USPS rate increase still in limbo

September 12 2013

At the end of August, we spoke about the possibility of a sudden increase of many different postal rates by the United Stated Postal Service. As reported, several mailing industry leaders have come out against the move that would become a financial burden to any company that relied on bulk mailing services.

According to a recent article in The Hill, the decision to raise rates was scheduled to be made at a secret meeting of the USPS Board of Governors on September 5. The piece reports that no agreement was struck that night, but the possibility of an increase is not dead.

In a statement from the USPS, the organization confirmed that the board did meet to discuss the possibility of raising prices. It also said that they have listened to stakeholders and are postponing their decision until the next scheduled meeting on September 24 and 25.

Mary Berner, the head of the Association of Magazine Media, told the news source that she is encouraged by this move.

"This action affords us additional time to work with them and detail the devastating impact a rate increase would have on the mailing industry and the 8.4 million jobs that depend on it," Berner said. "It also gives us, the Postal Service, and the entire mailing industry additional time to continue working in concert to convince Congress that the solution to the Postal Service's problems lies not in rate increases, but in meaningful postal reform legislation."

If these rates change, every business that uses physical mail will need to re-evaluate how they ship. This mean local courier services could become the most effective way to send critical business parcels.

Strong operations the 'backbone' of logistics

September 11 2013

Every organization has a need for a strong supply chain. There are several aspects of it that need to work together to be as successful as possible. However, where should executives start if they want to make sure their solution is as effective as possible?

In a recent guest column for AerOceaNetwork, Gary Dale Cearley, the managing director of Advanced International Networks, explained what elements are crucial for a successful logistics service. According to Cearley, the foundation of any good supply chain is solid operations.

He went on to say that whenever he speaks with a potential partner, strong operation capacity is a must. That is a fact, regardless of the size of an organization or the kind of cargo or products they are responsible for. In the end, efficiency of the system and the effectiveness of the outcomes are important.

Clearly does point out that knowing what to do and actually doing it are not the same thing. It can be difficult for organizations to implement these processes without help, which is where outsourcing logistic services can come into play.

"Like I said before, solid operations are the backbone of a solid logistics company," the article reads. "And solid logistics companies are the backbone of a solid logistics network."

There are a number of business services that organizations can implement more effectively with the help of an outside provider and logistics is one of them. Partnering with the right service provider can take any company's supply chain to a new level.


Being lean can help any company succeed

September 6 2013

In this day and age, every organization needs to take it upon themselves to assess their operations and figure out if their system is effective for them and stands up against the competition.

The history of American auto sales is a great example, which a recent PWC article examined. For years, car sales in the U.S. were dominated by the local manufactures. Then Japanese companies started turning out cheaper products in the 1930s and created a stiff competition that still lasts today.

According to the article, the reason the Japanese were able to make such a splash is because they entered the market with a leaner approach. Basically, they examined their entire operation, including labor, the supply chain and marketing and cut out all unneeded or extraneous pieces. That allowed them to gain a strong foothold and take over the market. It caused U.S. companies to have to play catch up.

"Whether companies are simply trying to survive or they are conducting an annual assessment of their productivity, they need to determine that every activity they engage in is essential in the value chain to providing a competitive product," the article reads.

This idea should be used by every company to make sure all of their processes are as effective as they can be. For example, examining the shipping process can unveil that thinking outside the box and moving away from the traditional service and using a local courier service can be the most effective way to send business packages and parcels.

The importance of partnering with the right local delivery service

August 31 2013

Securely shipping products is the backbone of some companies. A lost package or parcel of important documents could be disastrous, not only for the bottom line but also for your reputation. Imagine if a law firm in Cleveland needs to send important documents across the city in a short period of time. If something were to happen to them, the resulting ripple effect could be far reaching. It is for that reason businesses need to ensure any courier service is experienced and reliable.

Several companies in Biloxi are learning first hand what happens when you use a shipping service that is less than referable. According to a report in the Mississippi Press, a husband and wife team are facing charges including conspiracy, fraud and withholding information for their role in running a fake shipping company.

The indictment alleges that the pair solicited local businesses by purporting to be an international shipping company called Harmoni Shipping and asking for payments. They would then use a third party company like UPS to actually ship the product and didn't pay.

One of those companies was AWM Transportation, who were told that Harmoni had multiple trucks and could move goods across the country. Instead they used UPS and in one instance tried to get more money out of the company by calling and telling them that the freight delivery was "being held for ransom on the side of the road," the indictment said.

While this is an extreme example, it does highlight the importance of using the right local shipping partner.

Increasing USPS rates means businesses need cheaper ways to ship

August 29 2013

The financial struggle of the United Stated Postal Services has been well documented. It was reported earlier this month that the organization lost $750 million in the third quarter, which increases its total yearly losses to $3.9 billion. While there are several different changes in the works—eliminating Saturday and curbside delivery, along with alcohol shipments, and reworking the prepaid pension plan—it is still too early to know if these efforts will actually generate the revenue that is needed to right the ship.

It is for this reason that many private sector groups are afraid that the next steps by the USPS could be a broad rate increase in the coming months—something that will be discussed at a private meeting on September 5. Doing so would cause a number of companies that rely on mail service to start looking for alternative ways to ship—if they are not doing so already.

A recent article from The Hill spoke with several of these industry leaders to figure out where the true problem lies. The overall feeling is that they understand the corner that the organization's board of governors has been backed into, but an increase of rates would ultimately be a poor long-term decision. "The Internet and mobile technology have become, and will continue to be, the drivers of diminishing communications by paper," the Affordable Mail Alliance, a coalition of nonprofits, businesses and other groups, wrote to the board last week. "As a result, previously accepted views that the mail is price insensitive are no longer appropriate."

A 2006 law allows the USPS to raise prices on stamps to match the rate of inflation, but no further, barring an extraordinary circumstance. The governors attempted to increase rates in 2010 but were denied, and it looks like they could be trying to do so again. Mailing industry officials are stating that they are not facing the "exceptional circumstances" that would justify this kind of increase.

"The only way to prevent USPS from soaking its customers with rate increases or taxpayers with subsidies is to pass comprehensive reform legislation that allows it to adapt to America's changing use of mail," House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa told The Hill.

However the next few months play out, companies would be wise to start exploring alternative options when it comes to shipping. A local courier service, for example, can handle all immediate needs and ensure packages and important documents reach their destination securely.