Taking Your 3PL Beyond TMS Basics

Every 3PL has similar objectives: Win more of their customers’ freight; become an increasingly important business partner to each customer; and be able to handle as many customers as they’re able to win. What’s one common element to achieving all three? The TMS, and its ability to move a 3PL (and its freight) beyond the basics.  

What does “beyond TMS basics” mean? 

Most TMS products stay within “basic” territory for one of two reasons: they handle multiple operations, but only at the most surface level, or they are very narrowly focused on one specific kind aspect of transportation. Going beyond the basics means plugging gaps – either advancing operations beyond what a surface level TMS can handle or consolidating all operations in one place. Only moving beyond the basics, with a single TMS, will enable a 3PL to meet its core objectives. 

Winning more freight 

What’s one of the biggest impediments to winning all of your current customers’ freight? How about breadth and depth of managed services supported by your TMS. After all, it’s difficult to win that which your system isn’t set up to manage. Many customers’ needs span multiple over the road modes, and while many TMS offerings cover LTL and even TL, few feature parcel or drayage, and almost none include all four – which may well be necessary to winning all of their shipments. Shipper loads will also vary in their complexity, and certain loads will not be manageable without advanced planning and optimization algorithms. 

Becoming a key partner 

The more integral a partner you become, the less you have to worry about competitors swooping in and winning away your customers. Many customers today look to 3PL partners not only to provide transportation services, but technology access, too. Offering a sufficient number of services is absolutely key to winning every load today, but being that technology partner requires consolidation around a single TMS for two reasons. First is the ability to integrate, and share data, with customers’ systems. Second, it is essential to provide customer access via portals, as many want to be able to self-manage certain aspects of transportation. These advanced TMS features help cement your position as an indispensable partner well into the future. 

Never turning away business 

Nobody ever wants to turn away business because they lack the capacity to service additional accounts, but each team member can only handle so much. However, the amount each person is able to manage is highly dependent on the tools they are using and their ability to automate multiple workflows. The more basic the technology, the less “scalable” each person is. Learning multiple systems, constantly switching back and forth between them, and frequent manual intervention take time. Adding additional headcount, too, is often neither feasible nor sustainable. The only answer is enhancing the human-technology partnership through the greatest possible degree of automation. 

So, what’s next? 

Are you nodding along, saying: “Yup, that’s exactly what we’re trying to do,” while realizing that maybe it’s your TMS holding you back? Join us for an upcoming webinar in which we will discuss the need to move “beyond TMS basics” when it comes to your 3PL. Plus, we’ll demonstrate three modules only found together in 3G’s TMS that will help you do just that.  

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3 Reasons to Add a 3PL to Your Parcel and LTL Shipping Software

3PL Parcel Shipping

According to reports from multiple analysts and transportation industry groups, freight capacity challenges are expected to continue.

Driven by continuing economic growth, a persistent driver shortage, and despite surging inflation, most industry observers expect more capacity limits, fuel surcharge increases above 20%, and the likelihood of rate increases. Now may be a good time to consider partnering with a 3PL service for many shippers facing these unusual market conditions. With 3G Pacejet Shipping, you can activate a 3PL directly within the platform for streamlined rating and shipping execution.

Read on to learn about three key reasons to add a 3PL to your shipping operations, along with a few ideas on how Pacejet can help.


Reason #1: Save 15% or More with Lower LTL Rates

Lower shipping rates are one of the most compelling reasons to add a 3PL to your multi-carrier shipping mix. Finding the right 3PL relationship can help small and midsize shippers leverage 3PL pricing power to reduce freight costs significantly. Conflicts with direct LTL carrier relationships and demands for committed volumes are typical complications that shippers navigate. However, finding a way to add a 3PL to cover even a fraction of overall shipping volume can generate savings of 15% or more for many shippers.


This sample from the Pacejet Shipment Savings report showcases how 3PL services can operate as part of your complete multi-carrier parcel and LTL fulfillment, and includes a 15% savings example from using a 3PL services versus a direct LTL carrier.

Reason #2: Offer 10x More Shipping Choices to Back Better Customer Service

For growing businesses, one good 3PL relationship can bring access to many more freight choices than are otherwise manageable by a small team. The extra carrier options deliver more flexibility and better abilities to scale. For example, a shipper could add a large new consumer furniture product to their offering and suddenly find themself in need of better residential delivery. Or an outdoor lifestyle brand might develop a popular new premium outdoor grilling product, and customers may suddenly demand white glove delivery to unpack their fancy new grill. With a 3PL service added to your multi-carrier shipping mix, offering new customer services can be faster and more scalable since you do not have to ramp up a new carrier relationship.

Reason #3: Scale-Up Faster as Your Products, Customers, and Market Evolve

Broad service coverage is another strength offered by many 3PL services. For example, BlueGrace is a 3PL that promotes more than 300 freight choices as part of their LTL services network. Echo Logistics is another provider with more than 120 options, and World Wide Express has more than 70 LTL options. These types of freight options are important as your business adds new products, more diverse groups of customers, and broader distribution coverage. You may not have the time, expertise, or capital to expand your carrier network, and for small and growing businesses alike, having a 3PL service available can be helpful to automatically audit and recover billing errors, launch distribution in new markets, manage uncertain capacity, or test out services before your teams are ready to take on direct responsibility.

Start Simple and Measure Performance as You Grow

The Pacejet carrier network makes more than 1,000 LTL freight options available to your operations with more than 16 3PL services. Each 3PL service connection can make hundreds of LTL freight options accessible, allowing your team to rate and ship through a 3PL service as easily as you would with a direct LTL relationship. As a best practice, we recommend customers take a simple step by activating a 3PL with rate-shopping turned on and using the shipment savings report to monitor margins as part of regular 3PL performance reviews.


The Pacejet Rate & Ship page shown here illustrates how 3PL services can operate as a seamless part of your multi-carrier parcel and freight fulfillment process. Pacejet connections with 3PLs provide dynamic access to many LTL freight services determined by the contract terms and carrier coverage rules defined in your 3PL contract.

Ready to add a 3PL provider to Your Shipping Operations?

Do you want to experience LTL freight savings, more shipping choices, and better abilities to scale? Whether you already use Pacejet or think Pacejet’s 3PL connections may help your business grow, get in touch with us.

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What Does A Post-Kuebix World Look Like?

And other frequently asked questions about the pending sunsetting

If you are one of the many businesses about to lose access to the Kuebix TMS – either due to its 2025 shutdown or current contract nonrenewal – many unanswered questions likely remain. And you certainly aren’t alone. For that reason, we thought we’d share the most frequently asked questions we hear when speaking with manufacturers and distributors facing this exact predicament, as well as our answers to them: 

Q: How does the 3G system compare to Kuebix in terms of features and usability?  

A: The short answer is: 3G provides a TMS matching the features of the Kuebix system and provides comprehensive implementation support to get users up, running, and acclimated quickly.  

The longer answer is: The 3G suite goes well beyond Kuebix in terms of available features, but the majority remain optional, and can be added at any time. The system will not be overwhelming for anyone satisfied with Kuebix, but will also provide runway for those already concerned about the ability to grow with their current system (prior to the shutdown announcement). 

Q: What does implementation look like, in terms of cost and time commitment?  

A: Every implementation is different. But, with that disclaimer out of the way, we can confidently say that we’ve gotten Kuebix customers up and running in as little as four weeks! We are also currently offering an implementation special for any customers migrating onto 3G, which we’d love to tell you about.  

Q: What about ERP connectivity, can 3G do that, and if so, for what systems? 

A: 3G can integrate its TMS with virtually any ERP. The level of integration will largely depend on the specific needs. However, within the realm of our pack-and-ship software (for those specifically looking for this functionality), pre-built integrations already exist for leading ERP platforms (including NetSuite, Acumatica, Dynamics F&O, Sage X3, IFS, and InforCSI).  

Q: You mentioned packing and shipping software, how does that fit with a TMS? 

A: For some businesses, this is an extension of a TMS being used for planning, routing, optimization, contract management, and spot market procurement. For others, it is the TMS due to their specific shipping patterns. In either case, it automates additional shipment workflows within the warehouse around rate shopping, label & document creation, retail compliance, and parcel shipping. For anyone shipping goods it is an option available on its own or as part of a larger suite. 

Q: What does support look like, and will it (and the system!) always be there? 

A: Our in-house, US-based support team has one reason for existing: our customers’ current and future success with our software. Some skepticism is understandable, given the circumstances, but we will never let customers fail. With centuries of combined experience across our teams, and over 1,000 unique customers, we’ll gladly repeat that obvious, groan-inducing industry cliché: “We’re here for the long haul!” 

Got other questions about the pending Kuebix shutdown and your options? Not sure how one solution really compares to another? Let’s discuss!

Dedication to customers begins well before they ever sign with us, and we’ll happily answer all of your questions, whether or not 3G is ultimately the right fit for your business. Check out our resources for customers migrating off of Kuebix for more information. 

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The Versatility of Multi-Carrier Shipping

An In-Depth Guide

The Versatility of Multi-Carrier Shipping: An In-Depth Guide

Multi carrier shipping distribution center

In the dynamic world of modern logistics, shipping has evolved into a pivotal aspect of business operations. Whether you’re delivering products to customers or distributing goods to retailers, the efficient and cost-effective transportation of goods is paramount. Multi-carrier shipping software has emerged as a strategic approach that offers flexibility, optimization, and the invaluable capability of comparative rate shopping – adopted by leading companies across a wide range of industries. 

This comprehensive guide untangles the web of multi-carrier shipping software, introducing its mechanisms, advantages, and implementation strategies.

Whether you’re a logistics manager, a supply chain professional, or an executive taking an active interest in the perpetual health of your business, this guide will provide valuable insights into the transformative potential of multi-carrier shipping. 

Understanding Multi-Carrier Shipping & Costs

What Is Multi-Carrier Shipping? 

At its core, multi-carrier shipping is a logistics strategy that leverages a more diverse base of transportation carriers to facilitate the movement of goods. Instead of relying exclusively on one carrier for all shipping requirements, businesses opt to engage multiple carriers, encompassing both national and regional options, to transport their cargo. 

The Mechanics of Multi-Carrier Shipping Software

Multi-carrier shipping thrives on the principles of adaptability, choice, and comparative rate shopping. It empowers businesses to select carriers based on a spectrum of factors, including the size of packages, delivery destinations, preferred shipping speeds, and budget considerations. Instead of cultivating individual relationships with each carrier, businesses employ multi-carrier shipping solutions to efficiently manage and optimize these carrier relationships. 

The Benefits of Multi-Carrier Shipping Software

business, plan, report

1. Diverse Industry Applications 

Multi-carrier shipping software offers versatility across various industries, not just limited to e-commerce. Whether you’re in manufacturing, distribution, or retail, this strategy provides a means to streamline shipping operations, reduce costs, and engage in comparative rate shopping. 

2. Enhanced Supply Chain Resilience 

Multi-carrier shipping enhances the resilience of supply chains. By diversifying carrier options, businesses can mitigate risks associated with carrier disruptions, ensuring continuity in their operations while effectively performing comparative rate shopping. 

3. Cost Optimization and Comparative Rate Shopping 

One of the primary advantages of multi-carrier shipping is cost optimization and the ability to engage in comparative rate shopping. Leveraging multiple carriers allows businesses to secure competitive rates based on specific shipment attributes, leading to substantial long-term cost savings through effective comparative rate shopping. 

4. Adapting to Seasonal Variations 

For businesses affected by seasonal fluctuations in demand, multi-carrier shipping offers a flexible approach to handle peak periods efficiently. You can seamlessly adapt to surges in orders without compromising customer satisfaction through effective comparative rate shopping. 

5. Geographical Flexibility 

Multi-carrier shipping accommodates businesses with diverse geographical needs. Whether you’re shipping locally, nationally, or internationally, you can select carriers tailored to the specific regions you serve while engaging in comparative rate shopping. 

6. Improved Customer Satisfaction 

Satisfied customers are the backbone of any business. Multi-carrier shipping enables you to select carriers known for their reliability and timely deliveries, contributing to enhanced customer satisfaction, aided by comparative rate shopping. 

Implementing Multi-Carrier Shipping

Implementing a multi-carrier shipping system

Choosing the Right Multi-Carrier Solution 

Selecting the appropriate multi-carrier shipping solution is pivotal to reaping its benefits, especially in terms of comparative rate shopping. Consider factors such as ease of integration, tracking capabilities, address verification, and shipping insurance. A comprehensive solution simplifies shipping operations, bolsters customer satisfaction, and facilitates comparative rate shopping. 

Analyzing Carrier Mix 

Successful implementation of multi-carrier shipping necessitates a thorough analysis of your carrier mix. Take into account package volume, delivery destinations, and time-sensitive shipments when determining which carriers to include in your mix, essential for effective comparative rate shopping. 

Integrating Multi-Carrier Software 

Once carriers are selected, integrating multi-carrier shipping software into your operations streamlines the process. These software solutions provide a centralized platform for managing carrier relationships, comparing rates, generating labels, and tracking shipments—crucial for comparative rate shopping. 

Staff Training and Education 

Properly training and educating your staff members are essential components of a smooth transition to multi-carrier shipping. Ensuring that your team comprehends how to utilize the chosen software, adhere to shipping guidelines, and engage in comparative rate shopping is crucial for success. 

Common Misconceptions About Multi-Carrier Shipping and Costs

1. Complexity 

Some businesses fear that managing multiple carriers will be overly complex. While there is a learning curve involved, modern multi-carrier shipping software solutions simplify the process, making it accessible even to smaller enterprises, enabling effective comparative rate shopping. 

2. Shipping Cost 

Contrary to the misconception that multi-carrier shipping is cost-prohibitive, it often leads to significantly lower shipping costs over time. By optimizing carrier choices based on individual shipments and engaging in comparative rate shopping, businesses can reduce their shipping expenses effectively. 

3. Limited Carrier Choice 

Multi-carrier shipping provides a wide range of carrier options, including regional carriers with specialized services. The strategy is not limited to a select few major carriers, offering ample choices for comparative rate shopping. 

4. Integration Challenges 

Integration is a common concern, but modern multi-carrier shipping systems are designed to streamline the process, making it faster and more straightforward than ever before, simplifying the practice of comparative rate shopping. 

Multi-Carrier Shipping in Action

1. Manufacturing and Distribution 

Manufacturing and distribution industries benefit from a multi-carrier shipping system by optimizing their supply chain operations, reducing costs, and ensuring timely deliveries of raw materials and finished products through effective comparative rate shopping. 

2. Retail 

In the retail sector, multi-carrier shipping enables businesses to efficiently manage inventory distribution, serve online and brick-and-mortar customers, and adapt to seasonal shopping trends while engaging in comparative rate shopping. 

3. Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals 

For industries with strict compliance and delivery requirements, such as healthcare and pharmaceuticals, multi-carrier shipping software ensures secure, timely, and compliant deliveries of critical supplies and medications, supported by comparative rate shopping. 

4. Food and Grocery 

The food and grocery industry utilizes multi-carrier shipping to manage temperature-sensitive shipments, optimize distribution networks, and meet the growing demand for online grocery shopping, with the added benefit of effective comparative rate shopping. 

The Future of Multi-Carrier Shipping Software

As logistics continues to evolve, multi-carrier shipping is poised for a promising future. The strategy is expected to expand with the introduction of more carrier options, the integration of artificial intelligence for enhanced efficiency, and the development of eco-friendly shipping solutions to reduce environmental impacts while further advancing comparative rate shopping. 


Multi-carrier shipping transcends the boundaries of a full multi carrier shipping operations strategy; it’s a versatile logistics approach that offers adaptability, cost-efficiency, and resilience across a spectrum of industries, enriched by the practice of comparative rate shopping.

By understanding the mechanics, benefits, and implementation of multi-carrier shipping, businesses can unlock the full potential of this transformative approach and position themselves at the forefront of modern logistics. Embrace the versatility of multi-carrier shipping software, engage in effective comparative rate shopping, and elevate your shipping operations to new heights, regardless of your industry or shipping needs. 

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IF your software isn’t Multi-Carrier…

then it isn’t worth ship

Multi-Carrier Shipping

Let’s discuss all things multi-carrier shipping, what it means, why it’s of vital importance, and why, if your software doesn’t do it, it isn’t worth a ship!

In the following blog post, we’ll look at key terms, capabilities, and outcomes associated with multi-carrier shipping and answer some very important questions:

Multi-carrier shipping solutions

In its most basic form, multi-carrier shipping refers to shipping goods using more than one carrier.

A manufacturer who ships everything via Carrier A is a single-carrier shipper. A distributor using Carrier A and Carrier B utilizes multi-carrier shipping. Simple enough, right? Far from! Multi-carrier shipping comes in degrees, and is a direct result of how comprehensive a shipper’s carrier strategy really is.

It’s more than just “parcel goes UPS; LTL goes Old Dominion” and involves careful consideration of matching shipments, modes, services, and carrier options. There will often be a mix of parcel carriers & freight carriers; regional carriers & national carriers; and multiple carriers able to cover the most important supply chain needs.

Multi-carrier for all

Multi-carrier shipping, in its purest form, isn’t just for manufacturers, distributors, and retailers, either.

Freight brokers and 3PLs need to be able to utilize as many carriers as possible in order to move customers’ freight in the most reliable, cost-effective way possible. Though they may interact with carriers in a different way, through different technology, the idea of a broad network is still important.

Multi-carrier shipping software

One of the reasons so many shippers stick with a single carrier is simplicity. Fewer contracts to manage. Better volume-based carrier rates (theoretically). Fewer things to coordinate in the warehouse. They tend to do this if and when they believe it will save time, reduce costs, make it easier to track shipments, and ease shipping processes overall.

There’s an element of truth to that, if your shipping software either isn’t a true multi-carrier shipping system, or there isn’t real shipping software in the first place. Either way, the beauty of multi-carrier shipping software is the ability to manage shipping via multiple carriers within one interface and set of workflows.


When it comes to what (sometimes) passes as multi-carrier shipping software, there are a few broad examples.

First, many ERP systems will have a shipping process built in. However, it usually only contains integrations to a handful of the largest parcel shipping carriers, and those are merely connections to the carriers’ own software. They won’t handle shipping labels (or return labels), track shipments, notify customers, or remove enough time consuming, manual processes when the fulfillment team goes to process orders. The ERP is a powerful supply chain tool, but shipping software is often needed.

In other words, forget about rate shopping across carriers or comparing options based on transit time. And don’t even think about pulling in carriers that use EDI, not API integration, to connect. In short, a real carrier network is required, as is the ability to cross-shop and compare carriers within a single platform.


There are also numerous imposters out there, which appear to be multi-carrier shipping software, but don’t really have the network to back that claim up.

In order to actually execute within a system, the carriers you are using have to be part of its established network – otherwise you’ll end up needing individualized integrations.

Some which appear to have large networks also outsource a third-party network over which they have no real control. Besides the additional time it takes to communicate with carriers (due to the additional API call), these software platforms have no ability to address network connectivity issues themselves.

True multi-carrier shipping software has:

  • An expansive network of pre-integrated carriers
  • Access to the full breadth of capacity and services from each carrier
  • Multi-modal access for everything from high-volume small parcel to consolidated freight
  • Covers all connection types, including API, EDI, and even email
  • Un-siloed carrier access, where you can compare shipping rates, services, modes, and transit times across carriers
  • Ability to select special service and accessorial items at time of tendering
  • The ability to use purpose-built middleware to create your own carrier integrations
  • A distinct path to control over your shipping costs

Transportation Management Systems:

Multi-carrier shipping software doesn’t just apply to the needs of manufacturers, distributors, and retailers.

Freight brokers and 3PLs need a transportation management system (TMS) capable of connecting with the full range of freight and parcel carriers needed to fulfill customer needs. Otherwise, they will spend inordinate amounts of time attempting to coordinate transportation orders across too many carriers without a system to actually keep track of everything.

Not just for logistics services

Though used somewhat differently than shipping software, those manufacturers and distributors managing their own freight via a TMS will find this equally true. TMS can be considered another permutation of multi-carrier shipping, and one on which many run their entire businesses.

For the right types of businesses, a TMS offers many features beyond its carrier network that help enhance shipping operations, simplify shipping operations, and control shipping costs – all of which are important to the overall customer experience.

Why does all of this matter?

By now, perhaps you are wondering whether all of this really matters for your business and its shipping operations. Sure, it matters to some, but do you really need all that? Well, it matters to anyone whose business requires flexibility, is trying to control costs, wants to grow, or cares about customer experience.

The ultimate delivery

Once a purchase is complete, shipping is all that stands between your customers and delivery of their merchandise, and (in many cases) between you and their future business. Getting it right means being ready for anything, whether or not you can see it coming. For that reason, multi-carrier shipping software, or a multi-carrier TMS, is the ultimate tool for boosting confidence in your ability to deliver every shipment, every time.

Multi-carrier shipping software takes care of the requirements for redundancy and flexibility.

Just in case:

  • Carriers are unavailable due to capacity or labor constraints
  • Carriers go out of business entirely
  • Carriers adjust their rates at different levels relative to one another
  • Certain customers require use of specific carriers (with specific retail compliance requirements)
  • Carrier performance becomes an issue all of a sudden and customers have issues with delivery times or accuracy
  • Geographic expansion no longer covered by existing carrier partners

Multi-Carrier shipping and your business

With a better understanding of what multi-carrier shipping is, the right tools to manage it, and why it is so important, the question is: Are your current (and future) specific shipping needs, and those of your customers, being met? Can you start and end each day knowing that you have the carrier coverage your business needs, in a single, easy-to-access interface that will let you make the necessary on-the-fly shifts that are ever more common today?

If your answer isn’t a resounding “yes” then reach out to us! We’d be delighted to discuss your needs and walk you through 3G’s Transportation Management and Pacejet Shipping products, along with our complete Carrier Network, Logistics Marketplace, and Integration Hub.

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Reduce shipping costs

Without renegotiating carrier rates

Many people, from consumers to corporate executives, associate “shipping costs” with “carrier rates” and think of the two interchangeably. However, they are not, and in this blog post we’ll discuss how you can reduce your shipping costs, even in the face of rising carrier rates. Read on to learn more about: 

  • Other components of shipping costs unrelated to carrier rates 
  • Mechanisms for reducing those costs despite carrier rates staying high 
  • Tools you can use to take control of shipping costs in any environment 

When many people think of “cost of shipping” they think of dropping off a package at a shipping location and paying a fee to the carrier (UPS, FedEx, the USPS, etc.), including any extras (like rush delivery). But when shipping at scale, the overall costs of shipping extend well beyond that. This is, in many ways, good news! Why? Because it means it’s possible to take control of shipping costs even without negotiating for lower carrier rates. This is especially important when cost-cutting is top of mind, but many carrier rates continue increasing. 

Other components. Consider for a moment everything that goes into shipping: The labor required to pack and label goods, then tender them to carriers. The packaging itself. The fines and penalties resulting from likely preventable errors: 

  • Labor: The more efficiently your workforce can pack and ship goods, the lower those labor costs will be. Every minute not spent guessing what boxes to use, not comparing rates via multiple carrier portals, and not trying to double check label & paperwork accuracy is a reduction in the total cost of shipping goods. 
  • Packaging: Packaging can be a veritable guessing game, particularly when there are multiple items going in a single order, or multiple orders going to the same customer. The more efficiently you can pack, the less packaging used, and the less money spent on all things packaging. 
  • Fines & Penalties: Even if you double and triple check each item, label, and packing slip, there is still room for error. Sometimes substantial error. When that’s true, trading partners, carriers, and even regulators can impose substantial financial penalties. 

Cost reduction mechanisms. The additional components of shipping costs are largely related to making efficient use of time and resources. But there are other ways of reducing overall shipping costs without altering your contracted rates: 

  • Carrier Network: The bigger the carrier network, the more options you have. Just because one carrier has increased its rates doesn’t mean that you can’t find a better rate from a different one.
  • Mode Selection: The same goes for mode selection, too. Sometimes an alternate mode will be more cost efficient, even if it isn’t the first that comes to mind. 
  • Quoting Accuracy: Though not a direct “cost” of shipping, the more accurately you can quote a carrier’s rate for a shipment to your customer, the less likely you are to under or overestimate what you charge that customer for shipping. 

Tools to use. There are a number of tools out there that can help you take advantage of all of these cost-reducing mechanisms. Many will be part of a comprehensive shipping software suite, like 3G Pacejet Shipping, as either core capabilities or add-ons, such as: 

  • Scan Packing: Less time (labor) and far greater accuracy (penalties) than any other method of packing (such as typed entries or mouse clicks). 
  • Predictive Packing: Box and pallet selection recommendations in a fraction of the time, in addition to far more accurate quoting. 
  • Dimensional Weighting: Calculating a shipment’s dimensional weight provides a far more accurate cost estimate than just using weight alone.  
  • Retail Compliance: Say goodbye to retailer chargebacks when using retail compliance automation features to print compliant documents & labels together (with or without integrating EDI solutions).   

In many circumstances, you will have little ability to negotiate your contracted carrier rates down. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t use other methods of lowering shipping costs – methods where you have far more control over the outcomes. Finding ways to reduce costs associated labor, packaging, and penalties are easy with the right tools. Similarly, the best way to deal with one carrier’s rate increases may be to comparison shop across other carriers and/or modes. Tools to do this, and take control of your shipping, are some of the many reasons to explore 3G Pacejet Shipping, and the entire 3G product suite.  

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Best Practices for Shipping Automation

With Acumatica & 3G Pacejet Shipping

In this webinar, 3G joined Acumatica to discuss the ever-evolving topic of how manufacturers, distributors, and omnichannel retailers ship goods from their ERP. Recently, Acumatica published a comprehensive e-book on all things ERP shipping, and this interactive session brings that to life with help from 3G’s own Stephen Karem, who demonstrated use of 3G Pacejet Shipping within Acumatica.   

Acumatica opens the webinar with an in depth disucssion of all things shipping. From this overview, viewers can gain a better understanding of shipping best practices, and where the uncertainties (and potential troubles) lurk when setting up shipping operations. In addition to learning about mistakes to avoid, the Acumatica team walks us through each stage of a shipment, and how to levarage the powerful Acumatica capabilities to execute.  

This portion of the webinar also goes into detail about the role of specialized transportation and shipping software, such as 3G Pacejet Shipping. While Acumatica’s fulfillment capabilities are extensive, the nuances of shipping often require a specialized software package. When that is the case, Acumatica demonstrates the importance of complete integration, where the user may initiate, execute, and monitor shipments within either platform and see data instantly populate across both. 

The webinar concludes with some very practical applications of shipping optimization across Acumatica and 3G Pacejet. To give users a complete picture of how the two work together, the 3G Pacejet team conducts a demo of its software but used within the Acumatica interface. This is a great opportunity for Acumatica users to see firsthand the strength and seamlessness of the integration, and why it’s a software “team” they can rely on for all shipping needs, both simple and advanced.  

For those who were unable to attend the webinar, we invite you to view it on-demand by accessing the recording here. Otherwise, check out the Acumatica shipping e-book, available here, for a complete guide to all things shipping. 

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More Certainty with Fewer Tools

Pairing your ERP with a single transportation & shipping software suite

The ERP has become emblematic of the trend towards consolidating a greater number of operations around a smaller number of cloud-based software platforms. However, this trend still eludes certain operations, like shipping, that are spread across multiple systems. Systems that integrate poorly with modern ERPs (and not at all with one another) decemate accuracy and efficiency and create additional uncertainty (on top of what manufacturers, distributors, and retailers already face).  

Many facets of shipping may seem disconnected from an executional standpoint, since they may rely on different teams and technology (for now). For example, warehouse pack-and-ship workflows seem unrelated to freight load and route planning, but that’s only because they’ve never been properly connected. In fact, using a single interface to handle both would likely have companies using different modes, carriers, and services – but spending less time, money, and customer goodwill to do so. Those who do, however, will see three main benefits: 

  1. Improved adaptability – confront uncertainty as it unfolds 
  1. Reconfigure systems without replacing them – never hamper growth 
  1. Setup for success – integrate with specialized point solutions 

Improved adaptability. Markets can be seasonal, cyclical, or altogether unpredictable. Those constant changes dictate the type of goods you will be selling, who will be buying them, and how they will be delivered. These fluctuations vary in their degree, interval, and predictability. Oscillating between shipping small parcels by the thousands and freight pallets by the dozens is difficult enough for the warehouse teams, and is compounded (or even rendered impossible) when systems don’t offer sufficient flexibility.  

Putting parcel aside, even freight markets require different approaches to efficiently move goods. For example, in a “capacity crunch” it’s great to have negotiated LTL rates locked in. However, when things pivot, and they will, the truckload spot market can present a superior value. However, while manufacturers, distributors, and retailers likely have access to some type of system for managing those LTL contracts, few exist for obtaining and managing TL off the spot market (typically requiring a broker). And even fewer systems have the ability to handle both.  

Configurable systems. Growth happens, and that’s a good thing! But it will be stifled quickly if constrained by inflexible technology – technology that cannot be reconfigured to meet current needs. Take freight, for example: the more a manufacturer, distributor, or retailer grows, the more critical it will become. From load planning, to complex routing, to financial settlements, access to freight creates new efficiencies, but it requires an entirely separate system (TMS) from pack-and-ship software if the platform you have cannot be reconfigured around changing requirements. 

Growth comes in many forms. Even if overall shipping volume remains the same, product lineups expand constantly and different products have different shipping requirements. While self-managed freight may not be justified, it’s quite possible that you won’t even have the ability to manage simple LTL from a standard pack-and-ship software product.The customer base can shift as well, and regardless of volume levels, that will bring with it new challenges. For example, large retailers will have exacting requirements (AKA: retail compliance) dictating specific label information & formatting, delivery windows, and even carriers. The best way to prepare for that scenario is to have a shipping management platform that can address it from both data management and carrier network standpoints.  

Set up for success. Transportation and shipping software should come with plug-and-play integrations to the most commonly connected systems: common ERPs, carrier APIs, carrier tracking & monitoring software, retail compliance solutions, and major load boards. Having these connections ready to go is important, and will remove substantial uncertainty from the overall implementation process. Direct integrations, particularly with regard to carriers, are also important in that they aren’t reliant on third party systems, networks, or or API calls. Outsourced carrier networks, for example, are substantially slower, and reliant on a third party’s maintenance standards for performance. 

However, standard integrations may not meet all of one’s needs. For example, more obscure ERPs, certain EDI-based carriers, or other niche tools require a scalable path to implementation. This is where purpose-built middleware comes in. While there are multiple products on the market intended to create the desired connections few were built with logistics in mind and even fewer come with an extensive template library. 

If the ERP serves as your company’s “single source of truth” that brings with it a degree of certainty – certainty in your abilities to provide excellent customer service, maintain operational connectivity, and build upon those as needed. For those moving goods, 3G provides the same for transportation: a complete transportation management & shipping software suite covering all stages of shipment and over-the-road modes. As powerful as they are on their own, these solutions each enhance one another – a complete central nervous system, if you will. 

Do you have shipping challenges, or expect to in the future? Let’s talk about them! Click here to contact us today. 

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Become Your Customers’ Source of Certainty

Fulfilling promises with 3G Pacejet Shipping 

Savvy merchants know that the key to repeat business and long-lasting relationships is customer experience. Whether in manufacturing, distribution, or retail, customers are more likely to return to vendors who act more like partners – vendors who prioritize keeping customers informed, handling issues proactively, and delivering with as little uncertainty as possible. Shipping, as an overall process, can be a significant differentiator if managed correctly because it largely determines: 

  • Timely dispatch, updates, and arrival of orders
  • Correct items going in the boxes and undamaged merchandise coming out
  • All-in cost of doing business with a particular merchants

From order to receipt, customers consider their vendors responsible for getting them what they paid for, making “shipping” and “customer experience” heavily intertwined. It’s a complex process to manage, but software can help! Much of the customer lifecycle can be managed through a modern ERP, but most ERP systems come up short on shipping. For that, specialty software – like 3G’s transportation and shipping software – is needed. And for it to create the certainty customers demand, the two systems will have to integrate as if one. 

Timely transits. “Shipping” can be broken into two basic components: packing & preparation in the warehouse, and transit with a carrier. Both create substantial opportunities to affect timeliness. Warehouse workflows within a merchant’s direct control, and reducing the time needed to print labels & paperwork, determine packaging, and select a carrier means reducing overall shipping times. And despite not having custody of shipments while in transit, vendors can still affect timely delivery based on the carrier, service, and mode selected. Unfortunately, without a single interface to compare all options, suboptimal choices are often made.  

Accurate articles. Few things frustrate customers more than opening a box and finding wrong, or damaged, items. Many customers rely on those shipments to keep their own businesses running and need to be certain they will be salable. Technology in the warehouse – in the form of scan packing, batch shipping, retailer compliant labels, and EDI automation – can all but eliminate order errors when connected to state-of-the-art shipping software. Damage prevention, through proper packaging and appropriate carrier services, can be controlled via the same system.

Pricing prowess. One of the greatest sources of uncertainty for customers is pricing – final, total, all-in pricing. And that means shipping, too. It’s important to provide an accurate estimate early in the process, so customers know exactly what they will be in for (and vendors aren’t made to cover the difference when those estimates turn out to be wrong). By far the greatest determinant of pricing is mode, carrier, and service selection – necessitating access to an extensive carrier network – but having software capable of making accurate estimates is also paramount. That same software can also help drive costs down through elements of warehouse automation, too. The connectivity between that shipping software and the ERP is also a strong determinant of pricing success.

Managing the customer experience means working as a team, and that team includes software. Just as merchandise must flow through a warehouse, onto a truck, and into the customer’s hands, data has to flow unimpeded between systems. That means the ERP and shipping software, like 3G’s transportation and shipping suite, working with each other. Perfecting shipping on its own may not create customers for life, but poor shipping execution can certainly send them directly to the competition.

Do you have shipping-related customer service challenges, or see potential for them to pop up in the future? Let’s talk about them! Click here to contact us today.  

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3G Partner Acumatica Writes the Book on Shipping

Manufacturers, distributors, and e-commerce retailers rely on teamwork to ship products: teams in the warehouse and teams in the cloud. In Acumatica’s latest e-book, learn how its ERP software teams with 3G’s shipping and transportation software to deliver and make their mutual customers their own customers’ source of certainty.  

Learn why Acumatica and 3G make an ideal team to help your own team manage: 

  • The uncertainty facing all logistics operations 
  • Complex processes within complex processes 
  • Shipping as a core business function 

Uncertainty. It’s sometimes said that, when it comes to logistics, uncertainty is the only certainty. Fortunately, with that mindset, it’s possible to confront (and mitigate) it with the right tools. As you’ll see in the e-book, deploying Acumatica and 3G together is a great way to start. Acumatica can be configured to cover just about any business scenario, while 3G will help ensure the efficient movement of goods even when it’s difficult to predict what will happen next. 

Complexity. Shipping itself is a highly complex process, but it’s also part of the even more complex process of order processing and management. This is where the integration between Acumatica and 3G (the only transportation or shipping software Fulfilled by Acumatica) shows its strength. Acumatica has exceptional capabilities when it comes to managing a diverse customer base and high order volumes. The ERP’s interoperability with 3G means automatic data sharing and the ability to apply all of 3G’s shipping functionality to each Acumatica order.  

Differentiation. Acumatica breaks down shipping, and its relationship with the overall revenue generation process, to show how important an overall business function it has become. It’s no longer “that uncle nobody ever talks about” but instead has become a way to differentiate on customer service and satisfaction. Even those selling highly commoditized products can compete on more than price when they demonstrate themselves as reliable partners, great teammates, and sources of certainty.

Want to learn more about the role shipping plays and how to simplify its complexity from start to finish? Read the e-book here or join us for our upcoming 3G and Acumatica webinar by registering here today! 

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