Ever have this happen to you: Someone in your company needs to ship a package, on short notice, and they frantically come looking for your company’s FedEx account number? Then either you end up shipping the package for them, or you give them the account number directly so they can do it themselves?
How about this one – ever need to have someone send you product samples or a signed contract, and they ask for your UPS number to charge?
Of course you have – we all have. And it’s a fantastic way to cost your company a LOT of unexpected shipping costs.
Your carrier account numbers are similar to a credit card number. Once someone has it, there is very little you can do to prevent someone from using it to charge shipping costs.
This issue ends in one costly result – lots and lots of people having the ability to ship on your account, with you paying the bill. And to confound the issue, it can often be so difficult to audit these bills that you may never find out.
What are We Solving For?
First off, you need to manage your account numbers centrally. Whenever you have employees with the ability to ship directly through a Carriers website then you are going to open yourself up to unexpected spend. We’re all human, and as such it’s a very natural thing to want to take the easy path to completing a job. For shipping small packages, that usually means going to a website and selected the fastest shipping possible and in turn sending that cost into a black box of other charges, never to be seen again.
Even the more frequent shippers don’t necessarily need access to your account numbers. They need a solution that isn’t cumbersome while meeting your security needs.
As a result, there needs to be an approval process, which helps dictate whether someone really needs Account Access (i.e. the ability to ship over and over again) or one-time support (i.e. help me get this package from A to Z and then I’ll stop bothering you). Importantly – the approval process needs to be automated to prevent misuse!
Start with Labels
In order to resolve the largest share of the issue here, you also need the ability to send labels to users who shouldn’t have access to your company shipping account at all. Why labels? Because they create the separation you need. You (or someone you designate) can go online and request labels, usually PDF or PNG files, that you can email to anyone you please. They will then be able to use those labels to ship on your account. Once those labels are gone – so is their access to your account.
Many carriers allow you to do this online, through their website. Many also allow you to use third parties to handle this (shameless plug coming soon).
Then Handle Your Regular Users
Being able to email labels are great for outside parties and infrequent shippers, but what about those that have legitimate needs to ship regularly? This is where it gets a bit tricky.
You want to put a process in place that does a few things:
- Verifies that users are being responsible with your account (choosing the right service level)
- Allows for reporting based on user, department, or some other meaningful group
- Gives users the ability to track their packages, schedule pickups, etc. without needing authorization every step of the way
The easiest way to attack the above is to have a reporting system whereby you can track what each user is doing and tie that to the spend you see at the end of the month. The more detailed this system is the better decisions you can make, which in turn allows you to drive better processes. Point being is you need the data!
A Better Way
There are manual solutions to all of the above, and I’d encourage you all to consider them. But know there is also a better way: Boxton Parcel. It allows you to take the controls identified above in a single solution:
- Manage accounts from multiple Carriers centrally. Allow access company wide to some accounts, while restricting others
- Print and send labels to employees or 3rd parties with ease
- Track packages, regardless of carrier, in a single dashboard, with real time updates on status
- Report spend by employee, department, and more, including a better understanding of the service level used
- And much more …
If you’re interested, schedule a product demo with us today!