3 Simple Ways to Manage Your Shipping Costs

May 10, 2016

Rising costs, shrinking budgets… it sounds familiar to anyone right now, from people managing a household to people managing a business, and it’s no different when your main mission is the secure transport of items that need to make it to your customers on time and in good shape. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to get your package from Point A to Point B, battling shifting shipping costs and armed only with boxes, bubble wrap and your wits. The good news is, we’re ready to help you accept—and ace—that mission.

In 2015, UPS and FedEx changed how they calculate shipping costs for smaller or lighter packages. Where previously, these smaller packages were evaluated solely for weight, the shippers found that this led to several problems, including inefficiently packed shipments, poor utilization of truck space and multiple, unnecessary delivery trips. Now, shippers consider what they call dimensional weight, including both dimensions and weight in their calculations.

So what does this mean for you, and more importantly, the people on the receiving end of your shipments? It means you’re juggling more complex and often increased costs with the need for secure, safe packages. How can you save space while still guaranteeing your customers get what they want in the condition they expect?

Start with a smaller box – For items that need to be protected from the rigors of being shipped across town or across the country, consider the first line of defense: the container you’re shipping the items in. A smaller box that is more closely packed minimizes the movement of the box’s contents, helps reinforce the exterior of the box, and requires less fillers and packaging than a larger container. “Even bringing a box down by a few inches can save you money, especially if you’re looking at a lot of shipments over the course of a year,” says Brad Stengel of Staples Business Advantage. It’s important to remember—what you’re packing your items in matters just as much or more than what you’re packing with your items.

Use less packaging – We’ve all heard the adage “better safe than sorry.” But overusing void fill like bubble wrap and paper has its own downsides to be “sorry” about, from chipping away at your bottom line to adding onto your waste and carbon footprint. We’ve talked before about choosing the right bubble wrap, and the same is true for anything else you’re using to protect your shipments. Bumping up the strength of your protective materials through stronger bubble wrap or kraft paper instead of newsprint allows you to use less packaging, resulting in more efficient packages, reduced shipping costs, and less waste.

Consider converting – We learned to love opening a box when we were kids opening birthday presents. But as anyone who’s recently relocated can tell you, it can be possible to have too many boxes around. Evaluate whether your product even needs the security and protection of a traditional cardboard box. If you’re shipping something that’s not at risk of breaking, converting to a poly bag or a padded or bubble envelope might be the way to go, and your end users will thank you for less mess and less waste!

 

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