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 http://www.HarveySoft.com/ 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 http://www.HarveySoft.com/ if you would like to know more about CPS.

Or, you can just trust the carriers…