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February 2019


What Is a FedEx Shipping Exception?

By | FedEx, News, Shipping Knowledge

A customer checks the status of a package via FedEx tracking, but instead of viewing the expected shipping details, the customer sees an “exception.” As a result, they get worried, especially if that shipment is time-sensitive, and reaches out to the retailer to ask about the exception code and how it affects the package.

Retailers that ship frequently may experience the occasional exception message. If you haven’t yet experienced this, you might have questions. For example, will the package be late, and if so, can you expect a refund from FedEx?

The good news is that shipping exceptions don’t always translate to late packages. There are many situations that trigger this code, and understanding each potential situation assists with explaining the details to customers and communicating what to expect.

Shipping exceptions: understanding the basics

The majority of FedEx customers receive packages on time. In fact, packages are delivered when promised over 98 percent of the time. As a result, receiving an exception message is rare. Regardless, this message triggers worries about the package and its potential delivery date. The following FedEx explanation provides details about the exception code.

An exception occurs when a package is temporarily delayed while in transit. Every effort is made to deliver every package as soon as possible, so an exception does not necessarily denote a late shipment. The status exception explains the most recent exception in the scan activity section.

The term “PMX” refers to a p.m. exception, when a shipment is returned to a delivery station for the night because it was undeliverable during the courier’s route. Such a delivery exception may occur because the package was incorrectly addressed, a recipient was unavailable, etc. In many cases, delivery is re-attempted the next day.

Exception codes can also be triggered by other situations, some of which are beyond the control of FedEx; for example, a hurricane strikes an area in the path of delivery, temporarily stopping or delaying shipment of a package; a wildfire closes down a major highway, disrupting normal delivery routes and slowing the movement of packages; or a flood occurs in the delivery zone, making it impossible to deliver a package on the date promised.

One person checking the status of a package was surprised to view the exception code online, so the customer checked his email and had received the following message explaining the situation:

Heavy rainfall and flooding are causing hazardous conditions in the areas of Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. Our top priority is the safety and well-being of our team members, as well as providing the highest level of service to our customers. Although contingency plans are in place, some service delays and disruptions can be anticipated for inbound and outbound shipments in these areas. FedEx is committed to providing service to the best of our ability in areas that can be safely accessed.

In this instance, the package arrived as soon as delivery could safely resume in the area.

Another possible exception is when the barcode becomes unreadable. For example, one customer dropped off the package as usual, and the bar code and important details were attached to the package. However, somewhere along the route, that barcode became damaged, generating an exception code. When checking the status online, the customer noted the following exception.

Dec 10, 2014 7:31 PM Shipment exception FORT WORTH, TX Barcode label unreadable and replaced.

This type of exception sometimes results in a small delay, depending on the shipping service and details. It’s also possible that the label was quickly replaced, and the package was routed back into the normal delivery route with minimal delay. Regardless, when a customer receives an exception notice, the next question is typically “What do I do now?”

What to do if you notice an exception code

Whether it’s a natural disaster or another unforeseen circumstance that affects package delivery, you might wonder what to do when an exception occurs. After receiving an exception message, check the “shipment” or “package progress” section in Tracking to find specific details about changes in the delivery schedule. For example, if a weather event has occurred, you might find an adjusted delivery date.

You may also find more detailed information about the exception, such as the cause of the event. As mentioned previously, it’s not always something big that triggers an exception; it can be something relatively small. Here are a few additional scenarios that may trigger an exception.

The address is unknown. Sometimes customers make mistakes when entering address details. When this occurs, the carrier might contact the retailer to check the accuracy of the mailing address and make any needed corrections. If the information matches what you have on file, you might have to get in touch with the customer to confirm.

Damage to the shipment. In rare cases, FedEx may note damage to the shipment during transit. FedEx typically covers the first $100 in damages, and provides additional coverage that can be purchased when setting up shipping. Third-party companies also provide insurance options, some of which are less expensive than policies offered directly through the carriers. If you get an exception message that relates to damage, keep all original packing materials once the item is delivered.

If you make a claim for damages, FedEx may need to examine these materials to ensure the item was properly packed. FedEx provides full packing guidelines online, but a few suggestions include:

  • Use double-wall boxes for heavier items.
  • Place small packages inside a larger outer box.
  • Double-box fragile items with 3″ of cushioning in and around the smaller box.
  • Wrap items individually with cushioning material and center them in boxes away from other items and away from the sides, corners, top, and bottom of the box.
  • Place items that might be damaged by normal handling, such as soiling, marking, or application of adhesive labels, in a protective outer box.
  • Position bottles that contain liquids upright. Use an inner seal and perforated breakaway cap. The inner packaging must be able to contain leaks.
  • or odd- or irregular-shaped items, at a minimum you should wrap and tape all sharp edges or protrusions.

If FedEx determines the package wasn’t packed correctly, such as in a box that has flimsy integrity or inadequate packing materials, they might not pay the claim.

Signature was not received. FedEx offers various levels of service for shippers that require a signature. If you purchase the signature required service for $3.75, the person at the receiving address will be required to sign for the package. The carrier also offers a service for $4.75 that requires an adult to sign for the package. An exception is triggered if FedEx cannot obtain a signature.

If you receive an exception, get in touch with FedEx to learn more details. Beyond what is provided on the status tracking, FedEx may share other information, such as what is holding up the package and when you can expect its arrival.


Understanding the FedEx money-back guarantee

In most cases, FedEx packages are delivered on time without exception or delay. But at times, problems do occur, and FedEx has a money-back guarantee. According to FedEx:

We offer a money-back guarantee for every U.S. shipment. You may request a refund or credit of your shipping charges if we miss our published (or quoted, as in the case of FedEx SameDay®) delivery time by even 60 seconds.

However, exceptions might not be covered under the money-back guarantee, depending on the situation. If the exception is the result of the following, a refund may not be provided:

  • Illegible label
  • Improper address
  • Inclement weather
  • Air traffic control problems

Additionally, the refund is not available in several other situations, which are highlighted in the company’s terms of service, including:

  • An incorrect address is provided.
  • FedEx receives a request to redirect a shipment from a delivery address to hold at a FedEx location.
  • There was an unexpected large release of packages from your shipping location.

If you think you qualify for a refund, reach out to FedEx to start the process. Even if the package qualifies, refunds aren’t automatic: You must request the refund directly.

Shipping exceptions aren’t always a major problem

FedEx exceptions aren’t always a reason for concern. For example, let’s say that FedEx has trouble delivering a package. The address is incorrect, so the company issues an exception and gets in touch with the shipper. Once they reach out, you can contact the customer and verify shipping details. You quickly verify those details and get back to FedEx the same day. It’s possible the package will have very little delay.

In some situations, an exception is more like a notification, with no action required on your part. For example, if the label needs to be replaced due to damage, no action is required on your part. And in other cases, the exception can be an opportunity for you to reach out to customers. Maybe many shipments were delayed due to a snowstorm. As a result, you can send out an email to those affected, notifying them of the issue and thanking them for their patience.

An exception is simply information; as a shipper, it is up to you to take that information and figure out the best way to move forward and ensure a positive experience for the customer.  

About Shipware

Shipware delivers volume parcel and less-than-truckload shippers intelligent and innovative distribution solutions and strategies. Whether you ship with FedEx, UPS, the USPS or regional carriers, our invoice audit and contract optimization services are guaranteed to reduce your parcel and LTL shipping costs by 10 to 30 percent, with no disruption of current operations. Our team of experts has over 200 years of combined carrier pricing experience. We have negotiated thousands of FedEx, UPS and LTL contracts, and have saved our clients an average of 19 percent on shipping.

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What Are FedEx Shipping Rates?

By | FedEx, News, Shipping Knowledge

Retailers have many concerns, and among the most pressing are shipping costs. How can you get packages to your customers quickly and more cost-effectively? FedEx is a large carrier moving nearly 14 million shipments each business day. The company has over 675 aircrafts and 175,000 motorized vehicles transporting items, and for the most part, they do so with nearly perfect accuracy, achieving 98 percent on-time delivery.

But as a retailer, when you’re managing costs, the first thing you need to know is how to determine what a package costs to ship, and equally important, whether it’s possible to reduce those costs. Let’s take a look at how to calculate FedEx shipping rates and more accurately forecast these expenses.

Understanding FedEx service options

Many variables play into the shipping costs equation, but one of the largest is speed. How quickly must your package arrive? In most situations, especially in cases of free shipping offers, slower delivery is fine. As a result, a service such as FedEx Ground is acceptable, delivering the package within several business days.

In special circumstances, faster services, such as overnight delivery, are required. For example, maybe there was a mistake internally and the package didn’t go out in time. As a result, the customer won’t have the item for an upcoming special event, and time is essential in ensuring customer satisfaction.

Understanding all available options, and the potential costs, is a good starting point for determining how these costs fit into your shipping strategy. Let’s take a look at FedEx shipping options, and then we’ll dive into exact costs.

FedEx SameDay. This service provides reliable door-to-door delivery within hours and is available seven days a week, 365 days a year. SameDay is available in all states for package weights up to 150 lbs. For packages that exceed 150 lbs., FedEx SameDay Freight can be used.

FedEx SameDay City. This service offers a door-to-door option for delivery within hours. Delivery time varies based on the distance traveled. For example, for 0-15 miles, packages typically arrive within two hours. Packages that must travel longer distances, such as more than 60 miles, can expect a delivery time closer to several hours.

FedEx First Overnight. This service is a good option when a package must be delivered early the next business day. Next-day business delivery is provided by 8:00 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 9:00 a.m. or 9:30 a.m. to most areas. For extended areas, delivery time might be by 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m. or 2:00 p.m., depending on the destination ZIP code. FedEx First Overnight is available throughout all 50 states and is available for packages up to 150 lbs.

FedEx Priority Overnight. This service is a good choice if your shipment needs to arrive by 10:30 a.m. the next day. Delivery might be later, however, depending on the delivery ZIP code. FedEx Priority Overnight is available in all 50 states, and for packages up to 150 lbs.

FedEx Standard Overnight. Perhaps you need a package delivered overnight, but you’re looking for a more affordable option. If so, this service provides next-business-day delivery by 3 p.m. to most U.S. addresses in all 50 states, but at a lower cost when compared with faster options.

FedEx 2Day. There are a couple of variations of this service. The first provides delivery by 10:30 a.m. to most U.S. addresses. The second service is standard 2Day but provides delivery by 4:30 p.m. to businesses and 8 p.m. to residences. Urgency will dictate which is right for your situation, but both services cover package weight up to 150 lbs.

FedEx Express Saver. Express Saver provides delivery in three business days, typically by 4:30 p.m. to businesses and 8 p.m. to residences on the third delivery day. This delivery option is available in all states with the exception of Alaska and Hawaii.

FedEx Ground. According to the FedEx website, “FedEx Ground is faster to more locations than UPS Ground.” This service level provides a more affordable option with delivery times of one to five business days within the contiguous United States and three to seven business days to and from Alaska and Hawaii. It’s also important to note that FedEx Ground cannot deliver to P.O. boxes.

FedEx Home Delivery. This service is for residential deliveries and provides arrival within one to seven business days, depending on the destination. Expectations are similar to FedEx Ground with one to five business days within the contiguous United States and three to seven business days to and from Hawaii. Delivery is typically Tuesday-Saturday between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m., and this service is available throughout all 50 states.

FedEx SmartPost. SmartPost is a contracted service that provides 100 percent coverage, including destinations beyond the U.S. border. Additionally, there are no residential or Saturday delivery surcharges. FedEx SmartPost provides an affordable option by leveraging a partnership with the USPS. FedEx transports the package until the “last mile” of delivery. At this point, the package is passed off to the local post office, and they finish the delivery process.

After looking at the service list, you might have a couple of options in mind. For example, perhaps you want to compare 2Day and FedEx Ground services costs. What should you do next? Fortunately, FedEx makes finding shipping costs easy. There are a couple of different options, both of which we’ll cover to get you started with calculating costs.

Determining shipping rates

There are two methods to find FedEx rates. The first is using the FedEx Service Guide, and the second is using a FedEx tool. We’ll cover both methods so you can select the one that is easiest for you, starting with using the Service Guide. Follow these steps to help you easily determine your shipping rate:

  1. Find the zone for your destination. The zone is critical information because it helps determine how far the package must travel. For U.S. shipments, visit the Rate Finder and select the “Rates Tools” table, then enter your origin ZIP code to see which zone your destination ZIP code corresponds to. You can also request zone information by calling FedEx directly at 800-463-3339.
  2. Determine the package weight. Once you have this information in hand, view the “Dimension Weight” section of the Service Guide. Your chargeable weight is the greater of the actual weight and the dimensional weight. View the exact instructions and formula for calculating dimensional weight on page 122 of the Service Guide.
  3. Find your rate. Use the pricing guide in the FedEx Service Guide to find the appropriate table.

For example, let’s say that you’re shipping a 5-lb. package in Zone 2, which is generally 0-150 miles from the origin to destination anywhere within the contiguous United States. Looking at page 30 of the service guide, you can see that if you selected FedEx Priority Overnight, the fee would be $34.58. However, if you selected FedEx 2Day, that cost would drop down to $19.22.

Let’s say that you’re shipping in Zone 3, which is typically 151-300 miles from origin to destination anywhere within the contiguous U.S. The cost to ship a 5-lb. package using FedEx Priority Overnight would be $48.13 for a 5-lb. package. Using FedEx 2Day service, that fee would drop to $20.55 for the same package.

In addition to the Service Guide, FedEx provides a rate and transit time tool that allows you to get customized details on rates. Enter your shipping details, including the ship from and ship to locations, the number of packages, and the weight of the package(s), and get a quote that provides pricing information. This is the easier method of the two to determine shipping costs, but it’s good to have a backup option, which is where the Service Guide is useful.

Understanding extra services

FedEx provides a variety of value-added services and surcharges. Depending on what type of package you’re sending and your individual needs, those charges may affect your total price. As a result, it’s important to understand which options are available and might apply to your shipment.

FedEx provides a complete list of options online, but one of the most common options is the delivery signature option. For example, you may use this if you’re shipping an item to an unhappy customer, and you want to ensure that it arrives. Let’s take a look at the different service levels.

No signature required. FedEx will attempt to get a signature at the delivery address, but if no one is available, FedEx will deliver the package to a safe place without obtaining a signature. This level of service is available upon request at no cost.

Indirect signature required. FedEx obtains a signature from somebody at the delivery address, whether it’s a neighbor or a building manager. If no one is available to sign, FedEx will attempt to redeliver the package. This service is available upon request on residential shipments to the United States and Canada with a declared value below $500.

Direct signature required. If you want a person to sign for the package at a specific address, you can purchase this service for $5.00 per package. FedEx obtains a signature from someone at the delivery address only. If no one is available, they will attempt to redeliver the package.

Adult signature required. FedEx obtains a signature from any person of legal age at the address, subject to their providing a valid ID. If no one qualified is available to sign, FedEx will attempt to redeliver the package. Bear in mind that the legal age varies, depending on the destination country. The cost for this service is $6.05 per package.

An additional service that is commonly purchased is declared value coverage. FedEx automatically covers liability up to $100 for damages or losses at no additional cost. But FedEx allows you to purchase extended coverage at an additional charge. Keep in mind, however, that third-party providers also provide this service. In some cases, it can be less expensive than purchasing directly through the carrier, so weigh the costs and benefits of all options.

Additionally, it’s important to note that FedEx charges a residential surcharge of $3.85 that is added to all FedEx home delivery shipments. Companies can bypass this charge by using FedEx SmartPost. Since SmartPost uses USPS for the last leg of delivery, this fee is waived, and the overall cost is much less. Additionally, Saturday delivery is available at no extra charge.

Moving forward with greater efficiency

The majority of consumers prefer to shop online. In fact, 95 percent of Americans shop online at least yearly, and 80 percent shop monthly. As a result, e-commerce is booming, and that growth isn’t expected to slow down anytime soon. But the challenge for retailers is balancing shipping costs with the pressure of providing additional services, such as faster delivery and free shipping. This leaves them asking: How can we figure out shipping costs and then work to reduce them?

Understanding costs is the first step, but after that you can play with comparing various options, such as FedEx Ground vs. FedEx SmartPost to determine which can provide the greatest savings. Striking the right balance will allow you to serve customers with greater experience and position your business to thrive in the future.

About Shipware

Shipware delivers volume parcel and less-than-truckload shippers intelligent and innovative distribution solutions and strategies. Whether you ship with FedEx, UPS, the USPS or regional carriers, our invoice audit and contract optimization services are guaranteed to reduce your parcel and LTL shipping costs by 10 to 30 percent, with no disruption of current operations. Our team of experts has over 200 years of combined carrier pricing experience. We have negotiated thousands of FedEx, UPS and LTL contracts, and have saved our clients an average of 19 percent on shipping.

rob martinez

Meet Rob Martinez of Shipware in Rancho Bernardo

By | Canonical

Previously published on on January 2, 2019.

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rob Martinez.

Helmed by the company’s two Cofounders — Rob and Trevor Outman — Shipware solves the problem of high shipping costs (parcel and LTL) through its unique services, which include the following:

Contract Optimization – Ensures you have the lowest possible contract rates by improving discounts and terms with companies like FedEx, UPS, US Postal Service, DHL and many others.

Invoice Audit & Recovery – Shipware’s proprietary audit software analyzes weekly parcel & LTL invoices for overcharges, late shipments and other common errors, and applies all credits directly to your carrier account.

Modal Optimization – Shipware will optimize your carrier mix and modes of transport to ensure you’re paying as little as possible for the transit speed required.

Spend Management Tools – Shipware provides powerful reporting tools for greater spend management visibility empowering our clients to make intelligent and low-cost transportation decisions.

Special Rate Programs – Small to medium volume shippers can use Shipware’s group rates with companies like FedEx, UPS, US Postal Service and DHL to immediately reduce costs, as much as 30%.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?

So far, so good! Shipware is in hyper-growth mode averaging triple digit YOY revenue growth in each of the past 5 years. We are 100% self-funded, debt-free, and our industry-best profit margins provide significant capital to continue to fund our rapid growth.

With 2014-2016 revenue growth of 525%, I’m delighted to announce that Shipware recently was named as an honoree in the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies in the US (#857) and #16 in San Diego.

Shipware is committed to being added to the list of “Best Places to Work in San Diego”. Shipware’s biggest strength is its dedicated associates that provide our clients with the best service and results in our industry. Shipware offers competitive salaries, strong benefits, employer retirement matching, profit sharing, and “work hard/play hard” fun team events to ensure a positive and vibrant culture.

Shipware – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?

Shipware’s passion is to utilize experience, IP & technology to help businesses reduce parcel (FedEx/UPS/US Postal Service/DHL) & LTL trucking costs while improving transportation spend management. Our tagline is Shipping Expertise – Savings Delivered.

Shipware has been negotiating parcel & LTL contracts – on both sides of the negotiating table – since 1991. Once engaged, we guide your team through the entire contract negotiation process in real time. Our compensation is based on actual, implemented savings, guaranteeing results or we’re not paid. The value of Shipware’s Contract Optimization services extends well beyond pure bottom-line savings. Not only do our results continue to impact savings well beyond our term of engagement, but also our process enables our clients to learn exactly how to achieve a best-in-class carrier program on their own.

Shipware also provides powerful data mining software and state-of-the-art online reporting tools empowering our clients to make intelligent cost-saving transportation decisions. Shipware can also analyze and optimize your delivery network to save money and improve delivery transit using Carrier/Mode Optimization strategies. Our proprietary audit software analyzes weekly parcel invoices for billing errors and service failures. With 50+ audit points, Shipware’s audit recovers more dollars than any other audit firm, which is confirmed time and time again in head to head comparisons. All credits are directly applied to your carrier account.

Our core values of integrity, professionalism, customer partnership, and innovation are formulated to ensure the highest client value in our industry. We view each client as a vital partner, and we aim to establish long-term relationships. Since 2001, Shipware has achieved savings for its clients 5-30%. We know of no other firm in the world that can match our track record of savings, professionalism and unmatched value.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?

Good question! I personally measure success and being able to look yourself in the mirror knowing you gave it your all and achieved the most optimal results you possibly could have achieved.

Company-wide success means that every single Shipware associate (affectionately called “ShipWarriors” internally) can — at the end of every day — look themselves in the mirror and ask that same question. Did you give it all you had? If yes, we won’t have to worry about finding success. It will find us!

Ultimately, we measure success in our customers’ eyes, as it all comes down to satisfying our clients. Shipware’s success goal is to exceed our clients’ expectations by delivering value beyond their reach.