We all know the reason shippers use USPS – because it’s historically been a lower cost method of shipping for many types of packages, especially lower weight shipments. And we don’t blame you for taking advantage of this price advantage over the years. But things are changing quickly at the United States Postal Service, so we’d recommend that you at least have a “Plan B” in your back pocket.
The USPS is currently losing $25 million per day, according to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. And at this pace, the organization could run out of money within six months to one year – leaving your packages undelivered when the governmental entity is unable to make payments to its employees and key suppliers. “We’re now seeing the end result of years of under-priced postage services coupled with a switch to internet related services. The USPS is going to have to make sweeping changes in order to stay afloat,” said Will Schneider, President of WarehousingAndFulfillment.com.
Get Your Plan B in Place
With the USPS in so much trouble, it’s more than smart to start thinking about alternatives for your shipping. In the very least, takes a few of these steps to prepare for the transition:
- Start building a relationship with other small package shippers, such as FedEx and UPS. Find out who your account rep is and get to know them better.
- Learn about all of the software and hardware needed to ship through these other services. Transitioning will require the set up of new label printers and software.
- Find out time frames for pick up for various shipping services with alternate shipping companies. They will have standards in terms of when they pick up for ground and expedited services.
- Inquire about any carton programs with other carriers. The USPS has notoriously been generous with shipping boxes, but this is a more common cost of other shipping companies – and justifiably so.
- The best time to negotiate rates isn’t when the USPS stops shipping – it’s before that happens. Get rate quotes from other carriers before they start increasing rates further.
Making the switch to a new shipping company isn’t easy. And there’s no guarantee that the USPS will stop shipping. But the warning signs are large enough that it would be wise to at least put a plan together should the nightmare became a reality. By thinking through the transition ahead of time, you’ll be better prepared to react quickly and not miss a beat with your shipments to customers.