There is a resource readily available to FedEx and UPS customers that, based on my experience, is underutilized and which has the potential to save businesses, companies and/or corporations money at a time when all of the above are intent on doing so.

FedEx and UPS shipments are charged based on weight and zone, the latter of which is based on the location from which a shipment is manifested. Because the two primary small package carriers have varying ground service footprints, knowing which carrier can move your package(s) to certain locations more quickly is an exercise that is both cost-effective and customer-service oriented.

Therefore, before determining which carrier can best service your parcel needs, be sure to study the ground transit time maps that can be accessed via either carrier's website.

These maps will tell you, by zip code, how many days it will take a ground shipment to arrive into a specific geographical area. What customers stand to gain from this exercise is two-fold:

1. With relation to service, a simple examination of these respective maps will allow a shipper to ID which carrier can move their shipment to its desired location faster. Regardless of your industry, it's relatively safe to assume that your customers want to receive their shipments as quickly as possible. Enter the zip code of your distribution center(s) and determine how quickly either carrier can deliver to your most popular destinations. Your customers will thank you for it!
2. "Trade down" has become a popular buzz word in the industry during an economic climate that is still working its way back to a temperature we're all more comfortable with. Savvy decision-makers can look deeper into the information provided by ground service maps by identifying areas in which their packages could be shipped via ground services and still arrive on the same day as they would via 2- or 3-day premium service offerings. If you want your shipment to arrive in two or three days, but don't have specific time requirements that must be met, congratulations, you've just identified a cost-saving opportunity without sacrificing service to your customers!

Each carrier's respective ground transit time maps are relatively easy to find. No Bill Gates? No problem. Just follow the links to FedEx Ground Service Maps and UPS Ground Time-in-Transit Maps. Then just ask yourselves whether concessions to your current business rules are feasible. If so, implement changes based on your findings and start saving your company money!

Brandon Staton is the Marketing and Communications Manager for Transportation Impact, LLC, an industry-leading parcel spend management firm. Brandon and the Transportation Impact team have helped negotiate small package contracts for some of the most well-known companies in the world, reducing their respective parcel shipping costs by an average of more than 18%. Brandon can be reached directly at 252.764.2885 or via email at