Follow us on
Rob Martinez

Shipping Insights

By Rob Martinez

About Rob

Rob Martinez is the CEO of Shipware LLC, a professional services firm that transforms businesses through intelligent distribution solutions and strategies. Rob has helped some of the world’s most recognizable brands reduce parcel shipping costs an average of 25 percent through contract negotiations, rate benchmarking, modal optimization, invoice audit and other savings vehicles. A cum laude graduate of UCLA, Rob has 20 years of transportation industry experience, including executive positions at DHL and, in addition to his work as an outside consultant since 2001.

Retail Revelations

Melissa Campanelli
’Tis the Season for Experienced Retail Sales Associates
Nov 15, 2013

Many retailers are preparing for the busy holiday shopping days ahead by making sure their websites are working properly, their...

Catalog Doctor

Susan J. McIntyre
Why Catalogs Aren't a Bunch of Ads Stapled Together
Apr 11, 2014

PATIENT: "Doc, our new owners want to change the catalog so it's more like a series of ads — aspirational, exciting,...

B-to-B Insights

George Hague
2 Must-Have B-to-B Metrics
Apr 9, 2014

Smart CEOs know two essential B-to-B metrics to successfully grow their businesses: contribution per order (CPO) for new customers and...

The Art of Delivering Style

Maria Haggerty
3 Ways Retailers Can Avoid Warehouse Scalability Problems
Apr 2, 2014

Although growing quickly may seem like the ideal scenario, it can cause operational issues for retailers who are ill equipped...

Return on Inventory

Joe Palzkill
Inventory Planning Advice From Mike Tyson
Mar 20, 2014

With so many demands on your time, it's tough to break away and attend any function, but the NEMOA Spring...

Return on Intelligence

Jim Gilbert
2 Simple Ways to Become a Social Media Thought Leader and Build Your Following
Mar 18, 2014

Today I begin a new series about social media marketing. The goal is to help you become more adept at...

Designed to Convert

Tim Ash
Are Smartphones Bad at Conversions?
Mar 12, 2014

Tablets are winning. At least that's what it looks like if you've been keeping score. Adobe and Monetate generally agree...

ThinkAbout: Inspirational Verve for Your Product Line!

Andrea Syverson
How Ikea Practices Continual Improvement for its Brand
Feb 27, 2014

"There's more to life than furniture" declares a bold headline in a recent Ikea catalog. Perhaps a somewhat surprising statement from...


Stephen Lett
Actions to Take (or Not Take) When Response Rates Decline
Feb 19, 2014

Catalog response rates have been flat or trending down the past few years … or so it seems. The web...

Retail Rants & Raves

Joe Keenan
Tips for Customizing the Online Shopping Experience
Nov 8, 2013

In an effort to give you a sneak peek into the upcoming Retail Online Integration webinar, One Size Does NOT...

Email Applied

Reggie  Brady
Taking Advantage of Events, Not Just the Big Holidays
Sep 16, 2013

Most marketers develop an editorial and promotional master calendar to help organize their upcoming email schedule. You want to have...

2014-2015 Conference Calendar for Supply Chain, Distribution, Postal, Specialized Industry and More

The value of attending conferences is significant: learn from a combination of expert and peer-led presentations on trends and strategies to improve processes, enhance quality, reduce costs and do your jobs more effectively; network and make new connections; seek certification and professional growth opportunities; peruse the exhibit halls to better understand vendor capabilities and services; and more.  Read More >>


What the 2014 USPS Pricing Changes for Shipping Services Means to Retailers

Every time the USPS announces rate changes all the stakeholders come out of the woodwork, with many of them bemoaning the increases and how it will impact their operation. Relax! Take a deep breath. All told, this rate change will have minimal impact to most, favorable impact to some and not so favorable, but tolerable changes for others. The positive  Read More >>

Companies Mentioned:

UPS Announces 2014 Rates for Air, Ground and International Parcel Products

Last week, UPS announced its 2014 general rate increase. Ground, air and international parcel products will increase an average of 4.9 percent, effective Dec. 30, 2013.  Read More >>

Companies Mentioned:

Don’t Overlook This Important Step Prior to Holiday Shipping

This time of year, e-tailers are finalizing preparations for seasonal sales spikes. Efforts have included everything from stockpiling inventories to bolstering the labor force. However, one important and necessary action many have overlooked will contribute to higher costs and lost profits. Has your organization recently negotiated better shipping discounts with FedEx, UPS and other parcel carriers?


Companies Mentioned:

FedEx Announces 2014 Rate Increases for Express Products

This week FedEx announced average rate increases of 3.9 percent for express and international services, effective January 6, 2014. Unlike previous rates increases, FedEx will not offset rate increases by modifying fuel surcharge indexes. However, for many shippers the impact will be greater than the "average" increases announced, especially for deferred express products.  Read More >>

Companies Mentioned:

Confused About FedEx SmartPost, UPS SurePost and Other Deferred Residential Parcel Options?

Google FedEx SmartPost or UPS SurePost and plenty of hits show up in the search results. Some reviews are positive, extolling benefits that include cost effectiveness and fewer surcharges over air/ground alternatives, end-to-end package visibility, free Saturday delivery, and more. However, your search results will include complaints ranging from transit times that were too lengthy to crushed/damaged packages. One thing is for sure: With the meteoric growth of e-commerce and consumers’

... 

8 Ways to Use Parcel Carriers’ ‘Cost to Serve’ Pricing to Your Advantage

Just about every day, a shipper asks me what FedEx or UPS incentive they should be achieving for their specific spend level. But it doesn't work that way. While overall volume and revenue certainly play a role in pricing, the discounts you get from UPS and FedEx are largely based on their understanding of your distribution footprint and package characteristics, which are directly tied to the carriers’ "cost to serve" pricing models.   Read More >>

Companies Mentioned:


Will UPS Go On Strike?

As the calendar inches closer to a July 31 expiration of the collective bargaining agreement between the United Parcel Service (UPS) and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), the parcel industry is beginning to ask the question, will UPS go on strike?  Read More >>

Companies Mentioned:

Parcel Rate Increases for 2013 That Retailers Need to Know

UPS announced 6.5 percent air increases partially offset by a 2 percent fuel surcharge reduction, and 5.9 percent average ground increase offset by a 1 percent fuel surcharge reduction. Rate increases will take effect Dec. 31, 2012. Similarly, FedEx announced average rate increases of 5.9 percent for express and international services, offset by a 2 percent reduction in fuel surcharges. FedEx hasn't yet announced 2013 increases for FedEx Ground, FedEx Home Delivery or FedEx SmartPost,

... 

Parcel Rate Increases for 2012

UPS has announced 6.9 percent air increases, partially offset by a 2 percent fuel surcharge reduction. It's also announced a 5.9 percent average ground increase, offset somewhat by a 1 percent fuel surcharge reduction. Net increases for both UPS Air and UPS Ground are 4.9 percent effective Jan. 2, 2012.  Read More >>

Mistakes to Avoid When Negotiating Your Next Shipping Carrier Contract

There are many pitfalls to avoid when negotiating your carrier agreements. Take the time to develop a valuable relationship with your current carrier, but be sure to invite nonincumbent carriers to participate in annual bids — and give them a real shot! To maximize savings, do your homework, including meaningful benchmarking, and direct carrier negotiations through a formal bid. Take the time to understand and negotiate terms in addition to discounts.  Read More >>

Companies Mentioned:

UPS Shippers: Read the Fine Print!

Parcel shippers be forewarned. Lately, I've seen several misleading, if not unethical business practices by United Parcel Service (UPS). If you're like most shippers, you’ve negotiated incentives off UPS’s prevailing “published” or “list” pricing. For years, UPS used a single list rate for volume shippers and all incentives applied to an established set of rates.  Read More >>

Companies Mentioned:

Parcel Shippers’ Court Battle Continues to Take Shape

AFMS, a parcel consulting firm, filed an amended complaint against defendants UPS and FedEx, stating violations of Sherman Acts 1 and 2. AFMS claims that UPS and FedEx have violated federal antitrust laws. Furthermore, it alleges the parcel carriers are engaged in monopolistic and collusive actions. The lawsuit is the result of UPS and FedEx’s 2010 policies to not participate in bids or rate negotiations that involve third-party negotiators (3PNs) like AFMS.  Read More >>

Companies Mentioned:

You Too Can Offer Free Shipping

Consumers and carriers are squeezing e-tailers: customers expect free shipping and carriers keep raising prices. Residential shipping costs are skyrocketing out of control. What’s a shipper to do?  Read More >>

4 Ways Shippers Can Keep Parcel Costs in Check

A lot has certainly changed in a year. Following a dismal 2009, stock valuations at FedEx and UPS are approaching 2008 highs. Given the current environment, it's hard to remember that only a year ago FedEx froze bonuses and management salaries, rationalized networks, and suspended 401K contributions along with other measures to control costs.

Companies Mentioned: