Confused About FedEx SmartPost, UPS SurePost and Other Deferred Residential Parcel Options?
Google FedEx SmartPost or UPS SurePost and plenty of hits show up in the search results. Some reviews are positive, extolling benefits that include cost effectiveness and fewer surcharges over air/ground alternatives, end-to-end package visibility, free Saturday delivery, and more. However, your search results will include complaints ranging from transit times that were too lengthy to crushed/damaged packages.
One thing is for sure: With the meteoric growth of e-commerce and consumers’ demand for free or low cost shipping, these services are here to stay. Residential shippers that continue to ship UPS Ground Residential and/or FedEx Home Delivery are wise to evaluate FedEx SmartPost and UPS SurePost's rates and services, in addition to other USPS service partners like Newgistics, OSM Worldwide and DHL Global Mail.
Each offers cost-effective, nonguaranteed means of shipping nonurgent, lightweight (up to 70 pounds), B-to-C packages in a partnership with the USPS. Companies like FedEx, UPS and DHL — often referred to as parcel expeditors, aggregators and/or consolidators — leverage USPS Parcel Select services, a postal discount program that combines the strengths of the parcel expeditor with the vast delivery network of the USPS. The parcel expeditors handle pickup, sortation, transportation and induction to the USPS hub. USPS handles the "final mile" delivery, usually to a residence.
Rob Martinez is the CEO of Shipware LLC, a professional services firm that transforms businesses through intelligent distribution solutions and strategies. Rob has helped some of the world’s most recognizable brands reduce parcel shipping costs an average of 25 percent through contract negotiations, rate benchmarking, modal optimization, invoice audit and other savings vehicles. A cum laude graduate of UCLA, Rob has 20 years of transportation industry experience, including executive positions at DHL and Stamps.com, in addition to his work as an outside consultant since 2001.