the PartnerShip Connection blog
the PartnerShip Connection blog
the PartnerShip Connection blog
the PartnerShip Connection blog
the PartnerShip Connection blog
Customer Savings Letters: A PartnerShip Tradition
09/25/2012 — Scott Frederick
Last week our Marketing department had the opportunity to send "savings letters" to all 16,000+ of our active customers showing them the savings they have received through a PartnerShip shipping program over the past 12 months.
Sending customers annual savings letters is a long-standing tradition for PartnerShip. It's a great way for us to thank our customers for their business and to show them how much money they have saved on small package shipping, LTL freight shipping, and tradeshow shipping. In many cases, these savings are accessible only through their membership with an association or trade group, so it's important that these small and medium businesses see the tangible value of this important member benefit. And in almost every case, the savings they receive through the program is enough to offset the annual dues they pay to be a part of the association or trade group - so that is really cool.
As in the past, the letters generate a lot of feedback from customers. Some have compliments, some have questions, and some just want to learn more about how they can maximize their savings through the program. In all cases, it creates some very good dialog between our customers and our sales and customer service teams.
As I perused the list of customers and letters for our most recent mailing, I was impressed with how our customers are saving money across a variety of shipping services. So I thought I would grab a few quick examples and include them here:
Calculating accurate savings can often be difficult. Our savings figures are generally shown as the difference between a customer's actual discounted rates and the list or market prices used by the reputable carriers we work with to provide the service. So, in that sense, the numbers might be slightly inflated because we know that many shippers don't always pay list or market prices. That said, even if we account for the modest discounts that carriers sometimes provide to small and medium shippers, the savings our customers get through their PartnerShip shipping programs are still very real and significant.
If you are a current PartnerShip customer who received a savings letter and you have questions - or if you didn't receive your letter for some reason - please give us a call at 800-599-2902 or send an email to sales@PartnerShip.com.
If you're not a PartnerShip customer but you'd like to learn more about how we can help you save money on your small package, LTL freight or tradeshow shipping, call us at 800-599-2902 or request a free freight analysis using the button below. Who knows ... if you become a customer, you might be on the mailing list for our next batch of savings letters!
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New PartnerShip.com Website Coming Soon!
09/21/2012 — Scott Frederick
We're excited to announce that a brand new PartnerShip.com is coming soon! A few of the new enhancements will include:
- A fresh new look and feel showcasing the updated PartnerShip branding
- Improved navigation (everything is pretty much one click away)
- More information on all of our services, including LTL Freight shipping, Tradeshow shipping, Small Package shipping, Association programs, and Specialized solutions
- Enhanced My PartnerShip dashboard and improvements to the Rate Quote, Create Shipment & Bill of Lading, and Reporting tools
- Tips and help for new shippers
- Quick access to free, no-obligation rate quotes
- Fast account creation process for new customers
- Credit card payment method for individual shipments and invoices
- New low-cost Shipping Supplies
- Prominent access to our social media outlets (i.e., Blog, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, SlideShare, Google+)
- New Live Chat functionality, allowing you to reach our customer service representatives online and at your convenience
- An online employee directory and downloadable reference flyers with your dedicated regional sales & support team and their contact information
The re-launch of PartnerShip.com is scheduled for late December or early January. Look for more information over the coming weeks. And over the weeks and months that follow the re-launch of PartnerShip.com, we'll be making even more improvements to our online freight management tools. If you have any feedback or suggestions you'd like to share, please click the button below and let us know what's on your mind. Thank you!
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FedEx Announces 2013 Small Package Rate Increases
09/20/2012 — Scott Frederick
As part of their recent investor relations conference call, FedEx announced their 2013 annual rate increases for domestic and international express shipments. The new rates will become effective on Monday, January 7th 2013. As they have for the last several years, FedEx announced an overall increase of 5.9%, along with a 2% reduction in the fuel surcharge, for a net increase of 3.9%.
A recent analysis done by the folks at Parcel magazine indicates that domestic express prices are actually increasing by an average of 6.54%, and international rates are up an average of 6.12%. As in previous years, increases are targeted at specific service levels and zones, with lane by lane increases ranging from a low of 3% to a high of over 10.5%, so shippers will need to do an "old vs. new" calculation to determine the actual impact on your shipments. Parcel magazine also notes that the increases are somewhat lower on the more expensive premium services, and higher on the deferred services. This is to minimize the impact of trading down to economy services. FedEx will announce their 2013 ground rates later in the year.
The Parcel magazine article outlines the specific increases by service level as follows:
FedEx First Overnight
This premium priced early next day service shows an average 5.76% increase, with highest increases to Zone 8-US shipments travelling more than 1,800 miles. Specific increases range from 3.98% to 6.35%.
Average 5.99% increase to this next day 10:30 AM service, with somewhat higher increases to zones 5 through 8, along with shipments to Alaska and Hawaii. Letters are showing a bit bigger hit compared to packages. Specific increases range from 4.01% to 6.50%.
Average 6.56% increase to this next afternoon service. As with PO, FedEx has targeted somewhat higher increases to zone 5 through 8, along with Alaska and Hawaii. Note that the overall increase is a bit higher compared to Priority Overnight. Specific increases range from 3.01% to 7.0%.
FedEx 2 Day
Average 6.65% increase, with heaviest increases to zones 2, 3 and 4. These shipments would be good targets for conversion to ground. Specific increases range from 3.01% to 7.5%.
FedEx Express Saver 3 Day
Hefty increases, averaging 7.74%. Savvy shippers will want to compare costs and transit times with ground. In some cases, ground shipments are quicker than deferred air, and at a considerably lower price point. Is FedEx encouraging shippers to move shipments from air to ground? We think so. Specific increases range from 6.4% to 10.26%.
International Priority Export
Increases range from 2.5% to 8.5%, and average 6.47%. Hardest hit are shipments to Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan (7.53%), while shipments to Germany and Italy get off relatively light, with increases of just 2.7%.
International Economy Export
Increases range from 3.99% to 8.0%, with average increases of 6.69%- a bit higher than the faster, more costly International Priority. As with IPE, shipments to Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan show the biggest increases, at 7.88%, with the lowest increases to Saudi Arabia, the Czech Republic and Russia, at 4.8%.
International Priority Import
Increases range from 2% to 8.8%, averaging 5.85%. These are inbound international shipments into the US, paid in US dollars. Keep in mind that you can also tender the same shipment in a foreign country, so you will want to compare rates and currency equivalents. AFMS has discovered savings of 20% or more, just by taking advantage of the lowest overall cost country and currency. Most shipments from Central and South America increased just 2.26%, while imports from Japan and South Korea are up 8.51%.
International Economy Import
Increases range from 2.0% to 9.0%, and average 5.48%. Imports from Germany and Italy are up just 2.21%, while inbound shipments from Australia are up 8.93%.
Address Correction up $1 to $12 (9.1%).
Residential Surcharge up $0.20 to $3.20 (6.7%).
Declared Value up $0.05 to $0.85 per $100 coverage (6.3%). Minimum charge up $0.15, to $2.55 (6.3%).
Commercial DAS up $0.15 to $2.15 (7.5%).
Residential DAS up $0.25 to $3.25 (8.3%).
Extended DAS Residential up $0.25 to $3.50 (7.7%).
Indirect Signature Required up $0.25 to $2.25 (12.5%).
Missing or Incorrect Account Number up $1 to $11 (10%).
Payor Rebill up $1 to $11 (10%).
If you ship or receive small packages, now is the time to take full advantage of the cost-saving benefits available to you with a PartnerShip Shipping Program through your association or trade group. Our services are available at no cost. Let one of our transportation experts provide you with a free, no obligation shipping analysis and a review of your existing carrier agreements to ensure you are getting the most for your shipping dollar. Call PartnerShip today at 800-599-2902 or send an email to sales@PartnerShip.com.
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National Truck Driver Appreciation Week
09/19/2012 — Scott Frederick
Please join PartnerShip and the American Trucking Association (ATA) this week to honor the 3.1 million professional truck drivers that deliver America's freight safely and securely, every day. If you're not familiar with this event, read the information below as pulled from the ATA news release from earlier this week.
—Professional truck drivers deliver our nation's essential freight safely, every day,' said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. —As a result of this commitment, our nation's highways are the safest they have ever been and our grocery shelves are stocked. We as a nation, owe a great deal to the truck drivers out on our nation's roads, as well as the families of those behind the wheel.'
During this National Truck Driver Appreciation Week of Sept. 16-22, ATA, its state affiliates and America's Road Team Captains will mark the celebration by holding events across the nation.
The celebrations this week will be hosted by motor carriers, logistics companies, shippers and other trucking related industries. Ways in which said entities show their appreciation include million-mile and safety awards, cash bonuses or gifts, an extra paid day off, a cup of coffee or windshield cleaning at truck stops, goodie bags with fresh fruit and water, free health checks and numerous celebration meals. Several events will last all week, until every driver cycles through company headquarters. Office personnel at some companies are also encouraged to spend a few days out on the road to see the driver's side of their business. Many celebrations will be kicked off with a video tribute to the professional truck driver (see the ATA "Bring It" YouTub Channel).
There are over 3.1 million professional truck drivers delivering life's essentials, nationwide. These professional men and women log close to 398 billion miles each year. In 2011, trucking professionals delivered 67 percent of the U.S. freight tonnage, equivalent to 9.2 billion tons of freight. 80 percent of U.S. communities depend solely on the trucking industry for the delivery of goods. Professional truck drivers keep America moving.
ATA began celebrating National Truck Driver Appreciation Week in 1988 in an effort to honor those hard working men and women who deliver life's essentials, every day. Follow National Truck Driver Appreciation Week on Twitter and Facebook.
Once again, on behalf of PartnerShip and our 16,000+ active customers, we'd like to express our total gratitude and appreciation for the drivers who are critical to our all of our businesses - and especially for the drivers who deliver our goods every day as representatives of our core carriers: FedEx, UPS, Con-way Freight, YRC Freight, Old Dominion, ABF, Pitt Ohio, and New Penn!
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New to LTL Freight Shipping?
09/18/2012 — Scott Frederick
Are you somewhat new to LTL freight shipping? No worries, PartnerShip is here to help. Our knowledgeable representatives know the ins and outs of shipping LTL freight and are always available. Below are a few basic shipping terms, definitions, and things to remember when shipping LTL freight.
What is LTL Freight?
LTL stands for Less-Than-Truckload, which means the shipment does not completely fill an entire truck. An LTL freight shipment is typically palletized and ranges anywhere from 150 lbs to 10,000 lbs. Large Shipments over 10,000 lbs are usually moved by Full truckload (FTL).
When to palletize:
When pieces fit squarely within the edges of the pallet
When height and width of shipment pieces are similar
When individual pieces in a load exceed 100 lbs.
When individual pieces are less than 84" high
When not to palletize:
When pieces are light enough to be stacked on top of heavier goods
When a shipment isn't large enough to fill the surface of a pallet
When containers have considerable air space and can crush easily
When the sides of the cartons overhang the sides of the pallet
Damaged or Missing Pieces of an LTL Freight Shipment
Record and check shipments for shortages, damages, and concealed damages immediately upon delivery. PartnerShip can help you through this process.
Always notify your vendor of short or damaged shipments
Have the driver precisely document all exceptions on the delivery receipt
Claims must be filed within 9 months of delivery date
Contact the carrier within 15 days of delivery date to report concealed shortages or damages
Never pay for merchandise not received
Always try to have your vendor file the LTL freight claim
Any additional services required outside of the standard shipping and receiving procedures require additional fees called "accessorial fees" to cover the additional costs incurred by the LTL carrier. Most of these services, as shown below, can be requested when you are getting a Rate Quote for your shipment on the PartnerShip.com website.
Lift gate service
Inside pick up or delivery
Collect on delivery (COD)
LTL Freight Class
LTL Freight Class refers to the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) and it is the category of your LTL freight as defined by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA). Your shipment's LTL freight class determines the carrier's shipping charges. It identifies the size, value and difficulty of transporting your LTL freight.
This is the item number that specifically identifies each type of product that can be shipped by an LTL carrier. The National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) assigns NMFC item #'s to all products along with a LTL freight class. The NMFC # identifies what you are shipping and its LTL freight class.
Bill of Lading (BOL)
Simply put, a bill of lading is the most important document in the shipping process. One is required for each shipment, and acts as both a receipt and a contract. A properly completed bill of lading legally shows that the carrier has received the LTL freight as described, and is obligated to deliver that LTL freight in good condition to the consignee.
Inside Pickup and Inside Delivery
If the driver is required to go inside (beyond the front door or loading dock), to pick up or deliver your shipment, instead of remaining at the dock or truck, additional fees will be charged. When obtaining quotes through our system, check off inside pickup and or inside delivery and the carrier's fee will be included in your quotes.
Lift Gate Service
When the shipping or receiving address does not have a loading dock, manual loading or unloading is necessary. A lift gate is a platform at the back of certain trucks that can raise and lower a shipment from the ground to the truck. Additional fees apply for this service.
Collect on Delivery
Collect on delivery (COD) is a billing option from the carriers. Routing your shipments via "Freight Collect" means that the carrier will invoice you at your discounted rate. Your product invoice from your vendor will no longer have shipping charges on it.
PRO or Tracking Number
A number assigned by the carrier to reference your shipment. It is also used for tracking your shipment.
Reweigh and Inspection Fee
If the carrier suspects that the weight or class of your shipment is inaccurate, they will charge a fee to reweigh and re-class your shipment.
How to Determine Density
Freight density measures how heavy a shipment is relative to the size of the shipment. A shipment with a high freight density weighs a lot relative to its size, such as densely packed books. A package with a low freight density weighs little relative to its size, such as a box filled with Styrofoam.
Length 48", Width 40", Height 28" (22" plus 6" of pallet)
48" x 40" x 28" = 53,760 cubic inches
Convert to Cubic feet by dividing by 1728
53760 ÷ 1728 = 31.1 cubic feet
The density equals the weight, 110 lbs (80 lbs for the carton and approximately 30 lbs for the pallet), divided by the cubic dimension
110 ÷ 31.1 = 3.54 lbs per cubic feet
How Can PartnerShip Help Me Save on my LTL Freight Shipments?
PartnerShip provides a comprehensive inbound and outbound LTL freight management program that was designed to take the guesswork out of LTL freight shipping and save your business time and money. PartnerShip gives LTL freight shippers a full suite of online management tools on PartnerShip.com, in addition to increased discounts. All these services and savings help to positively impact on your bottom line. And the best part of all — there is no additional cost to you to use the PartnerShip LTL freight management program. Let us perform a Free Freight Analysis to see how much you can save on your LTL freight shipping.
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8 Excuses for Not Working with a 3PL Provider
09/14/2012 — Scott Frederick
When a member of the PartnerShip sales team talks with a prospective customer for the first time, they occasionally are met with some resistance to the idea of working with a 3PL provider. For small and medium businesses, working with a 3PL can seem like a daunting notion. Here are some common "excuses" cited as reasons for not working with a 3PL partner:
- "I can't afford to switch carriers." In some instances this may be a good reason to stay the course if you are getting really good pricing that can't be matched by the 3PL. However, in most cases a 3PL can use its buying clout to negotiate better rates on your behalf. A 3PL can also audit and consolidate freight bills, and provide claims filing assistance, saving additional time that the small businesses can use to focus on more critical tasks. Additionally, some 3PLs offer additional liability protection on your shipments that you may not be receiving today (for instance, PartnerShip provides $25/pound liability coverage, whereas many carriers offer only $10/pound).
- "Freight costs are not a big deal because my customer pays for the freight." Unless you're product is totally indispensible, this is extremely short-sighted thinking. The total landed price if a product always influences the final sale price. Your customer may not care now, but if they find a cheaper alternative - one that can possible be sourced from a local vendor instead of you - their business will be at risk.
- "I buy all of my inbound materials vendor prepaid." If you are the customer, then you are probably overpaying for your inbound goods if you trust that your vendor is always giving you the lowest freight price. Wouldn't it at least make sense to explore both "inbound prepaid" and "inbound collect" options to see which yields the lower overall cost of goods? The reality is that there's no such thing as "free shipping," so don't be fooled into thinking those costs aren't hidden somewhere.
- "Freight costs are not of a concern since my profit margins are good." Sure, margins may be good today, but they won't be good tomorrow if your customer finds a lower-priced alternative. Even if they don't find a lower-priced alternative, what's wrong with the idea of improving upon your already good margins? You never know when those additional profits may be needed down the road.
- "I pay my staff good salaries, so I shouldn't need a 3PL to do their jobs for them." If you are a small or medium business, then in all likelihood transportation decisions are only a small portion of your employees' overall responsibilities. When you work with a quality 3PL, you aren't duplicating their work - you're giving them the tools and support to do their jobs more effectively. A 3PL partner will allow you and your people to focus on your core competencies which are probably marketing, merchandising, and selling your products.
- "I already have great pricing with my current carrier." If your only evidence of this statement comes from your current carrier, they may be guilty of a conflict of interest. Would they really admit it if you had bad pricing? Definitely not. Additionally, some carriers can be price-competitive in some lanes, but not competitive in other lanes. When you work with a quality 3PL partner, you generally get a few options for each of your shipping lanes ensuring you enjoy the lowest possible cost on every shipment, every time.
- "My business is down and so I'm not shipping as much." If your business is down like so many others in today's economy, your "buying power" is probably down as well. This makes it all the more imperative that you leverage the buying clout of a 3PL. They can ensure, no matter if your business is up or down, you maintain low-priced freight rates that are consistent with the most competitive, prevailing shipping rates in the market.
- "My business is up and I simply don't have time to deal with a 3PL." No one can deny that entering into a new partnership with a 3PL - or any other supplier - takes a certain amount of time. However, if you do the real math, quite often the nominal time investment it will take to bring a quality 3PL on board will more than pay for it in future freight and time savings. Additionally, having this foundation in place will allow you to continue to maximize your business growth going forward, without having to get bogged down with the nitty-gritty details around shipping and carrier relations.
The advantages of using a 3PL freight partner are clear, and it is important to choose the right one. As a dependable and reputable 3PL freight partner, PartnerShip is your shipping connection to substantial discounts and customized solutions for your business. For more information contact us at 800-599-2902 or email select@PartnerShip.com. You can also download our short, electronic white paper below on "The Advantages of Using a 3PL Freight Partner" by clicking the button below.
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Advantage: Tennis Supplier Scores Savings on Shipping
09/11/2012 — Scott Frederick
Here is a recent case study in how PartnerShip helped a wholesale tennis supplier enjoy substantial savings on their LTL freight shipping.
A small Texas-based wholesale supplier for the tennis industry has seen its business grow over the past few years. The business is currently receiving 8-10 freight shipments per month, weighing 600-700 pounds on average. Outbound shipments generally move via small package carrier, although some shipments may be large enough for freight carriers.
Escalating freight costs, including exorbitant liftgate fees on inbound shipments, were limiting the owner's ability to reinvest and grow the business to its full potential.
Through it's relationship with the Tennis Industry Association (TIA), PartnerShip offers a free, no-obligation freight analysis to business owner through email correspondence. The customer receives the email and completes the short online freight analysis form provided by PartnerShip. A PartnerShip senior account representative calls the customer to clarify the situation and details.
After reviewing the customer's freight analysis details, PartnerShip negotiates highly discounted rates with a small group of reputable freight carriers, including reduced liftgate and inside delivery fees. The PartnerShip proposal also includes free freight bill auditing and invoice consolidation services, generous payment terms, maximum liability coverage, and access to the PartnerShip.com online freight management tools.
Based on the freight analysis study, the PartnerShip proposal will help this customer save almost 30% on their overall freight expenses annually. This does not include the additional —soft benefit' time-savings of freight bill auditing and invoice consolidation.
Click the left button below to download a PDF version of this case study, or click the right button below to request a free, no-obligation freight analysis from PartnerShip.
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Small Package versus LTL Freight
09/06/2012 — Scott Frederick
A common dilemma for businesses is deciding the appropriate shipping mode to use for their important shipments. Shipping mode choices include LTL freight, small package, ground, air, ocean, rail, intermodal, and others. When deciding whether to use a small package or LTL freight carrier, for example, shippers must take into consideration the weight and characteristics of the shipment, including delivery urgency. The old —150-pound' rule is not an absolute guideline anymore, but obviously the weight of the shipment must be a major consideration in choosing a shipping mode.
The size, weight, and shape of the materials you are shipping can also impact your decision making. Are your boxes big and bulky, small and compact, unitized or loose? LTL often is a preferable choice when the shipment's boxes are oddly shaped, as in furniture. LTL is also the way to go when your shipment is palletized, as small package carriers only handle individual boxes. Being less automated than the small package shippers, the LTL carrier will often use forklifts instead of conveyor belts. Strange as it may seem, moving odd-shaped boxes and pallets with a forklift produces fewer damages than moving them on a conveyor belt with thousands of other packages. The shape of the carton may cause it to fall off the belt or at least be tumbled around a good deal. Also, when you ship multiple loose boxes, the chances of losing one or two them are greater than had you shipped them together on a pallet.
Another area to consider is the receiving facilities for the shipment. Is there a dock? Does the shipment need to be delivered to the tenth floor of a building with no freight elevator? Is inside delivery even necessary? LTL freight carriers will generally be better delivering dock-to-dock and business-to-business, while small package carriers are better able to handle inside and residential deliveries.
Service must also be taken into account. If your shipment must travel 2,000 miles and be delivered the next-day, you're going to have to consider an air express service (unless it's Friday, in which case some ground carriers can use the weekend to get your shipment across the country). Generally, if you don't need your shipment delivered within one or two days, LTL freight is going to be less expensive than small package carriers who have more urgent delivery capabilities built into their systems — particularly as your shipment weight increases. LTL freight may also be a good option for shipments moving less than 500 miles, because you can often get next-day delivery on those distances.
Pricing and Fees
Of course, the primary consideration is quite often price. Most of you are painfully aware of the charges small package carriers assess for services such as rural delivery, address correction and Saturday delivery. LTL carriers have similar charges as well, especially for inside delivery or delivery to a recipient who has no loading dock. Carriers in both industries continue to charge fuel surcharges, which also have a material effect on your shipping price. On a percentage basis, LTL carriers generally charge higher fuel surcharges (about double that of small package carriers) but, in the end, it's the total price you need to look at, since LTL is often less expense on the —line haul' portion of the invoice.
Loss and Damage Concerns
The risk of loss or damage to your precious shipment is always a concern, regardless of what type of carrier you use. Small package carriers have a higher loss and damage ratio than LTL carriers, but neither is altogether immune to the issue. LTL carriers provide the advantage of providing significantly more liability coverage than small package carriers (which are often capped at $100 per package). So a small package carrier will have only $300 worth of liability on that 3 package, 300 pound shipment; whereas, an LTL carrier would provide liability coverage of $750. That's more than double the protection of the small package carrier.
Making the Decision
Sometimes the best course of action is to seek help from transportation professionals (like those at PartnerShip) to help you make the right decision. There is no set formula for the best service-price ratio, but as a general rule of thumb, shipments over 200 pounds that don't require urgent delivery are best handled by LTL carriers. Shipments less than 200 pounds, those that can't be placed on a pallet, or those that require urgent delivery over longer distances, are often best handled by small package carriers.
Interested in learning more?
Let PartnerShip help you to determine when and where you should be using small package and LTL freight carriers. Contact us today.
No matter the package size or shipment mode, it's important to be using the proper techniques for your packaging. Learn how to prevent costly and time-consuming mistakes by downloading our ultimate guide to proper packaging.
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The PartnerShip Get Lean Winners!
09/04/2012 — Matt Nagel
The PartnerShip —Get Lean' promotion has ended. In addition to helping retailers get their shipping cost under control, we also randomly awarded four stores with a PartnerShip lean logistics gift basket (pictured to the right) in recognition of their participation in the promotion. The four lucky winners are shown below.*
- Linda from Northampton Community College
- Jean from Kent State Bookstore at Stark
- Dede from Southwestern Oregon Community College Bookstore
- Arnold from St. Mary's University Bookstore
Congratulations to our lean logistics winners and to the rest of the participating stores that received valuable tools to get their businesses lean!
Just because the promotion is over doesn't mean you missed out on substantial savings for your store. Visit ship.PartnerShip.com/learnmore if you are interested in trimming shipping costs and getting your bottom line healthy. Our shipping experts will help you get your store running —lean' in no time!
*Winners will also be contacted directly to verify a shipping address for the PartnerShip lean logistics gift basket.
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