Evolution of postage meters

Business Shipping and Mailing Services | Pitney Bowes

Evolution of postage meter hones in on transactional accuracy

Capturing fuel surcharges and rate discounts in real-time

Pitney Bowes customers are preparing to meet and enjoy the benefits of Canada Post Shipping services’ transition from using the postage meter for sending a parcel to an online shipping and payment solution. With this transition, you can look forward to more accurate account management when you use SendPro™. SendPro is Pitney Bowes’ online shipping solution that not only can produce the required Canada Post barcode label for your parcels, it can capture information and provide rates more accurately than ever before.

While the postage meter has been evolving for years, this particular evolution began a couple of years ago in Canada. Colin Goodwin, Director of Postal Relations for Pitney Bowes Canada, tells the story:

“Canada Post approached Pitney Bowes a couple of years ago to transition away from postage meters as a method of payment for parcels. They were concerned that when a meter was used as the method of payment, customers were not experiencing the full services provided by Canada Post, such as tracking, accurate current rates, access to eligible discounts, parcel pick up and more.

“We worked very closely with the team at Canada Post,” Goodwin continues, “and we created what Canada Post calls the Supplier Account, based on PitneyWorks®, which is a line of credit we offer to all our postage meter customers in Canada. When customers receive their PitneyWorks statement, they see those parcel transactions on their statement, as well as their parcel transactions from Canada Post and its detailed transactions. It’s more information than they had in the postage meter world.”

Supplier Account was launched in January 2016 and on July 1, all postage meter payments for parcels in Canada Post Electronic Shipping Tools were removed. By March 31, 2017, customers using a meter impression to pay for parcels will be required to select an approved online shipping software that can produce a standard Canada Post shipping barcode label.

This is where the SendPro online shipping solution comes in and why Goodwin is excited about the working relationship established with Canada Post.

“SendPro is going to provide our customers with a complete parcel solution,” says Goodwin. “SendPro will leverage the application program interfaces (APIs) between Pitney Bowes and Canada Post.”

Why should this matter to you, the Pitney Bowes customer and shipper?

“The rates our customers are offered when they use SendPro will be coming directly from Canada Post’s system, so when Canada Post adjusts or changes rates, our customers will see them immediately. It’s real time. Customers will get the rates they’re qualified to get.”

This is important because Canada Post offers a multi-tiered discount program for small business customers and their enterprise customers that could not be accessed by a postage meter. The difference between counter rates or Canada Post’s Solutions for Small Business™ discounts, for example, can be substantial.

“In the SendPro world,” Goodwin explains, “we support the Solutions for Small Business rates and because every customer is manifesting, they can now track their parcel volume. So when we move a customer into SendPro and they’re a small business, they’ll automatically have immediate access to the Solutions for Small Business program. They’ll immediately get the five to seven percent discount, the entry-level discount. Canada Post will track their parcel volume every month and when they reach the next discount threshold, they will be bumped up to the next discount level.”

The second key area where SendPro users will benefit is Canada Post’s floating fuel surcharge, which fluctuates monthly based on the current price of fuel. The postage meter could not capture these fuel charge changes on a real-time basis, and although charges would eventually be reconciled, they always had to be adjusted by at least a few cents per transaction – a time-consuming irritant.

“The fuel surcharge changes that we get with SendPro will always be accurate,” explains Goodwin, “because we’re pulling the rates from Canada Post in real time. There will not be discrepancies for fuel surcharges on customer invoices from Canada Post.”

And then, of course, there are the SendPro nuts and bolts, the features Pitney Bowes customers will experience daily – the barcode label printer and a precision scale. SendPro even allows for multiple users to access the application simultaneously.

“There are a number of good reasons SendPro is a much better customer experience (than shipping with a postage meter),” Goodwin summarizes. “SendPro delivers more value to the customer. They’re now going to have real-time rates. They’re now going to have correct fuel surcharge. They’re now going to have a professional label with a barcode so they can track. They will be able to manifest. Customers will have their own little shipping station.”

SendPro is a complete solution for organizations of all sizes. 

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