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Re: [BKARTS] shipping options
Sorry for my long winded responses, but this is actually quite a fun and
educational thread for me. As it is important to understand what peoples'
impressions are of shipping carriers and helping to educate those who may
not have much experience with them.
I too am fairly unfamiliar with DHL, but I will just about bet money that
their retail price structure is identical to that of FedEx Ground and UPS
Ground. Big shippers get discounts off retail prices and when you are
shopping and you have quotes for different amounts for say FedEx Ground and
UPS Ground, it is only because the company may get different discounts from
each carrier and the prices they quote reflect that. This however is not
reflective of whether a carrier is cheap or expensive, just what type of
discounts they have offered the company on their rates, or how that company
chose to mark them up.
Also, most often when people are comparing prices it is on services by air
which are more expensive. It should also be said that this is where
shipping companies really start playing games with discounts as there is a
lot more money to be made on air shipments than on ground ones.
It does however trouble me somewhat when everything gets boiled down to
price, and the commoditizing of our goods and services. Certainly as a
group of artisans making very extraordinary things, we all value good work
and service. Granted we are talking about shipping companies dishing out
$10 services for delivering a box and not building Ferrari's, but I do think
that you do get much more for your money with a carrier like FedEx or UPS
than with the mail. It is easy to say the mail is great, and by in large
they are for letters and small parcels, but that is until something goes
wrong. We are on a preferred program with FedEx where an assigned operator
(his name is Lane) takes our calls and handles our problems, communicating
with local terminals, getting in touch with drivers, etc. It's great! And
this is the type of benefit that we can pass along to our customers. If
there is a problem with a package we get Lane on the phone and he will track
it down, call back with updates, and make things happen. Try getting that
with the US mail.
I am a big believer that when the service is good price is less important.
We have also started packing paper using rigid foam insulation to protect
the edges of paper and boards when packed and shipped flat. Most people
prefer paper to be shipped flat, but it is a very problematic method of
transport in terms of damage. Anything with corers is prone to getting
dented in transit, and this rigid insulation sheeting is 1" thick and does
an excellent job in protection. As many customers have told me they are
very happy we take extra care to pack our orders, as no matter how quick
they receive it if it doesn't arrive in proper condition it's all a waste of
This brings me to my last point, I promise. Damages - they will always
happen regardless of the measures that are taken to prevent it. It's just
inevitable when carriers are handling the amount of packages they are.
FedEx handles 7 million packages a DAY! Putting Fragile or other labels on
packages helps, but less than you may realize. Individual packages get
handled by about two people, the person who picks it up and the person who
delivers. The rest your package travels through automated warehouses with
conveyor belts, ramps, pneumatic arms, etc that scan bar codes and push
packages sorting them by destination and funneling them down into waiting
trucks, trains or airplanes. These warehouses can be multiple stories tall,
many times without lights as they are completely automated, and it is
possible that if a package is oversize, irregular, or just unlucky it can
fall off a conveyor falling multiple stories to the ground. These things
DHL is new to the domestic Ground market, and am sure they are still working
out the kinks in their supply chain with this new service. Give them time
they will get up to speed if they want to compete.
20 West 20th Street
New York, NY 10011
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