The CPS National Carrier Updates are now available for download. These updates are essential for CPS to function properly, and will install automatically when the Daily Entry program is started next week. On or after Monday, January 2nd, 2012, the update will become critical, and users will be prompted to complete it. There is no charge for the update, and downtime is minimal, so we expect that our customers will be back to shipping just minutes after starting this update. The complete update notes can be viewed in the CPS On-Line Support directory inside the CPS for Windows folder—just find the entry for December 27th, 2011. Below we have selected a few of the updated features to display in our blog.
CPS Feature Updates
This update contains several new features that customers will be happy to see. The automatic backup path must now go to a drive other than the C: drive of the shipping computer, insuring our customers a backup separated from the location of the main program. Also, customers will be able to write-back the carrier and service used for the package using the ODBC External Link. Customers will also be able to do package archives into a .zip format in order to save hard drive space for package records. CPS for Mail Order Manager users doing batch processing can now put the M.O.M. company name into the field chosen by the CPS user. Also, if the Address Verification Module standardizes an address longer than the address field length, CPS will display a dialog box with the standardized address so the shipper can override the changes if needed.
The FedEx, SpeeDee, and UPS rates, fuel surcharges, and accessorial charges have been updated to 2012 rates. These changes install automatically when the update is installed, and users who complete the update will have all of the updated published rates.
We now support UPS Return Services, including Returns Flexible Access and Returns Exchange. We also added support for FedEx Ground “Hold At Location” services. SpeeDee customers have new options for their shipping label formats including a signature option. There are a few updates within CPS to the DYMO Endicia interface, which can be viewed within the CPS On-Line Support directory. Please note that Endicia updates its DAZzle software independently of Harvey Software, and users of both services will need to check with Endicia regarding those updates.
Perhaps the biggest change will come to those shippers using USPS Mail Manifesting for international shipments. New federal customs and export control regulations and policies require customs information to be submitted electronically to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection prior to the shipments leaving the country. This change becomes effective January 22nd, 2012, and it impacts shippers who present hard-copy permit imprint mail manifests created in CPS and/or using USPS-produced privately printed customs forms for Express Mail International (EMI) and Priority Mail International (PMI).
This change does NOT affect any shipper using DYMO Endicia Internet postage or any other form of USPS service supported in CPS or provided by any other CPS supported carriers. In fact, we recommend switching to an Internet postage service such as Endicia in order to transition from hard-copy mail manifesting. For more information regarding this transition for mail manifest users, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 1-800-231-0296
Effective January 2, 2012 the UPS fuel surcharge for Domestic Air and International will decrease from 14.00% to 12.50%. The fuel surcharge for Ground will decrease from 8.50% to 8.00%. These surcharges will remain in effect through February 5, 2012.
New Years Week Holiday Hours
Harvey Software realizes that many of you have just completed a very busy time of year and you would like a breather but there is just one last task you need to complete - the National Update for 2012.
We will be closed Monday, January 2, 2012 for the holiday. On Monday, January 2, 2012 we will continue to insure our servers will be active 24/7, and our On-Line Support Internet based support will remain available. We will return to our normal hours on Tuesday, January 3, 2012.
Important Notice: Starting Tuesday, December 27, 2011 through Friday, December 30, 2011 support will be for national update issues only. All other issues will be by appointment as time allows. This policy will continue on Tuesday, January 3, 2012 through Friday, January 13, 2012.
The staff of Harvey Software would like to thank you for your continued business and we wish you a very happy and prosperous New Year!
Friday, December 30, 2011
Friday, December 23, 2011
After the big game, fans file out of the stadium, players retire to the locker room for ice baths and showers, and talking heads find the biggest headlines, flashiest highlights and maybe a conflict or two. But even after the game is over, the coaches’ work continues. After the post-game talks and interviews, coaches have miles of game tape to review. What went well? What did the other team do? Who are my stars, and who needs help? What do we need to fix? What can we do to make things more efficient, to improve communication, to win more?
For many businesses, the holiday shopping season is THE big game. Everyone prepares for months for one big push of sales. The best time to ask the post-game questions is when they are fresh in everyone’s mind, right after the game ends. Even if the necessary changes are not immediately put into place, the notes will be the starting point when planning for next year.
Check everything: from marketing to sales, receiving to shipping, management to first-line employees. Talk to employees—chances are, they know what their biggest headaches were, and they will be quick to tell you. Very likely behind those “headaches” you will find portions of your processes that are inefficient time-hogs. This is where attention needs to be paid, and creative ideas found for the future.
The shipping process is a frequent topic on industry blogs and websites. That’s because the transition point where your product leaves your hands and goes to your customer’s is a crucial, unforgiving part of your business. Everything has to be just right for this process to work smoothly, and what works when sales are slow can suddenly be difficult to sustain when order volume swells. Here are some specific questions to ask about your shipping process
Accuracy: Is the address correct? Are you incurring address correction/returned package charges? Do your labels print correctly? Is the correct and most efficient shipping method being chosen for every package? Is your customer receiving their package in the time promised? Is everything still accurate when volume goes up during the holidays? For most, this topic is the highest priority. When everything is accurate, things run smoothly. Mistakes are expensive and take lots of extra time to figure out.
Speed: How long does each order take, from picking to packing to staging? How many orders are going through per hour? Is there a particular bottleneck to your system? And, how long does it take information to get from shipping to customer service and accounting? Chances are there are just one or two parts of the process that slow everything else down. If you focus your attention there and make improvements, the whole business will notice things running more smoothly.
Cost: Ok, so what’s the bottom line? How much did shipping cost us this year? How much employee time is spent on processing those outbound shipements? And, most importantly, how much did we profit? Are there places we can reduce costs without sacrificing accuracy or speed? Could we save money on the shipping costs from the carriers? Are there other carrier options that I haven’t considered before? CPS shipping software users can ask the question-how much more would I have to spend if I was using only one carrier to ship my packages? Both accuracy and speed can impact cost as well, but check out your shipping reports. Taking a strategic look at your shipping spend can offer a lot of insight into your customers’ behavior as well as give you an idea of what to negotiate with your carrier representatives.
After auditing your business’s operation, did you find any places where your software was the culprit? CPS shipping software from Harvey Software provides an accurate, fast, and cost effective solution for your multi-carrier shipping system needs. The software pays for itself with just moderate monthly volume, and many other benefits makes it a no-brainer. This blog contains many informative posts regarding specific CPS features that can improve your business processes. Of course, you can always find out more about CPS shipping software at http://www.HarveySoft.com, or call us at 1-800-231-0296.
Friday, December 16, 2011
Believe it or not, in just one short week, we will have another successful holiday season behind us. This year is forecast to be the biggest shopping season ever for online retailers. A popular idea this year was offering weekly specials in the two weeks following Thanksgiving, which allowed retailers and shippers alike to spread the volume of orders over a week rather than being focused on a single, Cyber Monday type promotion. This also highlights the flexibility of online shopping, which more and more consumers are flocking to for their holiday gift-giving.
This is the busiest week of the year for a number of our customers which also means the carriers are carrying their peak volumes. This past Monday, FedEx reported its highest volume ever shipped: 17 million packages. UPS workers are working considerable overtime to make sure packages get to their destination at their guaranteed delivery times. USPS expects this coming Monday to be its busiest delivery day this year. At these peak shipping times having a multi-carrier shipping system is incredibly beneficial. You save time, you save money, and you are able to maintain useful records on shipping data that can help you save on shipping next year, too. If you are NOT using multi-carrier shipping software, check out HarveySoft.com for more info.
So it’s about time to start looking forward to next year. Harvey Software releases its National Carrier Updates for its CPS shipping software customers each year between Christmas and New Year’s. The annual CPS shipping software updates assure compliance with each carrier’s rates and services. This compliance is essential for CPS to accurately report shipping rates, and this accuracy ensures that our customers are able to choose the best shipping service for every package, an essential advantage of a multi-carrier shipping system.
The CPS 2012 National Carrier Updates will be available for download beginning on Tuesday, December 27th, 2011. It will be an optional download for one week. On or after January 2nd, 2012, the update will become critical and essential in order for CPS to function. Please make plans accordingly to allow your shipping stations time to be properly updated. Downtime is minimal and your shipping stations will be up and running again in no time. For the latest information about the update and the corresponding notes that go with it, please find the On-Line Support Menu in the CPS for Windows folder. Click on “Notices and Updates”, and you will have access to the most up-to-date information.
Many other 3rd party shipping software developers charge extra for updates, but Harvey Software includes them in our regular service agreement price. Other than running the update there is no other action you need to take.
We hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable holiday season and we look forward to serving you in the new year.
Friday, December 9, 2011
Here Are Holiday Shipping Deadlines: Your Multi-Carrier Shipping System Can Help You Profit From the Carriers Competing For Your Business
Holiday shopping is already at the front of everyone’s mind. If you are a last minute brick and mortar shopper, then your deadline is Dec. 24th at 11:59pm (if they’re even open that late!). But with online shopping, you do have to do a little bit of pre-planning to make sure your friends and family get their gifts on time. Below are several deadlines the carriers set for guaranteed delivery. As your business makes final plans for that last push, remember to account for these deadlines in the promises you make to your customer. And also remember, this information is provided automatically in CPS shipping software: CPS RateBots, Smart RateBots, and the Best Way Calculator work together to instantly show this information for every package.
FedEx Ground® Dec. 16th
FedEx Express Saver® Dec. 20th
FedEx 2Day® Dec. 21st (Dec. 22nd with Saturday Surcharge)
FedEx Overnight® Dec. 22nd (Dec. 23rd with Saturday Surcharge)
UPS Ground® Dec. 15-22nd
UPS 3 Day Select® Dec. 20th
UPS 2nd Day Air® Dec. 22nd (must be labeled for Saturday)
UPS Next Day Air® Dec. 23rd (must be labeled for Saturday)
Parcel Post® Dec. 15th
First Class Mail® Dec. 20th
Priority Mail® Dec. 21st
Express Mail® Dec. 22nd
Note that UPS provides an overall window for their ground service deadlines, which varies based on origin and destination. FedEx makes a hard guarantee on the 16th, but would also have delivery guarantees for later dates based on origin and destination.
CPS shipping software tells users the exact arrival date available for every package for both UPS and FedEx. Consider utilizing the full features like Smart RateBots, which automatically chooses the best method based on both delivery time and cost. By taking advantages of these available features, businesses can reduce shipping costs, save time, and add to their profits in this importance time of the year. For more information, please visit www.HarveySoft.com.
Friday, December 2, 2011
How often do you check to see if your packages are delivered to the right address? Of if they even make it onto the carrier trucks. And if this is not happening, what to do next?
Re-labeling packages, shipping packages that don't belong to your company, changing addresses, deleting packages - all of these can happen and have happened. You might have years of trusted service from a key employee, you check references, do background checks, put systems in place, but something doesn't seem right. You seem to have too many orders that need to be reshipped. Or your shipping costs seem high according your shipping budget forecast of shipping X number of boxes that weigh Y pounds. This kind of problem can be hard to pin down, even when you see the "red flags" that you are sure mean you have a problem. Here's where multi-carrier shipping software might help you.
In the CPS(TM) shipping software, you have quick access to your shipping history data so you can search and analyze your shipping information. For example, after recently noticing something wasn't right with their shipping, one CPS shipper extracted their shipping data, looked for patterns that did not match their normal shipping, and discovered there was no order ID information with some of their shipping records. More research into these records zeroed in on the problem and helped find the employee responsible. In another instance, shipments for already processed and labeled packages were voided. The addresses were altered at the time of shipping. Even though the shipments were deleted in the CPS shipping software, the labels with illicit addresses were already printed and the package given to the carriers for delivery. With a special setting, CPS wrote the data for every voided package to a file for monitoring. Following this trail of voided packages then led back to the person who was scamming the company. These are examples of looking at the problem "after the fact".
To stop a problem before it happens, one way is to use a data lookup to read the shipping data into CPS, then prevent the shipping software operator from changing or voiding the address in the shipping system. In CPS, there is a setting so if the shipper tries to edit the shipping address fields, a window pops up requiring a password in order to make any change.
It's hardly ever possible to watch what happens to every package in your shipping department. Tools in your shipping system like these in the CPS shipping software give you the power and information to stop these problems if they occur, or even before they occur.
To find out more about the CPS multi-carrier shipping system, visit our web site at www.HarveySoft.com.