Friday, December 17, 2010

3 Details to Watch for Your Holiday Shipping

3 Details to Watch for Your Holiday Shipping
Let's take a quick look at some details to consider about a few aspects of operating your shipping department. Watching these shipping details can put more money on your bottom line and help you with better package delivery for your customers.

Box Size and Dimensional Weight

Your carrier invoice can be a real surprise if just a few packages are rated with dimensional weight instead of actual weight. It might not break the bank, but when your company closely watches expenses, it's good when there are no surprises. Lighter, larger boxes can be subject to dimensional weight charges, so "a big box full of feathers" can definitely cost more to ship than the actual weight of the package. Some shipping systems, such as Harvey Software's CPS(TM) Shipping Software, have a box type database to let you set up a box code for every size box you use. Getting accurate dimensions is as easy as entering the box code type. The "box types" feature easily makes dimensional weight shipping accurate.

Also to watch for - Carriers have already announced a change for next year in the dimensional weight calculation factor that could make this apply to even more of your packages. Even if all carriers do not do this in 2011, it's good to be ready for dimensional price checking now.

Another Billing Surprise

Another way to avoid surprise charges on your carrier invoice is to make sure residential packages use the residential delivery service when they are shipped. How to avoid the residential surcharge as an unexpected cost? You could use the post office for every package. Or, you could always ship with the residential service regardless of destination. But each of those might cost you more than you want. Solve this problem (with some additional benefits) by using address verification that also checks the commercial or residential address classification. This can be done in your order system or, in a shipping system like CPS, right at the shipping station. Use the right service cut unexpected carrier bills.

One more advantage of address verification is you can also cut address correction fees. One CPS user told us they eliminated $120 of weekly address correction fees when they added address verification to their CPS, and an accurate delivery address improves service for every customer - a real "Win-Win!" Use address verification and you can start these savings today.

The Fuel Surcharge Roller Coaster

Fuel surcharges are now a fact of life with most carriers except the post office. For example, CPS includes this surcharge, but make sure your shipping system is set to use the most current surcharge amount since it changes monthly. These surcharges are easily 5 per cent or more of your carrier bill, and that's a lot to lose track of on your bill and if you do rate shopping. Look for fuel surcharge amount changes around the first Monday of each month and avoid this billing surprise.


A shipping system with rate shopping is great, but it does not consider all of these items that can affect your shipping cost, it's easy for automatic rate shopping to automatically choose the wrong carrier. Remember, where it's expensive to use one carrier could be the best rate for your company with another carrier. Use good information for the most accurate rates and you take a giant step to "No Surprises."

These tips will help with your shipping all year, not just the holidays. Turn these processing steps into shipping habits and you will add another building block to a solid shipping operation.

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