Rooms To Go’s Golden Rule
Ask Richard Miller his golden rule for package shipping, and he’ll likely tell you one thing: “It’s all about identifying the right carrier, at the right price, for each order.”
As vice president of Operations and Planning at Rooms To Go, America’s No. 1 independent furniture company, Richard is a strong advocate for the multicarrier approach — that is, using a mix of FedEx, UPS and the U.S. Postal Service to ship packages.
This strategy has helped Rooms To Go establish a successful shipping operation — one large enough to support its 150 stores nationwide. As Richard says:
“While it’s easier, from both a technology and operational standpoint, to go with only one carrier, it can lead to a tremendous waste of money and lack of contract negotiation leverage. Using a mix of carriers gives us a range of prices and delivery options that allow us to choose the best and most efficient shipping method for our customers’ needs.”
In Rooms To Go’s case, the company uses its own trucks, UPS and the U.S. Postal Service for the bulk of its shipments: Rooms To Go trucks deliver the largest packages; UPS handles the mid-sized packages, while the U.S. Postal Service supports lightweight and/or smaller residential-bound packages.
There’s just one problem with the multicarrier approach — finding the best price can be time-consuming if you don’t have the right technology.
Until recently, the Rooms To Go shipping team had to manually compare rates, going between their UPS WorldShip software and their USPS postage meter to determine which carrier to use.
Not only was the process tedious, but it was also subject to human error.
What’s more, the company’s postage meter couldn’t provide any tracking capabilities, so the team had no idea if or when a USPS package was delivered.
Richard enlisted Rooms To Go Senior Operations analyst Vanessa Naas to find a solution — one that would allow them to maintain a multicarrier strategy, by easily comparing the rates of their preferred carriers, but that would also save time and provide tracking information on its USPS shipments.
Endicia Platinum Shipper – Managing the Shipping Mix
Richard and Vanessa were initially contacted by an Endicia sales representative and, after visiting another high-volume Endicia customer, they decided give Endicia Platinum Shipper a try.
How It Works
Endicia Platinum Shipper works alongside UPS WorldShip to evaluate every package, using real-time data. This allows the Rooms To Go shipping team to compare rates for UPS and USPS side-by-side, allowing them to easily select the best, most cost-effective shipping option for a particular package.
Another benefit of Endicia Platinum Shipper is that it allows the shipping team to use address validation and correct addresses on packages even if they are shipped with UPS. And, if the team determines that USPS is the right option, they can create and print USPS shipping labels through the Endicia Platinum Shipper software.
The Biggest Benefit for Rooms To Go
The introduction of Endicia Platinum Shipper into the Rooms To Go shipping environment has been seamless. Endicia Platinum Shipper has helped automate the process of rate shopping by taking the guesswork out of the process. If there is a savings to use USPS over UPS, Platinum Shipper will show the savings in bold red, which allows the shipping team to easily determine the right carrier each time. Endicia Platinum Shipper has not only helped the shipping team reduce the time it takes to process shipments, it is also helping Rooms To Go save thousands of dollars on shipping.
But by and large, one of the biggest benefits of Endicia Platinum Shipper is its reporting. “That’s what won us over in the end,” says Vanessa.
Rooms To Go has six different warehouses, each equipped with Endicia software. Account members can pull a snapshot of their USPS shipping costs across the board — including postage balance, refund status and more. Endicia also gives Rooms To Go complete visibility into a package’s whereabouts since it contains all the USPS tracking numbers generated.
“The reports show me all the packages that have been shipped, where they are and whether they’ve been delivered,” says Vanessa, “That way, if something hasn’t been delivered, I can investigate why.”
Endicia Platinum Shipper gives Rooms To Go the ability to maintain its multicarrier strategy while eliminating some of the headaches along the way. As Richard says:
“Our company is devoted to giving our customers a choice — they can buy an individual piece of furniture or an entire furnished room. Likewise Endicia shipping software gives us a choice when it comes to shipping. With Endicia Platinum Shipper we can now compare shipping rates and service levels so we can make an informed decision about which carrier we should use.”