RedPrairie is rolling out a new parcel manifesting system that is fully integrated with the company's Warehouse Management and Transportation Management systems, giving users a more complete packing and shipping solution.
The new solution, introduced June 26, can be implemented as a module of one of these systems or as a stand-alone application.
"This has become a core competency of our standard transportation management offerings," said Erv Bluemner, vice president of product strategy for RedPrairie transportation management solutions. "When accepting orders or shipments, an immediate decision can be made whether to ship LTL [less-than-truckload] or to go with a parcel delivery. In real-time, you can rate-shop across parcel carriers."
Bluemner said the solution supports major U.S. and Canadian parcel delivery carriers for domestic and international shipping. He said integration with the RedPrairie transportation management system allows users to perform packing and cartonization tasks, as well as create compliant labels. A client billing package provides a fully dated truck manifest and closing information.
Heavy parcel shippers can take advantage of the solution's zone-skipping capabilities, according to Bluemner.
"You can make a determination looking at the cost effectiveness of whether a parcel is better shipped to a remote zone with a lot of other parcels. Packages are prelabeled, and when they get to the nearest shipment hub they are short-shipped out of the hub," he said.
Bluemner said a high-volume parcel shipper who needs to handle volume shipments as well as individual shipments can achieve large savings via zone skipping. He said a retailer operating a parts and service business or eBay business can also achieve significant savings by performing in-line direct pricing and then re-rating shipping prices or using zone skipping.
"You can take major cost out of the equation," he said.
Gartner analyst Dwight Klappich said the main advantage that RedPrairie's parcel manifesting provides is that it comes as part of an integrated transportation management suite.
"Parcel management is a very mature technology," Klappich said. "Vendors continue to add functionality, but to this point it has mostly been a stand-alone technology that sits at the end of the line and takes orders."
He said that in the past, companies used independent systems to operate traditional multimodal shipping, fleet routing and scheduling, and parcel manifesting.
"RedPrairie is moving toward providing a fully integrated transportation management system and thus providing flexibility to its clients," he said.
Klappich said that since parcel shipping providers have essentially become a commodity, companies are moving away from making strategic deals with a single provider and instead are rate-shopping different carriers for different shipments. He also said that the growth of e-commerce has brought many companies that previously did not sell goods to consumers into the direct-to-consumer marketplace.
RedPrairie offers its parcel manifesting system as either a remotely hosted solution or one that is licensed to be run on a user's own server.
Dan Berthiaume covers the retail space for eWEEK. For more industry news, check out eWEEK.com's Retail Site.