Sunday, December 20, 2009

What do you mean, there's no Internet?

That's not something you want to hear when you have packages to ship. Today, Internet service is pretty reliable. But there are system outages, cut cables, and other Broadband connection disasters that happen. And anytime your Internet service goes down, you know that sinking feeling since you don't know if it's going to be gone for 2 minutes, 2 days or 2 weeks. When you depend, as so many do today, on the Internet for your shipping and other business functions (your VOIP phone system!), being without the Internet for even an hour can be a real problem. Even worse, you cannot control this. Or can you?

Well, there is something you can do. Get a second Internet service. If you use DSL, get cable. If you're using cable, get DSL. If one fails, it's very likely the other will be working. Normally you'll use the fastest connection for your day-to-day operations, changing only if there is a problem. After you sign up for the second Internet service, making it work is pretty simple. You can do something as simple as move the network cable between the router and your network switch from the DSL router to the cable router. A more elegant solution (and not that costly) is to use a Dual WAN router that connects to both Internet modems. The Hotbrick router is one example of a Dual WAN router. Connect both modems to the Dual WAN router, then setup the router to connect to the cable and DSL services.

That's it, and you've just added a great layer of inexpensive insurance for your business. Now, your shipping department, your VOIP phone system, the email connection to your customers - all of your mission critical business functions are protected with this inexpensive, redundant Internet connection. Another plus? The right Dual WAN router can let you use both Internet services at the same time to give you an even faster connection when they are both working. You win both ways with this.

Happy Connected Holidays!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Beware of Credit Card Fraud Schemes Coming from Singapore

We normally don’t discuss these types of issues but we felt this could potentially affect many of our customers and readers. The U.S. Department of Commerce recently received reports from companies in Florida that were almost victims of this latest credit card scheme. Thanks to the Department of Commerce alerts, the companies avoided being swindled. But if you are not careful, your company might not be so lucky.

American Internet retailers selling globally remain a primary target for credit card fraud schemes using Singapore as the purported ordering point and shipping destination. Detailed information on these fraud schemes can be found at:

The orders normally range from US $5,000 to US $30,000. The buyer places the order via telephone or Internet email correspondence. The buyer either splits the total purchase price between several cards or makes several attempts (using multiple credit card numbers) to complete the transaction. Once the transaction/credit card number(s) are accepted, the buyer requests immediate air shipment. Not aware of the fraud that has just occurred; the merchant complies with the customer’s request of an expedited shipment to a legitimate freight forwarder in Singapore. The merchant will then receive a chargeback from the credit card company after the card is reported stolen. By that time the goods have been transshipped out of Singapore and are unrecoverable.

The FBI is working with the Singapore Police and other law enforcement agencies in the region to combat this crime. If you suspect that you are in receipt of a fraudulent order and would like to verify its legitimacy, please contact your local U.S. Department of Commerce office, or the Commercial Service at the U.S. Embassy in Singapore at:

U.S. Commercial Service
Tel: [+65] 6476-9037
Fax: [+65] 6476-9080

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Put Best-Price Shopping for Time Sensitive Packages on Auto-Pilot

Rate shopping is something you expect in a multi-carrier shipping system. How about time shopping? By that, I mean getting the best rate for a time definite delivery? That's something you may not see in every multi-carrier shipping system. Real-time, best price control of time-guaranteed carrier services with Smart Ratebots™ is recently introduced in our CPS™ Shipping Software is. The concept for this powerful shipping optimization tool is simple.

Let’s say a package needs to be delivered tomorrow. If delivery tomorrow is guaranteed by ground service, why use a more expensive express service for the same result? Not every package that must arrive within a specific time needs to be shipped by an express service. Many companies just use the express service without considering alternatives. Free shipping and other holiday shipping offers, especially as the holidays come closer, may have delivery date promises included. Smart RateBots give shippers alternatives and even make this an automated choice. The shipper completely controls the decisions made by Smart RateBots, which means they control their shipping cost. Companies today want this kind of shipping system power and the significant savings it brings.

If you have time sensitive documents, perishables and other packages that need to be delivered within a specific number of days, use Smart RateBots for the best priced delivery for all your packages.

If you would like to see how Smart RateBots work in CPS click here...

Friday, October 30, 2009

Oil Affecting Your Bottom Line - (AGAIN!)

Just a quick note…It looks like the carrier's fuel surcharges may not change much for this season's biggest shipping days. Effective 11/2/09, the surcharge decreases for air/international and stays constant for ground shipping. The ground surcharge has been inching is way up since July, and the air/international has bounced around a little. Although they don't appear to be changing much, you still loose track of 4-6% of your shipping costs if you do not account for them.

Make sure your shipping system can let you know about the total cost to ship a package, including the fuel surcharge. Our CPS shipping software notifies the user when the fuel surcharge changes and provides the option to update it for UPS packages. The fuel surcharge is automatically included for FedEx packages. Currently there is no fuel surcharge for USPS packages…I wonder if that can last?

Oil prices are really bouncing around, so keeping up with the fuel surcharge on a monthly basis is just good business.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Considering a Mail Consolidation Service for Last Minute Shipping Bargains? Questions to Ask...

Each year, especially at holiday time, shippers receive offers for better shipping rates from one of the hybrid services that combine a regular package carrier with final delivery by the US post office. The savings that are promised are often attention getting. From calls we receive, it appears there is strong competition for smaller packages weighing 15 pounds and less.

Are these services the best for you and your customers? Here are some things our CPS multi-carrier shipping software users who use some of these services with CPS suggest considering as you evaluate using these services, especially at this most important time of the year.

Package Delivery Time

Ask how long it takes to deliver a package compared to their normal delivery service. This includes finding out what path the package takes. It's possible for packages to go from your business to a consolidation warehouse, then be held there until there are enough consolidated packages to forward to their destination. If there is a delay like that, is that acceptable to you? This process can vary according to your location, so it's an important question. Finally, how does holiday volume affect delivery times?


If a package cannot be delivered or is refused, how is it handled? Is there an additional cost if a package is returned? Will you know it has not been delivered? You need to know what to expect so you can tell you customers.


We've heard reports of billing for these services not matching the promised rates. Will you receive enough information from the carrier to be able to check your bill? How are unexpected billing issues handled for the hybrid service?


Ask how you and your customers can track packages. Today's customers expect a tracking number and package information with just a "click". If delivery takes longer than the customer expect, being able to track a package without a call to your customer service department is important.

The carriers are also negotiating rates for their regular services that you already depend on. A multiple carrier shipping like our CPS shipping software can automatically rate shop for the best price using your company's rates. You can still get great rates for every package and get the service you (and your customers) expect.

Weigh the answers to these questions above and be sure you choose the best service for your business.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Merchandise Returns, Multi-Carrier Shipping Software and Great Customer Service

Great customer service is an important part of sales. Making returns easy is part of great customer service. It's a fact of online business that some merchandise will be returned. Sometimes to exchange for another size, another color, or perhaps the wrong item was ordered. How well these are handled can define repeat business. Make it easy for your customers and they will be back and sing your praises. If you provide a return label with every order you ship, your customers know you are there to help. So, how can a shipping system help with this?

Many shipping systems handle the different carriers' return services. The trick is to make it easy for you like you are doing for your customers. In some shipping systems you may have to create a separate shipping record for each return. That's an extra, time consuming set of steps. Not easy and not good for you. Mass printing return labels can be done, but then there is nothing identifying the order on the label. There is another way, and your shipping system can help.

The US Postal Service Merchandise Return Service is an established, accepted way to handle returns. In our CPS shipping software, there is a setting to print a USPS return services label automatically for every package shipped. It does not matter which carrier you use to ship the package to the customer. Ship the package and the carrier's label is printed and then the USPS return label. The return label has information about the order so it's easy to match up the incoming merchandise. You don't pay unless the item is returned. Easy again.

This year, make it easy for yourself and your customers to do business with your company. Use your shipping system for fast delivery and to help with returns. That's an effortless sales builder.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Do I Need a Backup?

"This computer will not start up. What should I do?"

That's a computer statement that no one wants to hear. This is bad in any department and it's a real problem when this happens in the shipping department. If you suddenly lose your shipping computer, it's a good bet that the next question will be "Is there a backup?". If the answer is "No", what follows will either be silence or bad words. So what's the best plan to keep your shipping computer and others as safe as possible? It's a fact that computers still fail without any warning and what follows is either a real pain or relief that the planned backup system has saved the day.

If you have information on a computer that is absolutely, positively necessary for your business, it should be backed up. It's easier than you might think. You can make local backups, you can use an online service, and some applications (such as our CPS™ shipping software) have a built-in backup to save those specific applications and their data. Local backups might be set up by your network person, or you might just copy your important files to a file server using a backup application, Windows Explorer or the Windows backup program. Online backup systems include and Symantec. There are solutions out there to help make your data safer.

Keep in mind there is both direct computer failure as well as indirect computer data loss to think about. Data corruption due to a power failure, files that are deleted accidentally (or otherwise), and other things happen. A current backup can save the day. And use a battery backup. Be ready.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Using Free Shipping to Make More Sales

We've talked a couple of times about free shipping. According to one survey, free shipping offers are up this year compared to last year. Free shipping should always be used to gain more business, not just give away the shipping cost - a profit and sales tool, not a giveaway. But there's more to it than just posting "FREE SHIPPING".

Generally, a free shipping offer gives the best return when it's matched to products and services for consumers. And the products offered are important. For example, overstock merchandise sales do not benefit as much with free shipping offers. Current products that have caught consumers' interest respond much better when matched with a free shipping offer. Also, always offering free shipping can reduce its success. Offering free shipping for a limited time typically provides superior results.

A final note-
When preparing marketing, whether email or other, keep in mind that a limited-time free shipping offer provides better results for the more popular items and services sold to consumers. Moving away from any of these points can definitely affect sales results.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Today's Dirty Word - AbandondedShoppingCarts (And How to Stop Them)

Want more orders from your online store? Of course we know the answer to that. Shopping cart abandonment is up to 25% higher than previous years - now estimated as high as 59%. This trend matches the estimate that on each shopping trip, brick-and-mortar shoppers choose and then leave at least one item in their cart. With the year's biggest order season coming, right now is the time to get your strategy in place to keep the most orders possible.

Why this rise in abandoned carts? There are several reasons, but the top reasons always include surprise charges at the end of the transaction. Technology problems and consumer confusion also contribute. Once you are sure your shopping site is competitive, consider if your buying process is competitive. A surprise charge, such as an unexpected handling charge or a shipping charge too high, will make a buyer just say "Bye!" What else can help? Another strategy that has been successful is requiring fewer steps during checkout.

A number of experts and Internet entrepreneurs find that it is very important to display shipping charges before checking out to avoid shopping cart abandonment. It's clear that flat rate shipping, strategically mixed with "free" shipping offers, combats this problem. Now, how to do this?

Free shipping is very easy to calculate but figuring out the right amount for flat-rate shipping takes a little more effort. If your company's actual carrier rates are in your shipping system, then use historical reporting directly from the shipping system. Our CPS shipping software goes a step further by providing a report showing average shipping cost per package and average shipping cost per pound. With just a few mouse clicks you can keep tabs on your shipping costs for any period of time by carrier and service to accurately manage a flat rate shipping offer.

You can get these same numbers from the carrier bills, but its so much easier if you can just "Click" and see them. This example is for CPS, but look for similar reporting in your shipping system. Monitor your costs monthly and make adjustments for changes in average charges. You might supplement flat rate shipping with free shipping offers for special times of the year like holidays when competing for consumer dollars.

A number of experts and Internet entrepreneurs say it is very important to display shipping charges before checking out. Remember, no surprises! Flat rate charges let you give shoppers shipping cost information before you collect any information about them. This simplifies their shopping experience and gives you the best chance at a successful order. Make the process easy and help your customer click "Buy" instead of "Bye".

For more on this subject visit and read the free white paper entitled "Mail Order and Internet Retailer's Guide to Handling Shipping Costs".

Monday, August 3, 2009

USPS Flat-Rate Box 101 - Beating the Fuel Surcharge

At just one price and no matter the weight, you can save in several ways using US Postal Service flat-rate boxes. First, put in as much as will fit and pay just one price for shipping. Next, you can count on that price since there is no fuel surcharge for USPS shipping. Finally, the boxes are FREE. That's a really reasonable price!

Shipping cost is more than just how much the carrier charges to deliver a package. You also have to include the cost of the shipping box and materials. How do the carriers help? If you use the carriers' air services, each carrier provides boxes and envelopes at no cost to you. The USPS goes a step farther by providing shipping boxes for their air (Express) and their Priority Mail services. Another bonus, there is no dimensional weight to consider and no fuel surcharge to compute with USPS flat-rate boxes. For each of these services, the packaging is free - you pay only the postage. In contrast, the other carriers' air delivery boxes are subject to dimensional weight rating.

With a recent survey ( showing that 46% who abandoned carts did so because of high shipping fees, better shipping prices for your customers can mean more sales. USPS Priority Mail gives a wide choice of flat-rate envelopes and boxes. Choose from a flat-rate envelope as well as small, medium and large flat-rate boxes, each with a flat-rate price for domestic shipping and international shipping. More information about USPS supplied packaging materials is at

Will these boxes be right for every package? Maybe not, but whenever you can use them it's money you keep. Between the actual cost of the box, using flat-rate services and avoiding a fuel surcharge, smart use of these can sometimes save you up to $20 dollars per package! The important thing is to do the math and check the rates between all the carriers before you ship. Many shipping software packages like CPS do this all automatically for you.

Until next time…

Friday, July 31, 2009

Riding the Fuel Surcharge Roller Coaster

As oil prices dropped, the carrier's fuel surcharges for air and ground shipments also dropped. This was great for everyone - that is while it lasted. The two major US package carriers have posted their fuel surcharges starting August 3, 2009. Looks like the ride has started again. How much are they going up? Ground is increasing about 27% over the surcharge from July 1st. Air shipments are much more - a 550% increase over the surcharge from July 1st. That's a price increase you need to keep track of.

The fuel surcharge is calculated on fuel prices going two months back, so the rates for August are up even though we see lower gas prices recently. But how does this affect your shipping? After all, you still need to ship your packages. And how can your shipping system help?

First, make sure your shipping system can account for the fuel surcharge so it's included in rate calculations and rate comparisons. Next, check to see if the fuel surcharge amount is included in reports or data you use from your shipping system. This makes sure you can check your bills and charge your customers correctly. Here is how our CPS™ shipping software helps its users cope with these changing monthly figures.

The fuel surcharge is included with every rate calculation and rate comparison. That means the shipper always sees the correct shipping rate. Next, CPS provides a critical report that can be run quickly and at anytime. This report shows the average cost per box and per pound so you can quickly determine your "break even" shipping costs so you can decide how much you should be charging for shipping. We call it the "Flat Rate Calculator" since its shipping cost averages tell you the flat rate you need to charge so you do not lose dollars when charging customers for shipping.

A shipping system that handles the fuel surcharges so you have the best information keeps you in control of your shipping. And isn't that the idea?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

FREE Multi-Carrier Shipping Software?

Usually we write about shipping and ideas showing the ways that an automated shipping process can really help a company's profit. Of course, since it's our Blog, we also show how features in our CPS shipping software can help, but we also explain the features to look for in other systems, too. This Blog is different. This will still have an idea (or two!) for shippers to save, but this time we can't tell you what to look for in systems other than CPS. This is not because we are changing our direction, but rather there is not another shipping system we've seen that presents this new offer.

Would you like to use multi-carrier shipping software for FREE? Well, you can! Today's economic conditions are very complex. While we know our multi-carrier shipping products can help you save as you ship, we also realize that finding ways to lower your costs to do business is very important. Plus, the economy is stressing your customers. For these reasons, Harvey Software has created our all new Shipper Dollars program that can let you use our shipping products for FREE! That's something that no other shipping system provider gives you.

If you want to know the details about Harvey Software’s Shipper Dollars click here… The rewards are generous and it's easy to get into the program. Check it out today!

Until next time...

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Services Like UPS Mail Innovations® Offer Great Rates. Now What?

Have you been offered (or maybe read about) the new services that combine the package carriers' service with the post office doing final delivery? There are several. Since the UPS Mail Innovations service is a good example of these; I'm going to discuss that service that handles packages up to one (1) pound. The carriers will give you the pros and cons of the service but there is no doubt they do have really appealing rates. But how do you make the service work best for you?

There are obstacles. The special rates you get with this service may not be supported in your order management system so the order system cannot choose the service for you. You could pre-sort your packages after packing, but this can mean double handling packages and missing packages that could ship with this service and losing the maximum savings. This is where a shipping system can help. Here is how our CPS™ Shipping System handles this.

CPS seamlessly integrates UPS Mail Innovations into the CPS shipping software. This lets CPS users choose UPS Mail Innovations for any package, or shipper can let CPS RateBots™ automatically rate shop and choose UPS Mail Innovations so CPS users save with every qualifying package they ship. This type of seamless integration puts CPS users in the driver's seat. Anytime a shipping system lets a shipper take advantage of cost savings, the shipper wins.

Check with your shipping system provider to see how your system can work with these services. Visit if you would like to know more about CPS.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Reconciling Your Carrier Bill

When is the last time you checked your carrier bill? Not just looking at the bottom line to approve the check, but actually checking the bill to reconcile it to your shipping? If you are like many, the carrier bill doesn't easily match up to your shipping records, but you pay it anyway and hope it is right. Add multiple carriers to this, mix in special rate contracts with one or more carriers, and you have a very interesting accounting situation. Now, how do you make those numbers make sense?

Shipping systems can help with this. I'll use our CPS™ shipping software as an example. CPS has settings (we call them environment variables) that can send order reference data to the carriers and this reference data will appear on your bill. CPS also has historical shipping reports that can be selected by carrier. If you have a contract with special rates for a carrier, CPS can also show your company's specific rates, not just the carriers' published rates.

But how does this help? First, you can print the historical report for the billing period, by carrier, so you can pretty easily check the amounts on your bill using your company's rates. Unusual "after delivery" charges, like Saturday delivery and address correction charges (we have a module to help with this, but that's another article) may have to be factored in, but you can see pretty quickly if the bill seems right. Next, if you have shipments you need to verify, the reference data you send to the carrier lets you find the order in question in your records. Of course, the CPS shipping history stores information about the shipment, too. CPS also provides department reports to keep track of shipping costs according to your company's cost centers. Use these report and reference tools and you can take a knowledgeable look at your shipping bills.

Is it still an effort to reconcile a carrier bill? Yes. Can tools like these make it easier? You bet! Look for these tools in your shipping system, or visit if you would like to know more about CPS.

Or, you can just trust the carriers…

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Why Am I Being Charged a 70 Pound Rate for My 1 Pound Box?

Dimensional weight is how the carriers bill for the size or volume of a package in a shipment, not just the package weight. The concept is simple. Think of shipping the proverbial 1 pound box of feathers. It's a big box, but there is little weight. And that's the problem - too much space taken up for too little revenue.

To address this, dimensional weight was born. Carriers now want the box size along with the box weight so they get the revenue for the space as well as the weight. How does this affect you as a shipper? It's pretty basic - if you don't account for the correct box size and weight, you can get some real surprises on your carrier billing.

Providing the dimensions is important so that you know how much it will cost to ship a package. Carriers also categorize different box sizes into different dimensional price groups, so it's sometimes more complicated than just a simple calculation.

Shipping software systems handle this situation so that you are not ambushed by extra charges after you ship. Typically, you enter the box measurements, and then the shipping system takes over. Some shipping systems, like Harvey Software's Computerized Parcel System (CPS™), let you keep a data file with your box sizes so you only have to choose the right box type instead of entering the box dimensions every time.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Tired of Playing "Commercial/Residential Address" Roulette?

Address problems come in two categories. First, when the address is wrong, even if the customer typed it themselves. (When you have an online store, you discover that not everyone actually knows where they live!) Second, when you have pages of residential delivery fees that you didn't expect and did not charge to your customer. The first problem means you can have undeliverable packages (or packages with expensive address correction charges) making unhappy customers. The second problem of unexpected fees makes you unhappy. An additional layer to this problem is that address verification programs can cost in the thousands, so how can you make a solution for these problems cost effective?

Here is one way to solve this - address verification capability right in your shipping system. For example, Harvey Software makes an Address Verification Module (AVM) for its CPS shipping software. The AVM uses the USPS CASS certified database and: 1) Makes rate shopping happen correctly between residential and commercial services; 2) Warns you if the residential/commercial choice is incorrect; 3) Tells you when an address doesn't exist; 4) Lets you know that the address exists but is missing some key information such as suite number apt. #, etc.; and 5) Standardizes addresses to match the USPS CASS certified database. The cost for the AVM is just $199.95.

CPS is not the only shipping system that has this available, although the CPS AVM is definitely one of the least costly. Address checking in your shipping system is another way a good shipping system can help your company and put money on the bottom line.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Success Story - From Start Up to Leader

Alibris has announced that it grew sales for its sellers in the 2008 winter-holiday season by more than 8%, even as online book sales shrank 1% during that same period, according to reports. No surprise here.

From startup just over 10 years, today Alibris lists over 100 million volumes from over 15,000 book sellers participating in the Alibris network, with almost 1 million volumes stocked in their warehouse.

Early on, Alibris identified a need for the advanced technology required for low-cost logistics capabilities and a smooth, consistent order flow. Alibris chose Harvey Software's Computerized Parcel System (CPS™) to act as the heart of their shipping operation, including shipping with UPS.

"CPS provides robust technology as a solution to these issues."
VP of Operations

Read more here about Alibris and how CPS helps with their shipping issues.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Look for these advanced benefits in a shipping system to save money and optimize the daily shipping process:

  • Domestic and International shipping services supported

  • Automatically resolution of residential and commercial address status

  • Easy integration with in-house data and existing systems

  • Automatic determination of least cost way to ship using shipper created rate comparison codes

  • Easy to use cost monitoring reporting so users can offer flat rate or free shipping without worry

Getting the Best Rate for Every Package You Ship

Getting the best rate for each package involves several factors. One carrier may be best for lighter packages, another for heavier packages, still another for residential deliveries - plus you might get special incentives for your ground or air packages. Master these variables and you will control shipping costs like never before.

Satisfied with your current shipping system or could it use an update? Here are three things to look for so that you get the best for every shipment.

First, your shipping system needs to show you your company's actual shipping rates and have them available as each package is shipped. Make sure your shipping software company can work with the rates your company negotiated with the carrier. For the USPS, be sure your shipping system supports the Retail/Commercial Base/Commercial Plus rates from the USPS.

Next, you need accurate addresses. In addition, when you are shipping to residences and businesses, you avoid unexpected charges if you can determine the address classification as well check the accuracy of the address. Shipping systems with address checking modules can help with this right at the time the package is shipped.

Finally, you need a quick way to accurately compare between your company's actual or contracted rates with the carriers. You are not getting the whole job done if you are just comparing the carriers' published rates. Let's use our CPS shipping software with its RateBot™ feature as an example of how this can work for you. RateBots are automatic rate comparison codes to let you easily control price shopping. For example, set up a RateBot to get the best price for ground delivery service, then use that RateBot to price shop all of your ground packages. CPS even optionally determines if the address is commercial and residential, so the entire "best rate" process is hands-off, automatic and takes many factors into account. You can set up as many RateBots as you need, such as one for ground service, another for the best price on next day service, etc.

Harvey Software's CPS™ shipping software helps with each of these three "must have" shipping system items. Look for these features like these in your shipping system and start putting each carrier’s rates to work the best for you.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Is there a backup?

That's one computer question that no one likes to hear. It’s even less popular when the answer is "No". This is normally followed by either silence or bad words. Most of the time, computers, as reliable as they are, still fail without any warning. "It was working, but then…" And after that starts either a nightmare or the relief that the planned backup system has saved the day.

You can make local backups, you can use an online service, and some applications (such as our CPS™ shipping software) have a built-in backup to save those specific applications. Local backups might be set up by your network person, or you might just copy your important files to a file server using a backup application or Windows Explorer or the Windows backup program. Online backup systems include and Symantec. Finally, some applications have built-in features to backup themselves. So there are solutions out there to help make your data safer.

But it's not just a computer failure. Data corruption due to a power failure (we'll cover this in another Blog), files that are deleted accidentally (or otherwise), and other things happen. A current backup can save the day. Be ready.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Summary of Important 2009 Changes by the Major US Parcel Carriers

Now that the dust has settled on this year's shipping updates, here is a summary of major changes by each carrier. UPS and FedEx changes were effective 01/5/09 with the US Postal Service® changes effective 01/18/09. I've also listed any changes in our CPS™ shipping software that go along with the carrier changes.

For FedEx® Express, FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery shippers, there are new prices for 2009. This includes new rates for shipping and for services like COD, etc, as well as new rural surcharge areas. In addition to adding these changes, CPS includes an updated, smoother end of day closeout procedure for FedEx.

For UPS®, there are new prices 2009 UPS rates and services. UPS also has new rural and extended area surcharges. International UPS shippers will benefits from new shipment validation of international shipments, plus the UPS international Paperless Invoice (a contracted service) is also updated. CPS adds all of these plus an updated end of day closeout for UPS.

Those using the US Postal Service must consider several important changes. There are new domestic package rates and new discount classifications - Commercial Base and Commercial Plus. Commercial Plus is the highest discount category. Only those shipping the highest volumes (100,000+ per year) can take advantage of the Commercial Plus discounts. Starting 1/18/09, if you manifest you must use USPS® Commercial Base domestic rates. Retail rates are no longer accepted on the manifest. If you use a manifest, each of these Commercial price groups provides better prices, but it's only for domestic US shipments.

International USPS shippers also have a rate discount category, Commercial Base. However, Commercial Base rates for international shipping are only available when using an online postage service like Endicia. With discounts up to up to 10% for some services, this is a great option for international shippers.

Finally, a new small flat rate box is now available for domestic and international shippers. All of these money saving rates, requirements, etc., are in the newest CPS.

The newest rates for the regional carrier SpeeDee Delivery are also included in CPS. SpeeDee added a new account format which is also support in the 2009 version of CPS.

That's what's new so far. Coming up are changes for USPS shippers that will be effective on 05/11/09. More info on those as it's available.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The "Other Side" of Carrier Fuel Surcharges

When fuel surcharges were approaching 35%, it became very important to that surcharge amount when making rate comparisons. After all, that's a BIG percentage to miss in rate shopping. With the drop in oil prices in the last few months, the previously high is now 1%. That means the fuel surcharge is still important to consider, but for the opposite reason. The carrier that would not win the price comparison several months ago might be the carrier to choose today.

The question is how do you keep up with these rate factors that do change monthly and can change a lot in a relatively short period of time? Today's multiple carrier, automated shipping systems can factor in the fuel surcharge and the commercial or residential status of an address when making rate comparisons. Accurate, even automatic, "best rate" shipping helps tremendously in dealing with these ever changing shipping costs. Getting the best price for every package may be even more important today than ever, especially since when a customer thinks shipping is too high, you might lose the sale.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Use CPS™ with Endicia® and Get the Best Shipping Rate Every Time

The "bottom line" is always important, and even a little more so when times are challenging, like today. Paying more than necessary for shipping comes directly off the bottom line. Understanding the new post office rates (effective 01/18/09) and how to best use them is one way to keep the bucks on the bottom line.

The post office now has three domestic rate price levels: Retail, Commercial Base and Commercial Plus. Commercial Plus is for the highest volume shippers. Commercial Base rates are available to everyone using Endicia or for those manifesting. Retail rates are the "over-the-counter" rates for stamp and meter users. For international shippers, those using Endicia receive discounts up to 10%, a discount that even those manifesting do not receive. If you use the post office, you definitely want the discounts and Harvey Software's CPS shipping software supports them all. Use CPS with Endicia and you can take advantage of all of the USPS discounts.

If you use more than one carrier, you probably know that rate shopping can be difficult. The "residential or commercial" factor that comes into play for those shipping to residences complicates rate shopping more, but CPS can automatically determine the residential or commercial status when rate shopping. This lets you price shop and use Endicia to the best advantage for every package with the best rates every time. Isn't that how dollars stay on your bottom line? For more on CPS with Endicia click here...

Friday, January 30, 2009

Possible Fines and Prison Time Penalties Effective 02/01/2009

FEBRUARY 1, 2009 FOR NON-COMPLIANCE WITH INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING REQUIREMENTS - In June and September, we told you about the Census Bureau change, effective July 2, 2008, requiring mandatory filing of export information through the Automated Export System (AES) or AESDirect []. This is for all shipments where a Shipper’s Export Declaration (SED) is required. The "adjustment period", delayed from October 1, 2008 to February 1, 2009, ends tomorrow. Starting February 1, 2009, enforcement of the new requirements, including the potential fines and prison time for non-compliance, will start. The fines and prison time are significant - up to $10,000 and 5 years per shipment.

Some history-

If Electronic Export Information (EEI) is required for a U.S. export, the EEI must be electronically filed to the Automated Export System (AES) by the U.S. Principal Party in Interest (USPPI) (normally this is the exporter) or their designated agent.

There are more rules about when EEI is required than can be covered well here. UPS, FedEx and USPS want different information about EEI, some of the exemption numbers have changed, and there are many other requirements. Contact your carrier(s) so they can advise you about how to comply with this new requirement. The USPPI can file for themselves directly with AESDirect at Carriers may offer other filing method options. You will find additional information about this at [].

Monday, January 5, 2009

Green Packaging Can Save You Some Green!

Happy New Year!

For our first post this year we want to point out an on-line slide show about Green shipping we saw during the holidays at It was a neat slide show that you can see by clicking here.

There are many more reasons to look at your packaging. In addition to all discussed in the slide show, cutting down the weight and size of your packages can save a bundle in oversize and regular shipping costs. Having the right size packaging can also make the difference in which carrier you choose to get the best price.