Office shipping and mailing deliver new challenges
So you’ve been assigned the responsibility to ship and mail packages and oversized envelopes for your organization. Maybe you share the responsibility with others. Maybe, even, you’ve been doing it for years but suddenly find yourself totally flummoxed by the rapid-fire changes and fierce competition among the carriers. Want to know a secret? It’s complex, so don’t panic into paralysis. Here are some things you can do to make your life easier and your customers happier.
Begin at the beginning
Take time to evaluate the carriers and their respective options. The USPS, FedEx and UPS are the major choices. Your organization may even have contracts with one or more of these, but even so, taking time to look beyond a preferred carrier can pay huge dividends in saving costs and time.
Get organized before reviewing your options. You want to nail down what variables come into play before making a decision. Each shipment is affected by weight, volume, dimensions, destination, delivery speed and assurance, tracking mechanisms, even insurance options. Sometimes the devil in the details might surprise you. For example, did you know it can cost more to send a large, lightweight package than it does to ship a small, heavy one? Or that sometimes it’s best to use generic, non-carrier provided packaging where the shipping rate may be lower than the carrier’s flat rate packaging? Did you even know that carriers offer cost-effective flat rate packaging options?
All this can come under the heading of too much information. It’s a lot to absorb and difficult to develop a cohesive strategy for each of your shipments.
Pitney Bowes SendPro® solution brings together all three major carriers on one platform to help simplify manual workflows. With precision and accuracy at the forefront of its design, the landing page for SendPro is a simple, easy-to-use interface that enables you to access the major carriers’ options from one place, helping to facilitate decisions that can encompass dozens of variables.
Simplify — and professionalize — preparation
Once you’ve selected the carrier you want to use, you still need to prepare the packages or oversized envelopes for sending. Different organizations have different requirements, not the least of which is scalability — from one critical overnight letter to dozens of packages. SendPro can help here too. Pitney Bowes, a leader in the shipping and mailing industry, has drawn on decades of experience, research, predictive analysis, and customer input and feedback to create an office shipping solution that can be custom-tailored to work for you. With SendPro, you can choose the components most suitable for your organization.
One nifty option is the integrated scale and shipping label printer that come with the SendPro solution and can sit on your desktop. Consolidating these two critical pieces to the process makes weighing packages and printing labels a breeze. The printer enables you to print a professional-looking label that can even bear your company’s logo and return address, helping to reinforce your company’s brand image —much more preferable to a carrier’s preprinted form. Additionally, the labeling feature provides all the required information necessary for shipping, including the USPS Intelligent Mail® Package Barcode (IMpb), an important requirement to receive Commercial Base Pricing discounts.
What’s more, SendPro does this all from a central address book that can be used for whichever carrier you’ve selected. Pick-ups can be conveniently requested at the same time that shipments are prepared.
See it from the customer’s point of view
The mantra is, and always will be, satisfy the customer. Yet horror stories abound. Take the customer who was expecting delivery of planning documents to present at a monthly zoning board hearing. The delivery didn’t happen. Delayed documents meant she had to wait till the following month’s hearing to make her presentation. And all her delivery guy could tell her was, “They just didn’t send it correctly.” The value of any package ultimately must be weighed in its value to your customer. Preparation is, of course, key, but tracking can also help to eliminate surprises and facilitate delivery.
With multiple carriers often conveying your shipments to their destinations, tracking can be labor- and time-intensive. SendPro consolidates the tracking process and follows every item online until it reaches the recipient. The solution also automatically sends status messages to both recipients and senders, right up to the delivery.
See it from your company’s point of view
Once the delivery is made, it’s accountability time, historically a gathering of receipts, preprinted carrier forms, post-it scribbles and more. How many of us are truly “good with numbers” unless it’s our calling? SendPro facilitates even this cumbersome, but critical, process, enabling you to stay on top of expenses and on budget. You can review one complete statement to see all your shipping costs across all three carriers, plus easily generate reports when you need to invoice clients. Invoicing and cost reconciliation doesn’t get much easier than what SendPro enables.
Just two more things
- Office shipping is an ongoing process, so while we’ve presented it as a linear model, remember that you may be involved in all phases of the process at any single moment. As an all-in-one, online shipping solution, SendPro can streamline the process no matter how immersed you are in each phase.
- The customer who had to make that appearance before the zoning board? She’s now the proud owner of a new office complex: Shipping and sending definitely has its successes.