Anyone who has ever been responsible for sending envelopes or packages knows that this is not as simple a task that one might think. While not necessarily ‘complex’ – it can be quite cumbersome. It’s actually about simplicity. Simply being able to select the right carrier, right service, and right price for every shipment. Here’s what can make the process challenging:
The components of a successful shipping process can make your head spin. Start with having three major carriers (USPS, FedEx and UPS) to choose from, each with different pricing and services, including cost options, convenience, reliability and tracking. Preparation for sending can involve packaging and weighing, evaluating multiple shipper options, verifying addresses, printing labels and getting it all done in time for various drop off or pickup deadlines.
Many companies have negotiated favorable rates with one or more commercial carriers. But the negotiated rate may not be the best rate for every shipment. Costs are determined by urgency, size and weight, handling needs, insurance and destination. Traditional methods such as preprinted forms and postage meters can make it even more difficult to capture final costs. Even when done online, comparing carriers across their sites is time consuming – but not understanding your options can lead to significant and unnecessary over-spending.
It’s human nature to take the path of least resistance. It’s not always the veteran mailroom associate or designated staff person who handles daily office shipping. Contractors, temps, fill-ins and occasional users can all play a part in getting shipments out the door. They are likely to choose a method that’s familiar and easy, not necessarily the optimal one.
Traditionally, USPS, FedEx and UPS online applications use their own address books, making it challenging to locate, import or validate an address when switching among carriers. Following on the heels of verifying the correct address are the multiple options for creating labels … from printing an online label to completing a preprinted form by hand. Mistakes in addresses and in filling out carrier forms can occur. This results in delayed and/or misdirected packages, ultimately resulting in unhappy senders and receivers.
Tracking is a capability that all major carriers provide, but when you’re sending a lot, it can take significant time and effort to follow one or multiple carriers and tracking numbers. Further complicating the issue is that you may have initially shipped with FedEx or UPS, but the USPS may actually be the carrier to deliver the package to its final destination. Having a single location to track simplifies the process, saves time, and keeps both sender and recipient informed.
Who’s sending what to whom? And how? And how often? Costs are scribbled on carrier forms, billed across multiple carriers, logged at the retail location drop-offs. Despite everyone’s best accounting intentions, keeping track of office shipping costs is daunting — requiring largely manual recordkeeping.
To learn more about simplifying the art of shipping, visit http://www.pitneybowes.com/us/sendpro.html.
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