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How to Manage Surges in Shipping Volume Like a Pro The right tools, strategies, and partners help make shipping and receiving a lot easier, no matter the volume.


Whether your business experiences a burst of activity over the holiday season, during a new product launch, or general demand increases as your business scales, predicting and managing surges in shipping and receiving is critical to keep business goals and spend on track.

Being caught unprepared by a surge in orders and shipping volume can result in varying levels of chaos for a business, no matter if it's small or large. Here, Michael Botti, Senior Director of Product Marketing at Pitney Bowes, shares important details that operations managers and directors need to account for when dealing with increased shipping and receiving volumes.

Plan ahead.

While some shipping surges might be unpredictable, it's still important to plan ahead to get in front of any potential issues before they become major last-minute disruptors.

To help mitigate future issues, Botti suggests that operational managers work closely with their peers in other departments, such as marketing, finance, and accounting, to help forecast outbound shipping volumes for the near future. "This will help operations plan and hire staff to support foreseeable increases in volumes, as well as research solutions that could help boost efficiency. The more communication that takes place with stakeholders, the more prepared operations will be to handle surges in shipping volumes," Botti says.

It can also be beneficial for business planning to forge a relationship with external carriers. "Working with carriers to understand lead times on packages and shipments in the event of a surge can help companies better set recipient expectations," Botti says. "And working through a shipping solution provider, such as Pitney Bowes, to secure space on carrier transport can also help offset any negative impact from unforeseen increases in volumes," Botti explains.

Identify where you can introduce automation.

The introduction of automation can not only save time with repeated processes, but it can also reduce the chance for error. For example, in the case of shipping, an incorrect weight or improper postage could result in major delays or overspend that can impact your business's bottom line. This can be especially troublesome during periods of high volume.

"Over time, these issues can add up to be very costly and ultimately impact your company's brand and reputation," Botti explains. "It may only be one shipment or package out of a hundred that's impacted, but that still leaves an impression on the recipient. To make sure you're providing a first-class shipping and delivery experience, it's important to find ways to automate routine tasks as much as possible to reduce the number of potential errors that could occur."

Automation in this case might look like introducing a mailing software or addressing equipment and printers to cut down on time and human error in the event of a shipping surge. Pitney Bowes offers a wide range of shipping and mailing solutions that can streamline and automate daily processes so your business can save both time and money during a surge, including automated postage meters, letter folders, stuffers, and address printers, which can, for example, label up to 30,000 pieces of mail per hour. With Pitney Bowes mailing software, you can also track sending and receiving volumes in real-time with accurate data to help you visualize how automation is improving your overall performance and keeping customers satisfied.

Consider multi-carrier solutions.

Having multi-carrier relationships is key to managing large shipping volumes, Botti says. "If issues arise with one carrier's service, you can quickly shift your outbound volume to another carrier with minimal disruption," he says. "That's key to ensuring your meeting commitments and expectations."

In other words, diversification is a good thing. If your business is tied to only one logistics company, you might run into serious delays trying to find an alternative in the event of carrier-issues during a surge.

Fortunately, Pitney Bowes has more than 100 years of experience working with shipping providers such as USPS, UPS, and FedEx. "Our expertise allows us to help clients navigate the challenges of working directly with carriers to handle shipments. We also offer carrier discounts on both shipping rates and fees that are not available to the public, allowing you to reduce costs at rates you might not have been able to otherwise," Botti adds.

Click here to learn more about how Pitney Bowes can help your business fulfill all its shipping and receiving needs.