Harte-Hanks Logistics Goes After Big Brown

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Harte-Hanks Logistics, Deerfield Beach, FL, has launched a package services business to take advantage of the U.S. Postal Service's new worksharing discounts as well as the firm's relationships with residential shippers around the country.

The delivery system will serve the business-to-residential shipping market down to the neighborhood post office level and is structured to offer residential delivery six days a week, door-to-door, to every household in the United States.

To create the delivery network, Harte-Hanks combined its own facilities with a network of 12 to 14 regional sortation centers that are being upgraded and will be completed by the end of the year. In addition, it's working with the USPS' ground parcel delivery service called Parcel Select, which allows shippers to receive discounts of up to 50 percent when they deliver parcels to postal facilities closest to the destination ZIP code. Shippers receiving these discounts that usually use consolidators such as CTC Distribution Direct, St. Paul, MN, and other companies have stepped up their distribution divisions to let customers take advantage of USPS worksharing discounts.

Parcel/Direct, New Berlin, WI, and GATZ Logistic, Jacksonville, FL, for example, are other newly christened parcel shipping companies that came about as a result of the worksharing discounts.

One feature of Harte-Hanks' new service, similar to other carriers, is that it allows companies to deliver parcels directly to the postal service's Destination Delivery Units, which essentially are post offices. When mailers deliver to these units, they can get very close to their final destination and, therefore, receive the best discounts.

"When we developed an entry strategy for the business, one of the things I wanted to do was create a unique value proposition for our customers and be able to take them directly to the DDU because it is a completely different process that leapfrogs the industry," Parker said. "We had already built up a network of high-service partners who were handling the back-end of [Standard-B] catalog processing, getting us to 6,000 DDUs on a regular basis."

Harte-Hanks is positioning itself as a direct competitor to ground service from the United Parcel Service, Atlanta, which is moving away from residential deliveries given the new delivery surcharges that go into effect Feb. 8.

"Obviously, Harte-Hanks is throwing [its] hat into the ring with companies like ours to compete against UPS," said Greg Jacobs, director of marketing at CTC.

Parcel insiders said Harte-Hanks won't be the last company to start a parcel distribution business or beef up existing ones to accommodate parcels to take advantage of the USPS' worksharing discounts.

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