7 Best Practices for Saving Money on Shipping in the Mailroom

Corporate mailrooms are not only responsible for incoming and outgoing mail, but FedEx, UPS, USPS, DHL, and couriers. Shipping is very different in a mail center than it is in a warehouse. Shipping managers ship products in cartons or on pallets and the charges are passed on to the customers, so, generally, they don’t worry about budgets. Managers of mailing operations are often frustrated regarding their capacity to control the budget for shipping and mailing expenditures. They are often asked, especially in these economic times, to reduce costs; yet the people that make decisions about how to send an express envelope or choose the service level are not under their control. One of my readers is John Sikorski of Princeton University; he shared 7 of his best practices to save money on shipping in the mailroom. Thank you John!

  1. Education the staff in departments to know which way packages should be sent by holding a shipping seminar for anybody who deals with shipping out packages.
  2. Every time that the university signs a contract with the vendors we do a cost study to see the difference in prices between FedEx, UPS and the USPS.
  3. Establish a cost calculator where staff can go to see which vendor cost less.  We have done this for Federal Express and UPS.  The cost calculator has options that will be true for most of the departments most of time such as Next Day Morning and Afternoon, Second Day Service and Ground Service.  We do mostly commercial address and domestic packages so the shipping calculator is only for the United States.  Within the cost calculator we also put the fuel surcharge that one of the vendors charges the university.
  4. Talk to the vendors to see if there is any new programs that could save money for the university such as flat boxes or envelopes.
  5. Keep informed most vendors have newsletters that are free by e-mail.  I also look for magazine that you can get online they will give you some ideas from other companies and universities.
  6. Join the Postal Customer Council in your area and attend some of meetings that they have during the year to keep up with the changes that occur within the postal service and also networking with the other members at the PCC meet.
  7. Combine all shipments that are going to the same university or college when using UPS in order to save on the shipping cost.
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