Successful companies are those that best understand the immediate as well as future needs and desires of their customers. Lands� End is one of those successful companies. The Dodgeville, Wisconsin-based company ships to customers in about 185 countries. Knowing how important it is that these customers receive their goods in a timely manner, six years ago, the company chose a suite of global services offered by the U.S. Postal Service. Now, Lands� End can ship orders quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively to thousands of eagerly waiting international customers � all without the hassle normally associated with international shipping.
�The most important thing for us is to allow our customers the choice of whichever shipping method they wish,� says Elly Yoose, pan-international analyst for Lands� End. �Our goal is to get our shipments delivered to our customers in a timely manner � that�s first and foremost. USPS� global services allows us to do this with ease.�
The USPS offers companies a great deal of flexibility. �We can negotiate on international rates and services,� notes Diana Genda, national account manager for USPS, handling the Lands� End account. �This allows us to tailor our rates and services to the needs of a mailer.�
Bulls-Eye Deliveries
Lands� End uses four of USPS� global suite of services including International Commercial Packages services, Global Express Mail, Global Air Parcel Post and International Surface Air Lift (ISAL). The most outstanding benefit provided to facilitate international shipping for Lands� End, according to USPS international sales team leader Erik Nyren, is a customized shipping program that eliminates extra handling in the Lands� End plant. This reduces costs by streamlining international distribution and by removing added costs normally associated with handling international packages, making USPS a very critical part of the whole supply-chain process in getting products to the consumer.
International shippers know all too well how red-tape customs documentation and clearance processes can slow down international business transactions. All of that worry, however, is pass�. �We�ve made international shipping as simple as mailing domestically,� says Nyren. �Lands� End has been very pleased with how we�re able to overcome international shipping obstacles for them. We offer tracking, and we facilitate customs clearance. Best of all, products can be placed in customers� hands within five to seven days.�
The Customs Pre-Advisory System (CPAS) enhances Global Express Mail and Global Air Parcel Post. Lands� End sends USPS an electronic data file that includes a description of what it is shipping, the value of the items and the recipients� addresses. �It prepares the packages as if they were going anywhere in the US,� explains Bob Michelson, manager of international marketing for the USPS.
�Using CPAS and Global Express Mail, Lands� End has the ability to determine when the package clears customs overseas and when it�s been delivered,� says Michelson. Automatic insurance up to $500 is included. Global Air Parcel Post offers an economical and substantially cheaper service without many of the bells and whistles of Global Express Mail. Deliveries are made within one week. No insurance is offered in this service, and no tracking events in foreign countries are recorded.
ISAL is a service used predominantly for shipping Lands� End catalogs internationally. Catalogs are delivered to existing and prospective customers within 10 to 14 days. �This is the international equivalent of domestic standard mail and is a bulk service for cross-border direct mail,� says Michelson.
Seamless and Worry-Free
Seamless, effective service is a crucial key in every supply-chain transaction, and USPS clearly understands its critical role as a participant in allowing Lands� End to achieve its excellent level of customer satisfaction, particularly to its Japanese customers. �We have a very strong market in Japan, and we found the International Commercial Package services to be very effective,� notes Yoose. �From an operations standpoint, it requires very little manual processing and it offers ease of paperwork in getting all of the proper and necessary documentation to get the packages into Japan.� USPS even completes shipping labels in the Kanji language.
In addition to decreasing Lands� End�s package-processing time, USPS also provides transportation to its International Service Center in Chicago. �Packages are quickly cleared through Japanese customs. We also provide excellent tracking options,� explains Nyren.
Each Lands� End package is barcoded with an order number. Lands� End then sends the USPS an electronic data file, which includes information on the contents of each package. �When the packages arrive at our Chicago hub, we scan that barcode, pull up the data file and print out the shipping label and customs declaration. A postal employee then attaches the document to the package,� comments Nyren.
�Shipping documentation includes one label with an integrated shipping and customs declaration form,� notes Michelson. Barcoded information on the package includes tracking information for both the USPS� use and for the Japanese Postal Service. Packages are then sent to either Tokyo or Osaka for sortation and final delivery by Japan Post. �We also send an electronic data file to Japan,� Michelson adds. �This helps speed packages through customs, and the packages are handed over to the Japanese Postal Service for delivery to Lands� End customers,� Nyren says.
Taking advantage of USPS� drop-ship discount, Lands� End provides the transportation of its shipments to the Chicago International Service Center. �The company receives a discount per pound off the published rates for doing this part of it themselves,� says Nyren.
Future Destinations
�The services we offer are not one-size-fits-all solutions,� notes Michelson. �We take into consideration the needs of our customers, so there�s lots of flexibility in designing services to meet their various needs.� Rates and service options are available including drop-shipping to an International Service Center. �In other words, we ask our customers how much of the entire process they wish to do themselves.�
Companies shipping internationally with 600 parcels or with international package business totaling $12,000 a year are eligible for customized rates and services, says Michelson. �Lands� End is a large shipper and the company has taken advantage of this flexibility to get the services it needs for its customers� satisfaction � all at a price that is profitable for both of us,� he adds.
Future goals for Lands� End include offering customers more shipping options. �Whether that means more options provided by USPS or additional carriers, we will rely on our customers to let us know the methods they feel most comfortable with,� says Yoose.
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