on time and that your business will remain compliant with retail and regulatory requirements.
- A connected system – Because 3G Pacejet Shipping is fully integrated with Acumatica, the applications communicate with each other in real time. So, there is no siloed data, no missing or delayed information, and no breakdown in data sharing between team members companywide. Everyone has the information they need to do their jobs—anytime, anywhere.
- Streamlined order fulfillment – Omnichannel commerce means orders may come to you in many different ways—online, in-store, by phone, through an app, via sales reps, and so on. The combined power of Acumatica and 3G Pacejet removes the confusion from omnichannel intricacies. No matter where an order comes from, it will flow smoothly into your warehouse, giving your teams a base of organized, precise information. The system will then help you move each order from picking and packing to scheduling and shipping like clockwork.
- Accurate financials – When you can see all your business data at a glance in your ERP system, you can make accurate forecasts based on real financial data and budget for the unexpected. You can also rate shop through 3G Pacejet’s large, broad carrier network—finding the best shipping prices, speeds, and packaging options for your company and your customers.
- Business insights – Acumatica and 3G Pacejet provide a real-time, 360° view of your organization, so you can quickly and easily see the health of your business and explore opportunities for expansion.
The Bottom Line
Every company that ships goods has to face the ups and downs of supply chain disruptions and shipping challenges.
Every company needs the right technology to help them overcome those challenges, avoid costly mistakes, and grow on their own terms.
Acumatica and 3G Pacejet can provide all this and more.
Watch the full webinar, “Streamlined Shipments: Why Acumatica and 3G Pacejet are an Essential Combination for Distributors, Retailers, and Manufacturers,” to learn more about Acumatica’s configuration options, explore native Acumatica shipping features, and experience a deep-dive 3G Pacejet demo showcasing how you can put the platform to work for your business.