Rare Book Monthly

Articles - June - 2007 Issue

Looking for Economical Shipping? The Answer May be UPS Mail Logic©

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UPS processing centers save time-in-transit and money, by moving your shipments into a zone closer to their destination.


By Renée Magriel Roberts

Last month I discussed -- somewhat heatedly I admit -- the downward spiral of services from the United States Post Office, particularly with respect to the elimination of surface mail services for books shipped overseas. The elimination of this critical group of services had an immediate impact on our business; we had to quickly either eliminate listings or change their prices to account for the new, much higher cost of shipping items that are either too large (i.e. bigger than a priority mail envelope) or too heavy (i.e. more than 4 lbs.) outside the country.

In the meantime, my UPS driver suggested that a sales representative from UPS Mail Innovations™, the new expedited mail and international mail service contact us; we had a preliminary meeting, and this new suite of services appears to open up many more attractive options for shipping both domestically and overseas. We have been told that our costs can be reduced up to 25%, with greater speed, tracking, and more accuracy.

I have to say, to begin with, that these services are new, the sales people and the follow-up implementers/trainers are backed up, and you will probably join the queue rather than receive an immediate response.

Typically when you use the United States Post Office directly, you go to your local post office, from there your mail is dispatched to three different sorting and dispatching facilities before being sent to the destination sorting facility and finally to the local destination delivery unit. With Mail Logic, on the other hand, the mail goes from the customer to UPS's sorting facility and from there bypasses all the intermediate sorting and dispatching units to go by expedited transportation directly to the post office's destination sorting facility and/or delivery unit.

Here's an outline of Mail Logic: the UPS driver picks up a bag of specially labeled items and transports them to one of UPS's 22 Automated Processing Centers throughout the US. Items are tracked from door to door, as per all UPS shipments. The difference is that the cost of shipping from our warehouse to the UPS mail processing center, in say, Hartford, CT, is picked up by UPS. After the mail processing center sorts and weighs each piece and affixes standard mail postage, the pieces are transported to a U.S. Postal Service center for final delivery, at speeds within first class plus a day. Because our material is moved from our zone here on Cape Cod to a more centralized zone, the cost is less for priority shipments, which are zone-sensitive. Non-urgent pieces, i.e. media mail packages, have transit times averaging around six days at lower per-piece rates.

The United States Post Offices typically routes mail through a local post office, an Origin SCF (a postal facility that serves as the processing and distribution center (P&DC) for post offices in a designated geographic area as defined by the first three digits of the ZIP Codes of those offices). Some SCF's serve more than one three-digit ZIP Code range, an Origin BMC (a highly mechanized mail processing plant that distributes the following: Standard Mail™ in bulk form; Periodicals; Parcel Post® in single piece or bulk form; and Parcel Select™ entered at the Destination Bulk Mail Center (DBMC) entry level), a Destination BMC, a Destination SCF, and finally a Destination Delivery United (DDU) or post office.

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