UPS, FedEx, and other carrier accounts are easy to setup, and even easier to pass around. With some basic information and login credentials you can grant anyone access to your account. Ease of use is great, isn’t it?
Well at first it’s great, but then someone in your Marketing Department opens up their own account because they need to separate out their costs. At the same time your manufacturing team opens up a separate account to use for shipping samples around the globe. And this is all on top of existing accounts that were created by various other departments over the years.
Now you’re in a situation where you have literally lost track of all the accounts you’ve opened with various carriers. Auditing bills is out of the question, and you’d be happy just knowing that outside parties weren’t charging your accounts for non-company related shipments.
You’re Not Alone – Everyone Has Trouble Managing Multiple Shipping Accounts
This problem, believe it or not, exists in most major corporations today. With disparate processes and complex global offices, it is almost impossible to prevent the proliferation of multiple accounts for every carrier. It’s not uncommon to find companies that have 1,000s (yes thousands) of Carrier Accounts. Some are opened for just a single use, while others get passed around like candy.
At first this may seem like a minor inconvenience. Yes you have multiple accounts, but everything is hitting your central account at the end of the day, right? Yes it is! With absolutely no ability to restrict, manage, or audit what you’re being charged.
Having multiple accounts is like handing out your credit card number to all your friends. Anyone with the number can now charge your line of credit, and the more times you hand out the information, the more likely you open yourself up to fraud, misuse, or plain old mistakes.
Get a System in Place
So now that you’ve decided that this is an issue worth fixing, the next logical question is to figure out how the stop the bleeding.
Step 1: Stop handing out your account numbers. Before you can start getting your house in order, you need to prevent the situation from getting worse. Most carriers will allow you to login and see who all has access to your account. If you are in a situation where you have been handing out a login credentials directly, then the issue is a little easier to fix because all you need to do is change your password (and make sure the reset password process points to your own email).
Once you have access locked down, the next step is start finding the open accounts. Once again, your carrier website is your friend here. Find out what accounts have been created under you master agreement. Also keep in mind that it’s possible people have opened up accounts separately, but used company cards or other means to pay. To search out all of these methods you may need to get your accounting team involved, send emails, or physically chase people down. Yes, it’s time consuming!
Once you have all (or most) of the outstanding accounts identified, the next step is cleanup. In most cases there is going to be majority of accounts that can be deactivated almost immediately – likely because they haven’t been used in a while. Close down what you can – you don’t need to be perfect here (because of our next step), but I would personally err on the side of closing more rather than less accounts.
Finally, the last step is to re-initiate a process for new requests. When someone in your company needs to ship something they need to go through a centralized process for making that request. This, almost always, means going through some technology or internal process to request, receive approval, and move forward with shipments. This does not mean re-giving out your credentials, but rather have a centralized point where different employees, departments, or other groups can come and request help with shipping. Then the centralizing team helps make the actual requests in a controlled manner.
Yes it is, but it’s worth it. Installing some simple processes around this can save you $1000s monthly.
And even better, there are solutions out there that solve this problem for you! Check out Boxton Parcel for one such option – a tool that allows you to manage all your UPS and FedEx accounts centrally, while still granting access to individual users.