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.