Destination Entry Drop Shipping: The LTL Shipping Solution
In our previous article, we described four service options related to Destination Entry Postal Drop Shipping: Truckload and Consolidated drop shipping, as well as Commingle and Co-Palletization services. In this final article in the series, we explain the benefits of Less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping, and how BCC supports this preferred service solution.
LTL (Less-than-Truckload) Shipping
When evaluating destination entry postal drop shipping logistics, LTL shipping is generally the most flexible and time-certain option available. This is especially important for promotional or political mailings where in-home performance is integral to the mailing’s success. In terms of net savings (destination entry postage savings – shipping cost = net savings) LTL shipping can even rival Consolidation in many situations.
In the LTL model, an LTL carrier is dispatched directly to the origin facility to pick up palletized mail, and delivers the mail directly to USPS destination facilities using their own distribution network. This dock-to-dock model differs from the Consolidation and Commingle / Co-Pal models, which both require additional time for movement and processing inbound mail for outbound efficiencies. Additionally, LTL shipments benefit from more advanced online shipment tracking and delivery verification options provided by LTL carriers.
One of the most valuable features of LTL shipping is the increased reliability of in-home performance. Using the origin-to-destination transit day estimates provided by LTL carriers, mailers can easily plan production and stage mailings for delivery to NDC and SCF facilities nationwide (with on-time delivery performance of 99%.) Although the USPS itself does not provide delivery guarantees for standard class mailings, mail will typically arrive in-home within 4-6* days of entry at the NDC level, and 2-3* days of entry at the SCF level (*historic averages for planning purposes.)
In terms of economy, especially large and highly saturated mailings produced within major metropolitan areas can be well suited for Consolidation and Commingle services. However, more widely distributed mailings with low individual piece weights (such as letters and postcards) are excellent candidates for LTL drop shipping; as are mailings produced outside of major metropolitan areas, which require additional time and cost to transport mail from the outlying mail producer to the Consolidation / Commingle facility.
In addition to increased production flexibility and dock-to-dock visibility, LTL shipping also offers same-day pickup (in many cases) and significantly reduces wear-n-tear on mail pieces, making it a preferred option for the majority of standard class mailings produced today.
LTL Shipping Through BCC Mail Manager
In 2005, BCC Software and Direct Logistics teamed up to provide the very first software integration for destination entry drop shipping. By bringing real-time LTL pricing directly into the Mail Manager application, BCC users could quickly and easily evaluate the net savings for LTL shipping and even experiment with different NDC / SCF quantity breaks to find the best combinations of savings and delivery performance. To date, BCC remains the only presort software application providing integrated pricing from a dedicated LTL service provider.
Once the final presort has been made in Mail Manager, and LTL pricing obtained, BCC users access the TruckDirectMail.com website via the BCC Users Portal, for final shipment review and tendering. Once tendered, the dedicated team at Direct Logistics takes over the delivery assurance process by reviewing the mailing for potential delivery challenges; scheduling pickups; providing Bills of Lading (BOLs) and specialized Pallet Flyers for each shipment destination; and assisting with shipment anomalies should they arise.
For letter shops, printers, agencies, and mail brokers producing postcards and standard letter mailings, the BCC Mail Manager / TruckDirectMail.com integration provides a simple solution for obtaining real-time LTL shipment pricing. Best of all, the service is completely free to use and requires no additional license or upgrade. Users pay only for the actual shipment cost for jobs submitted through the TruckDirectMail.com website.
If you haven’t taken advantage of the LTL pricing option in BCC Mail Manager, please contact your BCC representative today for instructions on bringing this valuable feature into your mail production workflow.