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...