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alone. We can equate the big bad wolf to any of the issues from the past year: capacity constraints, cost control, and peak surcharges, to name a few. These struggles felt by shippers across the industry can literally blow your house, or shipping software system, down. On the flip side, build your house of bricks, or just algorithmic business rules, and your house will stand — but think about how long it took to build that house. And what happens if you need to move your house? Say your house is in danger of a tsunami (of new orders) and you need to add a new carrier? How easy will it be to pack up that house of bricks?

With prescriptive business rules, you may have stated that all packages less than one pound must ship Priority Mail. However, with the addition of a new regional carrier, maybe you want to rate shop your shipments. Rate shop groups are part of an algorithmic business rule set. By having your business rules state that you want to rate shop all packages, you can add the new service(s) to the target rate shop group and let the system automate the decision. Using our analogy from above, you can see how a hybrid house built with a brick base and stick walls would be akin to building business logic with a hybrid set of prescriptive and algorithmic business rules.

Applying Business Rule Logic When used effectively, business rules can simplify the system update process, which is necessary as the parcel shipping landscape changes. To understand the importance of these rules, let’s look at something many of us have had to do in the past year: Add a regional carrier.

Business Rules in the Future The past year serves as a warning that we don’t know what the future will hold. The key measure is to have a shipping system in place that has the flexibility and agility to adapt to whatever may come. “Fast/reliable delivery” was the most important online shopping

attribute among the consumers in the PwC’s June 2021 Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey. What can be derived is that delivery services will only become more important and influential across e-commerce. Now that consumers have grown accustomed to same-day delivery service, customer expectations for delivery options will only increase and rise in demand. Intelligently applying business rule types today can ease the onboarding of such functionality in the future. When these rules are strategically built cooperatively, you can create a strong yet flexible shipping system that can withstand any big bad wolf looking to blow your house in.

Justin Cramer is Co-Founder, Head of Sales & Marketing, ProShip, Inc. He will be speaking more on this topic on Thursday, September 16 at this year’s PARCEL Forum.

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