First-Class Rate Lures Back Shipper to Postal Service

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A duplication and fulfillment company has returned to the U.S. Postal Service after its switch to another carrier last year did not pan out as planned.

Chris Clarkson, shipping/warehouse manager at Global Duplication and Fulfillment, said the company had selected airborne@home, Airborne Express' business-to-residential delivery service, in April 2003.

Global Duplication, North Scottsdale, AZ, which offers recording and editing services as well as automated packing, fulfillment, warehousing and graphic design, had begun using USPS Priority Mail in 2002 for its main fulfillment client, Trivita, a vitamin and nutritional supplement company founded by Global's owner.

"It was economical, yet you still get two- to three-day service," Clarkson said.

Still, in a bid for even more cost savings the company switched to airborne@home, which combines Airborne's transportation network with the postal service's residential delivery abilities.

Ralph Carranza, an account manager in the postal service's Arizona region, kept communication open with Clarkson, and Global began using the USPS again in October.

One key reason for returning to USPS, Clarkson said, was that Global could mail vitamin packages weighing 13 ounces or less at First-Class mail rates, which are less expensive than Priority Mail rates but offer a similar delivery time of one to four days.

For example, a 10-ounce First-Class package mails for $2.44 while a Priority Mail package has a flat rate of $3.85, said Tanya Uhri, a sales specialist in the Arizona district who worked on the Global deal with Carranza.

Currently, half of Global's packages weigh less than 13 ounces and so are mailed at First-Class rates.

"We realized how light our packages were, and that as a result we could utilize First-Class mail as well," Clarkson said. "We've had some great savings since we made the decision to go back to the post office."

Jerry Hempstead, vice president of national accounts at Airborne, agreed that First-Class is less expensive than airborne@home for shippers such as Global with packages under 13 ounces. But he said that airborne@home is less expensive than Priority Mail.

Another incentive for Global to switch back to the postal service was that USPS prepared a customized package for those products that Global shipped by Priority Mail.

"We got the specifics from the customer with regard to the size of the boxes they wanted and their logo, and combined it with the postal service logo and created a customized package for them for the Priority Mail shipments only," Uhri said. There was no extra cost to Global for these boxes.

Uhri noted that this personalized packaging offer is available to customers that generate a certain amount of new revenue for the USPS. Uhri said the USPS also encouraged Global to buy Delivery Confirmation with its First-Class packages, which costs 13 cents per package. Delivery Confirmation is free with Priority Mail packages. Global ships 3,900 packages a day on average.


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