The sudden shutdown in March of freight consolidator APX Logistics brings July 1997 to mind. That was when UPS workers went on strike. The big difference, of course, was that UPS settled its strike within two weeks that year, and its trucks quickly returned to the road. APX — formerly RR Donnelley Logistics and CTC Distribution Direct, once used by many catalogers as a low-cost UPS alternative — is gone, leaving FedEx's SmartPost as the only comparable alternative. APX's demise brings to mind the lessons learned from the UPS strike: the need to spread out your ground shipments among several carriers. But since
By Donna Loyle Shipping and handling (S&H) complaints usually rank pretty high on the list of gripes customers have against merchants. At the same time, consumers rate parcel delivery companies as some of the best in customer service*. Is there a disconnect in the consumer's mind, or is there more to this dichotomy than meets the eye? Catalog Success asked Jeff Kline, a veteran of catalog fulfillment, to share his advice on how you can increase the efficiency and reduce the cost of your outbound parcel shipping services — while at the same time maintaining or even improving your customer service objectives. Kline
With world conditions and the economy in upheaval, business has been tough for most catalogers lately. This month I’ll focus on several ideas to improve your bottom line. Although it’s always important to stay focused on long-term growth and strategic development of your business, some of you obviously will have to take action now to ensure short-term profitability. The following suggestions may produce only a temporary increase in your profitability, however, so be cautious about any potential impact down the road. Cut Cautiously 1. Improve your margins. The No. 1 expense line on your profit-and-loss statement (P&L) most likely is cost of goods.