UPDATE: L.L. Bean Signs On Airborne@Home

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Cataloger L.L. Bean Co., Freeport, ME, has begun using the Airborne@Home parcel delivery service to ship more than 1 million orders, or 8 percent of its daily package volume, this year.

Although FedEx Corp., Memphis, TN, is L.L. Bean's primary package delivery carrier, it uses delivery services from the U.S. Postal Service for a small percentage of its deliveries, specifically for shipping back-order merchandise. Airborne@Home will replace the company's use of USPS' Standard B service, commonly known as Parcel Post.

Airborne@Home is a business-to-consumer residential deferred-delivery service that stems from a partnership between Airborne Express, Seattle, and the USPS that was formed in June 1999. The service combines Airborne's transportation network and the residential-delivery shipping abilities of the USPS, providing seamless delivery from businesses to residential destinations in the United States.

The partnership allows Airborne to take advantage of work-sharing discounts that the USPS has extended to bulk-rate mailers who presort by ZIP code and deliver parcels directly to sorting centers. Airborne is competing with all delivery companies, but its leading competitive air shipper is FedEx, or rather, FedEx Home Delivery, FedEx's own BTC residential deferred-delivery service.

Airborne transports Airborne@Home shipments via its truck hub to one of more than 24,000 local destination delivery units operated by the USPS within three to four days. Local postal carriers then deliver the packages to their residential destinations the next day. The shipments can also be tracked along the way, from the factory loading dock to the DDU. Tracking information, for example, alerts customers to the status or location of their Airborne@Home shipments from initial pickup to Airborne's delivery to the DDU.

L.L. Bean began testing the Airborne@Home service in the summer of 1999 and was satisfied with the service level and pricing of the product.

"L.L. Bean is excited about using Airborne@Home for an important segment of our package volume," said Bob Olive, senior manager of logistics at L.L. Bean. "Airborne@Home will help us improve our present back-order delivery program and provide tracking and tracing ability for these shipments."

Kent Freudenberger, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Airborne Express, said that Airborne@Home was created to "meet the growing demand of business-to-consumer shippers like L.L. Bean. ... As e-commerce and other factors continue affecting market trends, businesses need to get their products to consumers in a reliable, economical way. Airborne@Home can reduce transit times by up to 60 percent over alternative services, with time-definite delivery and tracking ability at extremely competitive rates."

L.L. Bean joins a growing number of e-tailers and catalog companies that have selected Airborne@Home to transport their residential ground shipments. Other companies include National Fulfillment, Wal-Mart, Brooks Brothers and J. Crew.

Insiders said that these shippers are likely to significantly increase their use of the Airborne@Home service over the next few months. Wal-mart.com, for example, may use the product to ship as many as 25,000 shipments per night during the peak holiday shipping season.

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