BUSINESS WIRE--As U.S. businesses face challenges associated with a sluggish domestic economy, many are looking to markets overseas. Two technology-enabled services from UPS (NYSE:UPS) are making it easier than ever for businesses large and small to expand beyond U.S. shores -- and helping them go green while they’re at it.
Introduced in January, the industry-first solutions -- UPS Paperlesssm Invoice and international UPS Returns® -- now are available within the UPS Shipping Tool, an application program interface (API) that enables customers to integrate them into their own web sites and enterprise applications. They’re already helping thousands of UPS customers manage shipments to 98 countries and territories around the world via UPS shipping systems like UPS WorldShip®, UPS CampusShip™ and UPS Internet Shipping.
"It’s more important than ever for small- and medium-sized companies to look at global markets and to leverage technology to act ‘big,’ even as they retain the flexibility of a smaller company," said Jordan Colletta, UPS vice president of customer technology marketing. "With the spotlight on operational costs, these UPS services allow businesses of all sizes to overcome some of the complications of operating internationally in a cost-effective manner."
UPS Paperless Invoice
UPS Paperless Invoice, the only solution of its kind offered by transportation carriers today, saves time, money and trees. Since its introduction in January, customers with shipments originating in more than 30 countries have processed hundreds of thousands of “go paperless” shipments.
The free-of-charge solution enables customers to increase efficiency by integrating order processing, shipment preparation and commercial invoice data. It then transmits that data to customs offices across the globe electronically, eliminating the need for error-prone or incomplete paper documentation that is the main reason international shipments are delayed.
Because information is stored electronically, customers greatly reduce their chance of making manual errors filling out Customs documentation, and the tech-enabled service prevents them from submitting incomplete paperwork that could result in a shipment being held for clearance.
Paperless Invoice simplifies international shipping for UPS customers like hip consulting group, a Denver-based event management company, and PBD Worldwide Fulfillment Services of Alpharetta, Ga.
"Using UPS Paperless Invoice has saved us a lot of time and resources, especially with the amount of international business we do," said Becky Furstenberg, hip consulting group office manager. "It’s nice to know that I don’t have to worry about that piece of the puzzle anymore and as a company trying to ‘go green,’ it’s a bonus not having to waste so much paper." Hip estimates it saves a ream of paper on a monthly basis as a result of UPS Paperless Invoice.
Steve Hochradel, assistant vice president of distribution at PBD Worldwide Fulfillment Services, described the old system of keying in information, printing three copies of the commercial invoice and stuffing them in a clear plastic pouch as “manual and tedious.”
“What was taking 20 seconds is now less than five with UPS Paperless Invoice,” Hochradel said. “When you look at a peak volume of more than 3,000 international shipments per day, and saving 15 seconds on each, that’s a lot of time and a lot of money. That frees up a couple of people.”
In addition, eliminating multiple printed copies saves PBD about two pallets of copy paper per year and about 150 toner cartridges. “That adds up to several thousand dollars, a bunch of trees and eliminates concerns over disposal of toner cartridges,” Hochradel added.
Many companies hesitate to sell globally over the Internet because of the difficulty of facilitating a return if a customer is not satisfied.
Another first-to-market solution, UPS Returns allows customers to efficiently return purchased items from 98 countries or territories around the globe. Now, business and residential customers can receive the international return label and commercial invoice via e-mail, local post or from the UPS driver picking up the return package.
UPS Returns is easily accessed via UPS shipping systems like UPS WorldShip or UPS Internet Shipping and also can be integrated into a company's systems or Web site.
"Before UPS Returns, many of our international returns, especially from residential customers, would end up abandoned,” said PBD’s Hochradel. “Depending on the value of the shipment, sometimes the time and labor, plus the cost of the freight, just wasn’t worth it.”
California-based MicroDental is beginning to expand its business to Europe and Asia and UPS Returns is making it much easier for overseas dentists to send back patient impressions, said Production Support Manager Alan Bayles. He said one English dentist was having trouble returning items using another shipper, but has experienced no problems since MicroDental began using UPS Returns and now has increased his shipments from one or two per month to five to 10 per month.
“It’s been a great thing for him and it’s helping our business,” Bayles said.