By Sydney Wess
Small and medium-sized businesses are constantly under pressure to compete with large delivery and supply chain service providers.
As a business owner, you’re able to take necessary steps in order to ensure that you’re selecting the correct packaging, delivery options, and carrier.
However, as a leader at a small business, it can be difficult to keep up with logistics and shipping while trying to run all other aspects of your business.
Thankfully, delivery service providers have developed and implemented programs to encourage a greater diversity of businesses to adapt their services, creating a new group of loyal customers.
UPS is one of these providers, and 2019 has been a big year for them. They’ve enacted three initiatives that promote the quality of their service while making it easier for smaller businesses to utilize their cost-effective services, granting you the opportunity to compete with larger businesses.
This article will discuss three new programs started by UPS that you should leverage to make your delivery process more effective.
- eFulfillment Programs Provide Third-Party Support
For small and medium-sized businesses, it can be nearly impossible to find the bandwidth necessary to comfortably fulfill customer expectations or negotiate rates with delivery service providers. This can lead to unreliable delivery times.
Customers, who’re acclimated to expect quick, reliable shipping experiences, will be more likely to select a large-scale alternative like Amazon if they feel that customers are unable to get their order to them in a timely, predictable fashion. The UPS eFulfillment program mitigates this issue.
Enabling two-day shipping opportunities for deliveries across the United States, UPS is now serving as a delivery partner to allow your business to compete with fulfillment giants like Amazon.
The program launched in February 2019 and offers a support team and user portal to facilitate the relationship, providing regular updates. UPS also pledges to cover shipping and returns for their small business partners.
Companies like Tidal New York have indicated that the partnership has taken the weight and stress off of their leadership team to figure out fulfillment on their own. At maximum, participants in the program pay $1,000 monthly for UPS’s efforts in the partnership.
The eFulfillment program offered by UPS gives smaller businesses the opportunity to provide the expedited delivery experience consumers have come to expect.
- The Simple Rate System Streamlines Shipping Cost Estimations
UPS’s Simple Rate system was introduced in September 2019 and helps small business owners with the predictability of shipping costs.
Small business owners and retailers oftentimes must estimate and guess how much shipping will cost for the stowability, density, liability, etc. of the cargo they wish to deliver. Complicating things further, if using an LTL carrier, the client must understand the shipping classes determined by the NMFTA. In these cases, the supplier must spend time researching logistics, taking their focus away from their own business operations.
UPS has devised a more transparent way of pricing packages based on size, determining XS, S, M, L, and XL sizing specifications. They also give examples of items that may fall into each size class.
From there, each size category is assigned a flat rate, detailing how expensive the item will be to ship. Shippers can also choose from one of three delivery options: ground, 3-day, and 2-day air. The shipments can also be tracked on their way to one of 50,000 drop-off locations, like other UPS deliveries.
Kevin Warren, UPS’s CMO, indicated that this implementation was intended to aid small businesses in a recent press release, saying, “Simple Rate helps small businesses take the guesswork out of shipping by providing simple, fast and transparent flat rates nationwide with guaranteed on-time delivery and no special packaging required.”
The Simple Rate system was created with SMB in mind. Take advantage of the reliability and predictability it offers with shipping costs.
- Stamps.com Partnership & Packaging Policies Provides Benefits for Small Businesses
After terminating their relationship with USPS, Stamps.com partnered up with UPS earlier this year.
This delivery and fulfillment-centered partnership allows customers and SMBs to benefit through significant discounts. Stamps.com is promising up to 55% off on daily shipping rates when their items are shipped through UPS.
The new partnership garnered significant interest, as reflected in a 24% stock market surge for Stamp.com shares directly after the announcement.
The market increase was warranted. Discounted shipping rates can make a huge difference in an SMB’s selection of supply chain partners. With this partnership, UPS is making their services more accessible to smaller businesses. This gives SMBs industry-standard resources and competitive delivery services at reduced rates.
As part of their programs and packaging policies, UPS partners are permitted to use their own packaging when shipping merchandise. As a small business leader, branding is important, and packaging is an ideal way to make a positive impression on a customer.
UPS, though this policy, is allowing smaller businesses the chance to stand out from the many alternatives that exist in the market to develop a unique brand image.
Make Use of Opportunities to Offer Reliable Deliveries
UPS is prioritizing the needs of small and medium-sized businesses in their 2019 initiatives, programs, and partnerships.
Their growing relationship with Stamps.com makes their rates more affordable for smaller businesses, while their eFufillment and Simple Rate programs ensure a predicable payment and delivery experience.
SMBs can serve their customers more efficiently by investing in these options.
Sydney Wess is a Content & Editorial Associate for Clutch. She researches and produces content about supply chain management firms and trends.