Mobile Workers Face Problems Shipping Packages


The second type of parcel shipper is a mobile worker—this is a person that often works for a large corporation but from home or spends a majority of their time on the road.

The number of mobile workers is significant. By year-end 2011, IDC expects nearly 75% of the U.S. workforce will be mobile.

How does a mobile shipper send an overnight letter or a package?

In conversations with managers of large corporations, this has been a serious problem. Here are some of the issues they face.


  1. Most of the carriers offer pre-printed airbills with an account number and return address embedded in the form. The mobile worker hand writes the addressee information and drops off the envelope. The problem is that hand written addresses are often illegible and can lead to delivery errors or address validation charges. Furthermore, it is more difficult to track these packages unless the mobile worker has a good system for saving and filing their copy of the airbill. In addition, this method makes it difficult for the corporation to properly account for the shipping charges and the accounting department often has to chase down the worker to properly apply the correct general ledger code for accurately classifying the charges.
  2. Many corporations offer access to a single carrier’s website to employees for shipping items. While this is better than an airbill, it is limited to the services offered by that specific carrier and does not compare rates or services from other carriers which can result in overspending. This is inherently a more costly method of shipping. For example, a worker will typically send an envelope using an express service which is four to five times more costly than shipping it through the US Post Office with Priority Mail.
  3. When mobile workers are traveling they often will ask the hotel to ship an envelope for them and add the charges to their hotel bill which is reimbursed by the company. This is the most expensive way of shipping possible. The hotel typically charges retail and sometimes even adds a handling charge. This can cost two to three times more than using a corporate account number.


Are you a mobile worker? I would love to hear about some of the issues that you face in shipping envelopes or packages when you are away. Please let me know.


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