Deploy Zone-skipping Strategies to Save on Shipping Costs

Deploy Zone-skipping Strategies to Save on Shipping Costs

If there was a way to save up to 50 cents on every package you ship, would you want to hear how? If shipping represents a major e-commerce expense, it can also be a cost-saving opportunity you can use to outmaneuver your competition. Zone skipping represents one of these opportunities.

What is zone skipping?

Every day, many distribution and fulfillment centers send all their packages to the nearest parcel carrier’s shipping facility, where they are sorted and distributed to various regions (or zones) throughout the country. Zone skipping allows DCs to pre-sort these packages and send shipments directly to regional carriers, essentially bypassing the parcel hub to reach end destinations in less time — which lowers costs.

Supporting a zone-skipping strategy requires DCs to assume pre-sortation duties in-house, and that’s where Honeywell Intelligrated’s experts come in. 

Selecting the right sortation solution

Making the most out of a zone-skipping strategy relies on utilizing a best-fit automated sortation system. This depends on a host of factors, including package rate-per-meter and storage profiles, among other operational specifications. Fortunately, Honeywell Intelligrated also has a variety of best-in-class sortation products to help DC operators implement a zone-skipping strategy — whether that’s a vertical sortation, sliding shoe, tilt tray or cross-belt technology.

A key factor in this decision is understanding the total cost of ownership (TCO). We help DC operators weigh a variety of TCO considerations, such as: maintenance requirements, parts and the expertise needed to operate the equipment.

Carton, bubble mailer or polybag?

It’s also important to factor in package size and type when trying to reduce shipping costs. We’ve found that by shipping an item in polybags instead of cartons or bubble mailers can save as many as six truckloads and significantly reduce shipping costs. However, operators would need to consider integrating an automated sortation solution capable of handling polybags. 

By employing zone-skipping and polybag strategies, we’ve seen customers reduce their shipping costs from 20–50 cents per item.

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