Monday, May 9, 2016

Postal Requirements for Using eVS Lowered

Do I Qualify to Use USPS eVS?
USPS Electronic Verification System (eVS) allows shippers to process and label packages with postage paid using files transmitted at the end of the day with all the shipping data.

USPS eVS is part of the PostalOne! System and the business requirements are supported by high volume shipping software like Harvey Software’s CPS which is designed with the higher volume shippers in mind.

In the beginning, USPS eVS had package volume requirements of an annual daily average of 200 packages per day. Recently the average daily requirement has been lowered to 50 packages per day or an average of 50 pounds in total package weight shipped daily. This reduction has now made it very appealing to most medium to large volume shippers to consider USPS eVS in the place of using Internet Postage.

USPS eVS eliminates paperwork from old hard copy manifest and postage statements as these have been all replaced with electronic documentation and data uploads created by the certified shipping software used. No third party Internet Postage account is needed when a shipper uses USPS eVS as they deal directly with the Post Office through PostalOne!.

USPS eVS Label from a High Volume Shipping Software Solutions Powered by CPS
Packages are packed, weighed, labelled and have tracking services just like shipping a package with any other carrier. With high volume multi-carrier shipping software systems, like those found at Harvey Software, processing USPS eVS packages can be very fast because there is no Internet Postage access required during package processing. This means package processing can take as little as 1 or 2 seconds to process.

There are many valuable features that surface out of this type of processing in addition to speed and volume efficiency.  For example, if a bad label is created or the package needs to be changed during processing and before it leaves the processing facility, no special handling or postage refunds required. The package is just deleted from within the shipping software used and a new label is reprinted.  Since data is not uploaded to USPS until end of day processing, old incorrect labels can be discarded and new corrected labels created with the correct information.  No more long waits for postage refunds because charges for what is shipped occurs at the end of the day and not when the label is printed.  This is a huge processing speed and financial savings as everyone know things change during processing packages.

Shipping Software Solutions Powered by CPS
USPS eVS makes shipping packages with the US Post Office just like shipping with all the other carriers.  If you have not considered USPS eVS lately and you ship around 50 packages per day you really should be contacting an USPS eVS certified vendor like Harvey Software and let them help you decide if USPS eVS is right for your business.

For more information about USPS eVS for use in high volume shipping software solutions for your business visit

USPS®, PostalOne!® and eVS® are registered trademarks of the United States Postal Service.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Not all Shipping Software Systems are Equal

High Shipping Volume Issues?
Harvey Software’s CPS uses two carrier methods to process packages, giving CPS distinct advantages when processing high volumes of packages daily.  This article will explain how these set CPS apart from other shipping systems.

Most multi-carrier shipping software on the market today use carrier provided API’s or Web Services to process packages. These work thru the Internet to communicate with carriers’ servers for each and every package, processed in real-time. It is like you are at the carrier’s shipping counter for each and every package.

These carrier tools are widely used by shipping software and online shipping systems on the market today.  They are easily deployed and updated, with a lower cost to use and maintain. They can work well for many shippers.

Are there downsides to using these tools?  Yes, there can be and these are experienced mostly by higher volume shippers or when the Internet connection has issues pop-up. If the Internet is up and running and the shipper is lucky enough to be in an area where consistently high Internet speeds are available, most companies experience acceptable package processing speeds.  But many companies that sell shipping systems based on API or Web Services state their processing speeds based in a perfect Internet environment.

Let’s face it - there is no such thing as a perfect Internet environment all the time.  Many times everyone is using the Internet all at the same time (like the critical seasonal shipping) and components of these totally Internet based shipping systems can go down.  And down time in shipping is never good.
High Volume UPS and USPS Shipping Software Solutions Powered by CPS

This is the reason that Harvey Software and a few other shipping software providers go to great expense to meet the carrier business rules that allow them to support carrier tools like UPS UPSLink (PLD) or USPS eVS for all packages processed through these carriers.

The advantage is in that both of these carrier services process each package locally throughout the day without needing real-time Internet data moving between the shipper and the carrier for each package. At the close out time, the shipper needs only to upload the carrier package data via the Internet in a single communication.  Best of all, if this quick and simple communication fails for some reason, package shipping is never stopped and close outs can be done at a later time.

The challenge in supporting these direct, locally supported carrier services is that software developers have much more programming involved and meeting business requirements can be very costly.  Every carrier change must be accounted for and be kept up-to-date.  This is why our CPS software checks for carrier updates daily when it starts up and updates the local system in real time.  This extra expense pays off in speed and system stability and is well worth the cost and effort.

The time saved during processing using this process is very noticeable.  Compared to API or Web Services processing, with no Internet needed during the actual shipping process, there is no slowdown of critical package processing.  This means high package volumes are shipped each day on a consistent basis, saving costs and increasing customer satisfaction.

With Harvey Software’s CPS products the shipper still can do all the other operations shippers do with the Internet based online carrier tools.  This includes real-time rating, package processing, communicating package data between in-house systems, tracking, sending shipment notifications, and even support of custom carrier rates.  Packages are processed faster and at a more consistent speed, which is very important for most shippers.

Shipping Software Solutions Powered by CPS
Speed and consistency are the start, but not all.  For example, if a label is printed wrong or the shipping method needs to change, that process is also handled locally and fast.  For USPS, there is no need to apply for refunds for printed postage or re-sending data to the carrier about the changes.  When the shipper uploads carrier data at the end of the day, things like this have already been handled by the high volume shipping software, saving both the shipper and the carrier in post shipping billing costs.

More packages shipped per day also leads to lower labor costs, a decreased number of workstations needed to handle peak loads and more packages getting to customers daily.

This subject is not discussed much by shippers.  With such potential advantages in shipping speeds and in the shipping process, we feel this subject deserves more attention and discussion.  We welcome comments on this article and hope to learn more about the importance of this to your company by your comments.  

For more information about why it makes sense to use high volume shipping software solutions in your business visit

UPS® registered trademarks of United Parcel Service of America, Inc.

USPS® is a registered trademark of the United States Postal Service.

Monday, March 24, 2014

How can using multi-carrier shipping software improve my business and save me money?

How can using multi-carrier shipping software improve my business and save me money?
For over 30 years, Harvey Software has provided industry-leading multi-carrier shipping software to shippers to help them optimize their UPS, FedEx and USPS shipping.  With over 35,000 installations that have shipped billions of packages and growing, coupled with new money-saving options, every business should be using Harvey Software’s CPS™ (Computerized Parcel System) multi-carrier shipping software solution to streamline business processes, improve shipment visibility to customers and improve the bottom line.

A high volume shipping software system is the last stop for your parcels before they earn their shipping label and leave your business bound for your customer.  Of course your shipping system affects the shipping department.  Keep in mind it also significantly impacts accounting, customer service, sales and management.

Shortly after using one of our shipping software solutions Powered by CPS, many business owners tell us that they don’t know why they were using the carrier-supplied shipping systems in the first place.  They suddenly realize that much of what took so long in their old shipping process was never necessary in the first place.  Besides the obvious savings using CPS rate shopping features, company employees will be saving time due to the simplicity of a multi-carrier shipping system.  Other functions in your business will gain visibility into the order lifecycle and your customers will reap the rewards of a more efficient fulfillment process.  It is a win all around!

There are so many good reasons to use a multi-carrier system versus the “free” carrier supplied system.   A carrier certified, multi-carrier system Powered by CPS is designed to meet the needs of the shipper.  With carrier supplied systems, the carriers needs always come first.  Carriers develop their “free” systems to capture specific data from each package and produce carrier compliant labels.  These needs are what drive the carriers to provide these ‘free” systems to their customers, who number in the hundreds of thousands.  These “give away” shipping systems are not designed for specific industries or for specific types of shippers.  They are designed to provide specific data and carrier compliant labels, to make the carrier more profitable!

Shipping Software Solutions Powered by CPS
A true carrier-neutral multi-carrier system is designed with you, the shipper, in mind. That’s why we bundle the carriers into one single solution with one user interface and one source for your shipping data. That’s why a multi-carrier system provides tools that help you to better manage your customers and help you to increase sales and satisfy customers. That’s why a multi-carrier system Powered by CPS shipping software provides tools that help you connect to a variety of systems like your order entry, accounting, website or warehouse management system, providing important shipping data to the shipping software and getting valuable shipment tracking information in return.  In short, multi-carrier shipping was designed for YOU, the one who depends on shipping products to YOUR customers in the fastest way possible and at the best possible shipping cost.

For more information about why it makes sense to use shipping software solutions Powered by CPS in your business visit and take a look at our free whitepapers located at   To start the savings today, visit and click on Start Shipping to order.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What USPS Barcode Should Be Used for Packages to Insure Holiday Delivery?

Are You Using the Right USPS Labels?
Barcode technology for USPS packages has changed a lot over the last few years and if your shipping software has not changed along with it, your packages may not be able to be tracked this holiday season, or they may even be delayed!  On the other hand, if your shipping software has been kept up-to-date with all the changes, then you are well-positioned to receive all the discounts and greatly upgraded tracking capabilities USPS provides.

How do you know if your shipping software has been kept up-to-date with these new USPS requirements?

This article will provide you with some direction and lets you know if your shipping software is doing it right to ensure that your packages reach their destination on time, with tracking and at the best possible price.

First, let’s talk about the USPS barcodes of the past.  Before implementing Intelligent Mail barcodes, USPS had POSTNET and Planet Code barcodes.  For example POSTNET barcodes would have looked something like this:

Old USPS POSTNET Barcode Example

As described above, POSTNET has been replaced by the Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) (also known as OneCode Solution or 4-State Customer Barcode).  IMb combines all previous Postal Service barcodes and puts them into a single barcode for letters and flats.   The IMb looks similar to the POSTNET barcode at a glance, but is very different in content.  The new IMb barcodes look like this:

New USPS IMb Example

What is the right Intelligent Mail barcode for packages?

For letters and flats, IMb technology is used but this type of barcode is not used for packages.  For packages there are specially formatted labels with Intelligent Mail package barcodes (IMpb) that look like this:

New USPS Package Labels and IMpb Examples

The Intelligent Mail barcodes for letters and flats were originally required beginning May 2011, however, the USPS postponed the requirement date, allowing mailers to continue receiving automation discount rates using the POSTNET barcode after the May 2011 deadline.  We have been told that the extension has expired and the POSTNET barcodes are no longer used by USPS.

For packages, effective January 27, 2013, barcode requirements changed.  At that time, package shippers receiving discounts had to switch to the Intelligent Mail package barcode (IMpb) along with other special labeling requirements.  The IMpb and the new labeling requirements are now mandatory for all tracking and Extra Services barcodes, and includes all First-Class Package Services, Parcel Select, Parcel Select Light Weight, Bound Printed Matter, Media Mail, and Library Mail parcels in order to receive special presort and destination entry pricing.  

Without using properly formatted labels and IMpb technology, packages could be delayed as they may need to have special handling to be processed!

The new package labels have several important changes to help your packages get delivered on time.  When a USPS package moves from your business to your customer’s location, it passes through many hands and is processed by several different types of equipment.  The new labels standards developed by USPS are to insure that this happens as efficiently as possible.  Therefore, it is very important that all of your USPS labels contain all the new components and are done correctly on each and every label if you plan to get the service you expect.  

Some of the new USPS changes include things like new Service Icons so all USPS services used for packages will be easily recognized by handlers and new Service Banners, with all the correct service names, that also further reinforces handling accuracy.  Also included is the all-important new Intelligent Mail package barcode (IMpb) that should be on each and every package label so it is properly sorted and tracked.  Click here for information on the new USPS package labeling requirements using IMpb.

The new tracking capabilities alone make using the new IMpb barcodes invaluable when it comes to making sure your customers receive their holiday orders on time and they provide you with the ability to track your package if there are any delivery issues.  Click here to learn more information about IMpb barcodes for USPS packages.

For this holiday season, the IMpb barcodes and new label formats should be used for every package shipped using USPS. That is, if you want your packages to be delivered on time, at the best price and with the ability to be tracked…and who doesn’t want that?

If your current shipping software does not support the new barcode and label format requirements, we highly recommend you find a shipping system that does so as soon as possible before the holiday crunch.  

All of Harvey Software’s current shipping software that is Powered by CPS and supports USPS package services also supports the new IMpb barcodes and is fully carrier certified along with being quick and easy to install.  Our USPS shipping software solutions have options for both IMpb compliant on-line Internet postage and USPS eVS package processing for high volume package shippers.  So, if your current shipping software solution cannot be upgraded to take advantage of the new IMpb label requirements, let us help.  Click here to see our current products for options.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

How Do I Offer Free Shipping?

Is Free Shipping Right for Your Company?
Now more than ever, all on-line stores should be looking at the marketing value of offering the right shipping choices, including free shipping, to maximize sales, market size and return on investment.  The days are over when you can just pass on the costs to the customer and expect to close the sale.  Try that with today’s savvy Internet shopper and you will lose them to your competitors!

A recent study by Forrester Research, Inc says low prices and low delivery costs are the top two reasons visitors revisit an e-tailing site, according to an article titled “Free shipping, more than fast shipping, draws consumers back” at   For this reason, you cannot afford to not consider using free shipping, or at the very minimum, flat rate shipping for your company.  Click here to see the Internet Retailer article.

So, the first questions should really be…

Should I offer free shipping?  Will my sales increase by offering free shipping?  How do I evaluate if free shipping is right for my company?

That is more than we can get into for this post, but a great article is titled “How to Offer Free Shipping without Going Broke”, found at, explores these questions with a very good discussion about deciding if free shipping is right for your company.  Click here to see the Web Marketing Today article.

We have published our own whitepaper discussing free shipping titled “Offer Free Shipping and Increase Sales” that you should download.  This whitepaper discusses many additional topics that help you decide if free shipping will help you increase sales.  Click here to download this free whitepaper on free shipping.

Knowing free shipping is not for everyone the next questions should be…

Should I offer flat rate shipping?  Will flat rate shipping increase my sales and my market size when I cannot make free shipping work?

Stop Abandoned Shopping Carts with Solutions Powered by CPS
To explore questions covering how flat rate shipping can change everything from increasing your sales to increasing the market size you service, we have also published a whitepaper on this subject, titled “Internet Retailer’s Guide to Reducing Shopping Cart Abandonment”.  Even though the title does not say it can help you with this, this is one of our most popular downloaded whitepapers and has received many comments about how a business can change just by changing how shipping costs are handled!  Click here to download this free whitepaper on flat rate shipping.

If you decide that flat rate shipping is right for your company, Shopify has a handy article titled “Shipping Rate Strategies for Your Online Store”, explaining how to effectively offer flat rate shipping at your web site to maximize its sales closing appeal.  Click here to read this article on shipping rate strategies.

Ship More for Less with CPS Smart RateBots
Once you have made the right choice concerning what is right for your company, it is time to look at the tools you will need to get the job done efficiently.  Tools like those found in all our Powered by CPS products are a great place to start.  Click here for some ideas of features you should be looking for to lower your shipping costs so you can offer the right type of shipping for your company.

So, if you think free shipping or flat rate shipping is not right for your company, there is a very good chance this is negatively affecting your sales!  We highly recommend that our readers take a careful look at all the articles and whitepapers listed above.  You will be very pleasantly surprised!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Low Cost Shipping, Great Delivery Times with USPS

There is no question that considering several carriers’ service options for each package you ship can save money and increase your customers’ satisfaction.  With the right shipping software, this process can be easily automated. 

Likely, you also know that putting all your eggs in one basket with a single carrier can greatly restrict your ability to be competitive in your marketplace and even cause you to lose sales.  For these reasons, USPS should be one of the many carriers you consider in your decision mix.

In the past USPS shipping rates, even though they were price competitive, may have not been considered as reliable as other carriers when it came to package tracking and reliable delivery times, but that is changing rapidly.  USPS tracking is now very competitive and they are working very hard to greatly improve the reliability USPS delivery times.  For these reasons, we feel USPS is becoming a very viable choice to consider for normal daily shipping.

The following are a few reasons you should consider including USPS in your shipping choices to optimize your daily shipping needs.

Excellent Pricing for Residential Delivery and Lighter Packages is One Good Reason

For lighter packages, especially those going a residence, this is a sweet spot for the Post Office.  For the lightest shipments, those under 13 ounces, the prices for USPS First Class with USPS Delivery Confirmation are hard to beat.  Look more at their prices and you'll see that for packages over 13 ounces and up to 5 pounds or so, Priority Mail service with Delivery Confirmation is extremely competitive, especially for residential deliveries.  Plus, when you use Internet postage (or USPS eVS) to ship your packages, Delivery Confirmation for Priority Mail and First-Class is free.  Finally, use a shipping software system like those Powered by CPS and the shipping choice can be selected automatically with rate comparisons you define so you'll always get the best price for the delivery time you have chosen.  Let's face it, that's reason #1.

No Address Correction Fees is Another Good Reason

Sure, you can give the post office a package with an address to which delivery cannot be made.  But, free delivery to a forwarding address is part of their service, with no additional charges incurred.  Sometimes (granted, not every time), they even deliver a package when the address is close but not 100% accurate.  Both of these can put you dollars ahead of the additional charges for address correction you'll see from other carriers when address mistakes happen.  This is another good reason to ship with the Post Office.

This last reason is both good and bad.  No address correction fees are great for the occasional mistake, but why even chance your USPS package getting lost, over charged or mishandled in the first place?  When the right shipping software system like those Powered by CPS, address verification can be added for a very low cost and be used for every package, if you wish.  The correct addresses on your packages saves you time and money, satisfies customers with timely delivery and is best done at the time of shipping, right before the package leaves your business.

Many companies price shop each package to lower shipping costs.  The better address verification programs, like those found in shipping software Powered by CPS, tell you if the destination is a commercial or residential address so the right type of delivery service is used for price comparisons.  If you use the USPS in combination with other carriers, this becomes key to maximizing your savings on several fronts.

So, the next time you ship, make sure you consider all the options.  Do this right, and you can save hundreds, even thousands of dollars per month!  For a good example of the savings you might see by utilizing all the options when you ship with a true multi-carrier software system, visit and check out the Estimated Savings Calculator at the top of the page.  It allows you to enter in how much you ship and give you an idea of how much you can save using more than one carrier and all the right tools.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Correctly Documenting International Shipments for Successful, Timely Deliveries

Correctly Documenting International Shipments for Successful, Timely Deliveries

With the previously provided info regarding international customs forms in hand, what's next? Well, more information is needed, of course. It is the government, after all!  But without the correct information for customs, your packages can be stuck en route or even returned. That’s expensive and does not make your international customers smile. Our CPS Shipping Software is a multi-carrier shipping system that records this important international shipping data as well as the ability to print shipping labels and customs forms.

To complete your commercial invoice and certificate of origin forms, here are some of the items that may be needed and should always be available when shipping international packages. In addition to the value and description of your products, you should also have information about your federal id number, the country of origin of the goods you are shipping and the terms of sale.

For the commercial package carriers, you will need to provide information details about the products contained in your packages so you can provide the commercial invoice and NAFTA or non-NAFTA certificate of origin. For the USPS, for the 2976A form, you will need to decide how you want non-deliveries treated. The USPS has two customs forms, the 2976/CN22 and the 2976A/CP72. Why two designations for each form? I have never seen an explanation for that, but you may see any of these form numbers referred to by the USPS. The good news is the CPS(TM) shipping software supports both the 2976 and 2976A forms for the USPS and the Commercial Invoice and Certificate of Origin for CPS supported carriers. A good, not too complicated explanation of when each form is needed is at

And, like most infomercials or TV product commercials, but wait – there’s more! A Shipper's Export Declaration (SED) is another form that may need to be provided.  "May need" because shipment value is part of its requirements. Starting July 2, 2008, the Census Bureau requires mandatory filing of export information through the Automated Export System (AES) or through the AESDirect for all shipments where a Shipper’s Export Declaration (SED) is required. For more information, visit this web site:

Next time, we'll wrap up this international shipping information, and put a bow on it just in time for holiday shipping! If streamlining your international shipping is on your shipping department “to do” list, then check out our Web site for additional information about CPS.  Visit