Love the Zone You Ship

Posted on Feb 15, 2018 6:07:21 PM

Understanding how to use zone shipping to your advantage will make you fall back in love with your shipping provider.

What is Zone Shipping?

Zone shipping is a common practice that shipping carriers use when creating fee structures for their customers. Rather than showing costs based on a map of US state borders, a zone map will divide regions and countries not specific to the state borders, but rather taking into consideration the surrounding megaregions (see megaregion map below.) Essentially, the cost of shipping is determined by how many zones a package must cross when traveling from its original origin.

Megaregions.png

Megaregions, or US population centers, are large metropolitan regions that share economic systems, transportation systems, and natural resources where population continues to grow. With distribution centers located in these largely populated areas, the distance a package travels might be a shorter distance to the destination than you think. OnTrac focuses resources in megaregions in order to be able to provide the very best advantages at the very best price.

Why is Zone Shipping important?

According to research done by The Colography Group, Inc., over 70% of packages stay within Zone 4, which is up to a 600-mile radius of the shipping origin. For regional carriers like OnTrac, who also service Zone 5, that percentage climbs to over 80%. In addition, the majority of these packages actually stay within Zone 2 (approximately 47.9% according to the below chart.) This means that the majority of packages shipped by companies stay within their general geographic region. Implementing a regional carrier, like OnTrac, will provide companies with a significant price savings with less fees and surcharges than the national carriers.

package-travel-distance.jpg

According to VISIBLE Supply Chain Management, “United States e-commerce sales reached $396 billion in 2016, and sales are estimated to grow beyond $684 billion by 2020; that’s nearly double the sales in just four years! Over 53 percent of global Internet users made online purchases in 2016—about 1 billion people. As a result, growing companies that aren't proficient in shipping could lose thousands, if not millions, of dollars. Employing strategic shipping strategies that take zones into account will become increasingly important as e-commerce sales continue to grow."

How to save with Zone Shipping?

Since zone shipping is used by all major shipping providers it is wise to fully understand how each carrier prices their zones. Rates will vary depending on the carrier and the shipping service that you select. Thankfully, OnTrac Ground uses the same rate zones as National Carriers, allowing a more accurate comparison of fees, surcharges and transit times. For example, did you know that OnTrac is 36% less for residential deliveries that require a signature compared to national carriers?

Plus, OnTrac can save multiple transit days for a single package to compared to the national carriers. Below is a Transit Day map that shows how much faster packages travel from Reno, Nevada throughout the OnTrac service region. Speaking of megaregions, OnTrac’s innovation has synchronized supply and demand specifically in the populated Reno area.

Transit Days from RNO.png

Using a multi-carrier strategy will allow for an overall greater shipping experience. For more information on how a regional carrier can set you up for success, continue reading here


OnTrac provides the benefits of next-day delivery at ground rates! To learn more about how OnTrac provides faster transit times and reduces shipping expenses, click here.

Topics: Zone 4 deliveries, Zone Shipping, ZIPTools, faster time in transit, save a transit day, Time in Transit

Great News for OnTrac International

Posted on Sep 30, 2014 12:34:00 PM

Canada Post,

OnTrac International’s long time vendor, announced some very positive changes to some of their signature services this year.  While Canada Post may not be the largest postal system in the world, or even in the top 10, they are listed among the top 5 best postal services.  In July of 2014, Canada Post announced a reduction in requirements for their Machineable Mail Service, or as they call it “Re-engineering.” 

Their strategy is to simplify customer experience and add value.  Machineable Mail is a service that allows business customers to inject mail at a discounted “pre-sort” rate with no pre-sort required.  They have reduced the number of key Machineable requirements for a mail piece to qualify from 30 down to 11.  In addition, they lowered the minimum required volume from 1000 down to 500 pieces and removed the “read rate” surcharges allowing more mail to qualify for this Machineable Mail Service without penalty. 

Effective August 18, they have rolled out improved delivery standards set to reduce mail transit by 1-4 days for not only the Machineable Mail service, but also Publication, Addressed Admail and Unaddressed Admail services, all of which OnTrac International utilizes in our daily operation.  This will provide customers with delivery predictability and consistency to better meet their in-home targets.

During this re-engineering, they have also opted to eliminate some lesser used services such as Machineable Presort and National Distribution Guide (NDG), allowing their postal employees to focus on their signature products. Coming January of 2015, they will be moving to a simplified pricing structure.  This will eliminate the need to run a customer’s mail file prior to determining the actual postage amount. 

Canada Post plans to continue with these improvements in the coming years by taking a close look at each service one at a time and evaluating specific requirements to determine if they are still necessary or can be eliminated.  They tell us the main reason they are able to make these significant changes is due to updated state-of-the-art postal equipment that they started rolling out in 2012.  At this time, most or all of their Receipt Verification Unit (RVU) facilities now have this updated equipment in-house.

What does all this mean for OnTrac International?  

With more than 60% of our overall volume going directly into Canada Post, this was some of the best news in recent years.  Every business looks for ways to reduce unnecessary labor, increase productivity and run more efficiently.  This change to the Machineable Mail product has allowed us to move a higher volume of mail in less time and redirect our labor on other products.  This also allows for faster deposits into the post, which in turn will better transit times for the customer. 

Recent articles in the Wall Street Journal state that the use of mail, particularly advertisement mail, is on the decline.  Postal customers are frustrated with rising costs and the restrictions to qualify for discounted services due to an overwhelming number of mailing requirements.  Canada Post is listening to the customers and doing their part to keep mail volumes up by changing the way they handle mail within their network. OnTrac International is taking advantage of these changes by keeping up with the industry and offering a wide variety of services to meet every customer’s mailing needs.

In an electronic world where everything is at your fingertips, be it by computer, pad or phone, the printed word still exists and thrives today.  There is just something about pulling out that publication from your mail box, bringing it inside to your favorite chair and cracking open those fresh pages of print to reveal the bold, vibrant color page after page

Topics: Time in Transit, OnTrac International, OnTrac Shipping

Service, Savings and Convenience - That’s OnTrac.

Posted on Jul 28, 2014 4:38:00 PM

Overnight Shipping in Denver

When you choose a shipping company, you’re choosing flexibility, cost reduction, faster Ground delivery and increased productivity. 

With OnTrac, you get all of that.

We’ll enable your company to gain the competitive advantage, grow revenue and improve shareholder value.

How? Because we’re able to provide you all the reliability you expect from the National Carriers, without the hassle of big volume commitments.

You, and your customers, will save money with fewer surcharges and simple, easy to understand contracts.

Plus, the OnTrac module is easy to use!

Create labels online and take advantage of our mobile device tracking, multi-state drop box locations and free, convenient pickups.

We service 60 million consumers throughout the 8-state service area of California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Colorado and Idaho.

If you’re thinking of switching to OnTrac, or you know someone who should, visit our Welcome Center to see how we stack up against the competition.

We’ll show you how to gain a competitive advantage and improve shareholder value.

With faster, more cost effective delivery that is a sustainable competitive advantage, you will be able to increase customer lifetime value.

Plus, better pricing with a regional carrier will improve expense management and ensure profits are not lost in shipping.

It’s easy to see how incorporating a regional carrier into your existing shipping workflow is a great way to reduce your overall net shipping expenses.

Topics: Time in Transit, overnight shipping at ground rates, save a transit day, improve efficiency

Reduce Transit Time and Shipping Spending with OnTrac

Posted on Jul 1, 2014 2:06:00 PM

As eCommerce sales continue to rise, OnTrac remains in a position to save its customers time in transit and boost their bottom line.

It’s no secret that faster time in transit is the key to keeping businesses competitive – the largest online retailers are able to get products delivered quickly, setting an industry standard and giving customers high expectations for their online shopping experience. They want their ecommerce orders delivered as fast as possible, for as cheap as possible.

According to a recent comScore study, at least 42% of online shoppers reported abandoning their shopping carts because of delivery timing estimates. Two-thirds of shoppers choose the most inexpensive shipping option, more than 40% expect to see the availability of 2-to-3 day delivery and nearly a third want the option to choose overnight shipping. A third of shoppers said they most often choose to pay a fee for faster delivery.

In that same study, 48% of online shoppers said they are not willing to wait more than 5 days for packages to be delivered.

With OnTrac, consumers notice a reduction in both transit time and shipping expenses. As a regional carrier, the company utilizes its regional hub-and-spoke model to provide next-day delivery at Ground rates to more than 60 million consumers in the eight Western States.

In the more than 20 years OnTrac has been in the business, the company has come to know just how important the need for speed is, but they also recognize the need for a great customer experience, as well.

That’s why we provide all the same characteristics people have come to expect of their delivery companies – tracking, software integration, live help and an intuitive, easy-to-use website.

If you have any questions about our service, or are looking to get started with OnTrac, simply call our Customer Service number at 800.334.5000 or visit our Welcome Center at ontrac.com.

 

 

Topics: competitive advantages, online delivery, ground rates, online shopping, fees, eCommerce, comScore, free shipping, faster time in transit, Time in Transit, save a transit day, OnTrac Shipping, deliveries, lowest cost shipping, fewer fees

Customer Profile: Crystal Creek

Posted on Dec 4, 2013 1:25:00 PM

Time in transit is an important consideration for any company these days—with the influx of online shopping and the constant evolution of deals and offers, competition continues to rise.

Crystal Creek Logo

But for Crystal Creek Logistics, a third party logistics company specializing in frozen fulfillment, saving time in transit is more than just another deal—it's their business.

"When shipping frozen products, our primary concern is focused on ensuring that we have sufficient ice in a package so all products are frozen solid upon arrival," Cathy Hayward-Hughes, President and General Manager of Crystal Creek Logistics said. "Most of our clients determine the time in transit expectations. We realize that most customers want their order as soon as possible. We use whatever carrier best meets these needs for the areas from which we ship."

Extensive experience and industry know-how enables Crystal Creek employees to fill the back-end needs for internet retail companies and provide a "best in class" option for their customers. 

"There is added value for our business from the get-go," Hayward-Hughes said. "Our business model frees our customers up and allows them to spend time sourcing, selling, or manufacturing products, instead of warehousing, inventorying and packing orders. They can operate with fewer employees, less overhead, fewer infrastructures, and most importantly reduced operating costs. By shifting system upgrade costs to a third party, capital is freed up for strategic investments."

This type of industry know-how, coupled with a strong drive to show appreciation for customers and word of mouth marketing has enabled Crystal Creek to see 30% year over year growth.

"We focus on providing top notch service to our client and our client’s customers," Hayward-Hughes said. "We do what we can to be the eyes of the client to identify any opportunities for improvement. Our many years in the industry allow us to assist with packaging and shipping refinements for our clients to make an ever improving end customer experience."

It is this continuous effort to improve the customer experience and the unique need that shipping temperature sensitive products requires that led Crystal Creek to OnTrac.

Among the ever-present challenges in any operation, are the associated costs of delivery and the immediacy with which packages are delivered to customers, especially in a niche market like frozen food. The direct to consumer shipping industry will continue to grow and the need to provide a sophisticated and reliable level of service will be paramount to the success of a company like Crystal Creek.

"OnTrac has provided us with an opportunity that we had previously lacked," she said. "Shipping with a regional carrier has greatly enhanced the value of our location in Northern Washington, which arguably had been a bit of a disadvantage for us."

Diversifying their shipping portfolio has enabled Crystal Creek to focus on one of the main successes of their business—customer service and improved satisfaction.

"We are extremely happy to have a new addition to our carrier selection," Hayward-Hughes said. "We feel that we will be able to offer our clients a considerable savings by adding OnTrac to our mix. Whenever we can improve the options for our clients, we free up money for them to increase product offerings, to improve processes and to offer a better value to their customer creating a win – win for everyone involved."

Topics: Crystal Creek, Time in Transit, customer profile

OnTrac Optimized Driver Routes Cut Cost to Customer, Environment

Posted on Jan 24, 2013 9:59:00 AM

Optimized Driver Routes Cut Cost to Customer, Environment

Ground Shipping Goes Green

At OnTrac, being “green” means more than being able to improve the environment—it means we are willing to. The way we see it, we have a corporate responsibility to do what we can, when we can, to help improve the quality of life for customers in our service area.  

Since the beginning of our business, over 20 years ago, OnTrac has focused not only on faster shipping, but more efficient ways to deliver packages. As a regional carrier, we are a friendlier option than the national carriers. Our focus on overnight shipping and delivery in the seven western states gives our regional hub-and-spoke model the ability to operate entirely on the ground. By keeping our packages on the ground, we keep costs to customers (and the environment) down. We don’t have to support a worldwide infrastructure, and that saves more than money.

But that’s not all we’re doing.OnTrac Recycle

As a part of our plan to promote a greener operation, OnTrac has made it a point to position its facilities and distribution centers in areas that allow us to optimize driver delivery routes. These facilities boost your bottom line and enhance efficiency throughout our network.

The addition of facilities throughout our service area support growth of the overnight package delivery industry and our company, boosting the quickness and efficiency of the ground network.  

Our Menlo Park facility in California services the neighborhoods of Mountain View, Palo Alto, San Mateo, San Bruno, Half Moon Bay, Pacifica, and the San Francisco Airport.

This facility has improved efficiency throughout the Bay Area. By enabling shipments to be distributed closer to their end destination, overnight shipping in California is convenient and cost effective. Twelve dock doors and 50,000 square feet enable the Menlo Park facility to operate with a more rapid parcel throughput rate, and the location puts drivers closer to delivery locations throughout the area, accelerating transit times—in other words, faster shipping at a lower price, with less impact on the environment.

“This facility helps to reduce the time and distance our drivers have to travel to make deliveries, which in turn gets packages to the customer in a more expedient and efficient manner,” said Mark Cronkrite, vice president of operations for OnTrac. “The Menlo Park facility will help us significantly reduce our carbon footprint in the Bay Area,” he added.

Leased trucks enable us to continue to have the newest, most efficient vehicles, greatly reducing our carbon footprint, and our newest partnership with SmartWay gives us an opportunity to set goals for ourselves and our operation, year after year.

 SmartWay OnTrac

With the rapid expansion of our service area, the addition of facilities and optimization of drive routes is important. This way, we can manage growth by spreading the high volume of packages that come through our service area more evenly, increasing efficiency and decreasing emissions by shortening driver routes.

To see more of what OnTrac is doing to go green, visit our OnTrac and the Environment page.

Topics: overnight shipping, ground network, regional carriers, package delivery, Time in Transit, environment, cost effective, optimize driver delivery routes, SmartWay Partner, California, faster

When Free Shipping Is Not Enough!

Posted on Oct 9, 2012 9:25:00 AM

Regional parcel carriers give you the next-day delivery edge!

Last week our Director of Business Operations, Mark Magill, spoke at the Council of Supply Chain Management, where more than 3,000 professionals in logistics and supply chain management met at the Annual Global Conference to learn how to cut supply chain costs, network with colleagues from all over the world, and discover new and innovative supply chain ideas.

Mark MagillHis presentation included information on the online retail industry and gave shippers an idea of what to do when offering free shipping is not enough.

The online retail industry passed the $200 billion mark in the 2011 revenue estimates released last month. Projections show it will grow by another 60 percent in the next five years and cross the $300 billion threshold by 2016. These are staggering figures when you consider that e-Commerce still only comprises about seven percent of retail sales.

This has had a profound impact on the parcel delivery market. An industry once dominated by the commercial segment has been inundated by business to consumer deliveries. At last count, it had exceeded 40 percent of all shipments and it is relentlessly approaching the halfway point. The fiercely competitive e-Commerce landscape has caused free shipping to become an almost standard offering on most websites. This has caused the volume of postal consolidators to spike up sharply because they are the lowest cost shipping method. But what are your alternatives when free shipping is not enough to satisfy the demands of your customers?

The seven to ten day delivery commitment offered by postal consolidators may be a satisfactory option for inexpensive items ordered online (sometimes humorously referred to as “cheap and cheerful’). But what are the realities when your customer is ordering an expensive piece of apparel like a $700 leather jacket? Is it worth the risk of buyer’s remorse with that type of high margin item? And what about the risk of shopping cart abandonment if they need the apparel for a special occasion and balk at the high cost of the express shipping option on your website? These issues become even more critical when dealing with the Generation Y/Millennial consumers who have an expectation of overnight delivery without being willing to pay extra for it.

However, there are viable solutions to these issues in major metropolitan areas of the United States. To gain a sharper insight into these solutions, let’s first examine the term Mega-region.  A Mega-region is a geographical area where a large portion of the U.S. population is concentrated. A good example of this is California. It is home to more than thirty seven million people.  Other examples are the Phoenix Sunbelt, Cascadia (the Seattle/Portland I- 5 corridor), the Front Range of Colorado and the Boston to Washington D.C. Corridor. The population of these Mega-regions totals nearly 200 million consumers and the overwhelming majority of e-Commerce deliveries are shipped to them.

The solution to your faster time in transit requirements are the regional parcel carriers that are located in most Mega-regions. These carriers have a next-day Ground delivery footprint that is much larger than that of UPS and FedEx. They offer guaranteed next-day delivery to Zone 4 destinations as far as 800 miles from point of origin. For example, with a distribution center in Reno, NV, you could provide your customers the option of, not only overnight delivery in Nevada, but overnight shipping from Seattle to Phoenix. The best part about it is these overnight deliveries are performed at Ground rates. This makes free shipping with faster time in transit a much more cost effective advantage to offer to your customers.

OnTrac Service AreaLast year I had an in-depth conversation about online delivery needs with the vice president of a very large e-Commerce company. When I asked him his opinion about regional parcel carriers, he mentioned that the regional carriers should talk about nothing but faster time in transit because it has become such a competitive factor. He wanted me to talk about , or ground shipping in Arizona. The largest Internet retailers are continually raising the bar with faster deliveries. Not every company can afford to locate a distribution center in every state, but every company that wants to remain competitive can strategically place two distribution centers in the most effective locations to take advantage of the faster time in transit that the regional parcel carriers provide. Some of the regional parcel carriers linking those Mega Regions are OnTrac in the seven largest western states, Eastern Connection in the Northeast, Lone Star Overnight in Texas and SpeeDee Delivery in the Midwest.

 

To learn more about our overnight delivery service, please visit any one of our OnTrac Ground information pages.

Topics: postal consolidators, regional parcel carriers, online delivery, overnight deliveries, overnight delivery in CA, overnight delivery in NV, OnTrac Ground, next-day ground, guaranteed next-day delivery, ground shipping in Arizona, eCommerce, free shipping, faster time in transit, logistics, Time in Transit, parcel delivery, overnight shipping from Seattle to Phoenix, deliveries, lowest cost shipping, California, overnight delivery, faster

Time in Transit: The New Free Shipping!

Posted on May 4, 2012 1:40:00 PM

Gone are the days when a Saturday morning meant a stroll down Main Street and window shopping with the family.  Say so long to the times you used to spend sorting through the sale racks in hopes of finding that one gem that would make the last three hours of standing in line worthwhile.

The advent of technology and the constant increase in consumer expectations means our favorite pastime could very easily be replaced, at least in some ways, by the internet.

The face of retail is changing— the millennials are growing up, and the next generation of buying is taking shape.  For the first time ever in 2011, ecommerce revenue exceeded 200 billion dollars, and in the next five years it is expected to grow by 60 percent!

That means, by 2016, ecommerce will bring in more than 300 billion dollars, affirming the fact that this ecommerce boom is more than a trend, and giving new opportunities to retailers looking to provide customers with more incentive to shop with them. 

But in an industry where free shipping is already offered, how do you combat the still-present shopping cart abandonment issue and play to the beat of a generation that not only wants things faster, but for a cheaper price?

There’s a simple solution: regional carriers.

Next-day delivery to zone 4 destinations means shipping up to 600 miles from the point of origin, at a competitive price.

And this isn’t just to and from neighboring zip codes. 

The extensive ground network that is inherent to a regional carrier means any ZIP code, within 600 miles, at a ground rate.

Some regional carriers even offer Sunday pickups with Monday delivery to zone four and offer later pickup times, giving shippers the ability to increase productivity and process more shipments during a working day. (As shippers gear up for peak season, now would be a great time to look into that!)

Nobody wants to deal with the woes of buyer’s remorse—when considering a regional carrier, assess your needs first. Let them know what it is you’re looking for in a shipper and let them tell you how they can help.

For more information on regional carriers and the benefits provided by reducing time in transit, you can view Mark Magill's webinar, "Free Shipping is Not Enough: It is Now All About Time in Transit!" by clicking here.

 

 

Topics: Webinar, eCommerce, Time in Transit, OnTrac