Businesses and consumers feel the impact of continually rising fuel prices

Brightpearl by Sage’s guide ‘10 Techniques to Lower Shipping Costs and Boost Profit’ is essential reading at the moment, given that the cost of petrol and diesel continue to hit fresh records daily here in the UK.

At the time of writing The RAC says that the average price of petrol in the UK is now 191.25p per litre, with diesel averaging at 199.02p.

Some petrol stations are even charging more than £2 a litre.

Rising fuel prices graph

Graph source

Factors such as an increase in the price of crude oil, which is used to make petroleum and diesel, a weaker dollar against the pound (petrol is paid for in US dollars) and sanctions against Russia affecting oil and gas supplies, have contributed to record petrol prices. 

These ever-rising and extortionate energy costs have significantly affected both businesses and consumers alike.

If you’re interested in finding out more information about rising fuel costs, and how your business can combat them, read our latest blog on the topic here.

The cost of goods leaving manufacturing factories and inventory warehouses has risen too, and at its fastest rate since 1977.

Merchants are now being forced to pay over the odds to receive and deliver their goods, and it’s having a negative impact on profit margins.

To compensate for these rising costs, and to enable businesses to protect their margins, consumer prices rose 9.1% in May this year, reaching a new 40-year high for a one-month percentage increase.

This culminated in UK shop prices hitting their highest rate of inflation since 2008.

And the Bank of England has concerns that consumer prices may increase even further to 11% by the end of the year.

The outlook for inflation and the economy looks bleak.

Businesses are therefore looking for ways to cut costs where possible in order to protect their profit margins and increase their bottom line.

Here are three suggestions inspired by Brightpearl by Sage’s ‘10 Techniques to Lower Shipping Costs and Boost Profit’ that will help your business mitigate rising fuel costs, and therefore improve your bottom line.

“Skyrocketing shipping costs have heavily impacted retailers’ margins. The 10 techniques mentioned in this guide will help you save on shipping, even amidst the ongoing supply chain crisis. The bottom line is that to optimise shipping costs in your business, you’ll need better visibility across your pick, pack and ship process, from supplier management and purchasing to fulfilment and returns management. You’ll also want to automate your workflows to save time, lower costs and reduce errors.”

1. Optimise your storage space

If your business utilises shipping containers, vans, trucks or trailers for the storing or transportation of stock, it is essential to utilise all of the available space by factoring in the weight and volume of every package.

This will ensure that the number of vehicles used to transport these packages is kept to a minimum, saving on both time and fuel.

There are a variety of inventory planning tools on the market, such as Brightpearl by Sage’s Demand Planner, to help you scale a purchase order to maximise every square inch by factoring in the containers cubic metrics or weight of a shipping container.

The same premise applies to vehicles too with Stream.

Stream enables you to take vehicle capabilities / capacities into account (such as capacity, weight, cube etc) so that you can quickly make the most of your resources and load your delivery vehicle with the optimal amount of goods.

2. Reduce the shipping distance through route optimisation software

With the price of petrol and diesel continuing to rise, optimising your delivery routes is a sure-fire way to help you save on time and money whilst helping reduce your carbon footprint.

Not only that, but it also boosts customer satisfaction, giving you a wide range of benefits that justify investing in a route planning and optimisation system.

Stream enables you to plan the most efficient and economical delivery (and collection) routes for your fleet, taking into account all locations, total route times and vehicle capabilities (such as capacity, weight, cube etc), so you can quickly make the most of your resources and deliver on time for your customers.

3. Reduce the likelihood of returns & boost customer satifaction

Returns are an inevitability that businesses can try to mitigate by monitoring common issues, such as supplier problems, product quality and mispicks.

Streamline your logistics processes with a delivery planning, route optimisation and electronic Proof of Delivery (ePOD) application to ensure that the correct item is received within the promised delivery period.

Retaining high levels of customer service, and therefore customer satisfaction, is also another way to help reduce your return rates, whilst simultaneously boosting customer loyalty.

This is generally achieved through effective communication with the customer, keeping them informed and satisfied throughout the entire process so that they know exactly when they are receiving their order.

Stream-Go-Real-Time-Delivery-Data-Information-Customer-Tracking

Stream gives real-time visibility of orders & deliveries, which boosts your customer service & reduces the likelihood of missed or failed deliveries.

Stream’s cloud-based software gives both your customers and your business partners complete visibility over their own orders using Stream’s live tracking function which provides up-to-date ETAs and information. 

Automated two-way communication by email and SMS means everyone has access to the right information throughout the delivery process.

Utilise powerful ePOD software to give your drivers the ability to easily capture detailed information about each of their deliveries and collections including: status updates, signatures, photos, delivery issues and notes. 

All of these benefits keep your customer informed along the delivery process and reduces the likelihood of missing packages, damaged goods and late deliveries.

To find out more ways in which you can reduce shipping costs and boost your profits download Brightpearl by Sage’s excellent guide here.