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Unpacking: Hybrid Delivery Solutions

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Our recurring “Unpacking” series digs into the deeper meaning of commonly used terms and trends in the supply chain world that prompt a lot of questions. You can read all of the previous entries here.  

We like to think of ourselves as the final mile of your supply chain, handling the final packing and value-added services that provide the final touch before a product heads off to your customer. Of course, the final final mile is the carrier who physically takes the package to their door, and there are more ways to achieve this than you might think.

That's why today we're unpacking hybrid delivery solutions and what you need to know before selecting one for your business. 

Hybrid Package Delivery

Hybrid systems include options such as UPS Surepost, USPS Mail Innovations, and FedEx SmartPost (now Ground Economy). To make these deliveries, there are two carriers involved in handling the freight.

The service consists of FedEx or UPS making the pickup at your chosen location, then delivering the package to the U.S. Postal Service facility closest to the destination.  The local USPS then makes the residential delivery.

unpacking a car
Who has the final hand in your package delivery?

While these services offer a more affordable way to deliver packages that qualify for hybrid delivery, it's very important to set the right service expectations from the get-go, as they differ from pure delivery solutions using only one provider.

Some of the distinguishing factors include the following:

  1. There are no guaranteed delivery times.
  2. Service tracking extends only to a delivery confirmation on the FedEx/UPS site.
  3. Claims cannot be made for packages that are either damaged or where a customer claims they didn’t receive it when the package states delivered, unless the issue occurred before the package is handed off to USPS.
  4. Shipping to Hawaii and Alaska is not recommended via a hybrid delivery service because of the elongated lead times involved.

For comparison to your standard delivery service, the average delivery times for hybrid delivery are 3-7 business days for locations in the continental US, and 11-14 days for Hawaii and Alaska, hence the recommendation to avoid the service outside the continental US.

One advantage of hybrid delivery systems, in addition to the lower cost, is that packages can be delivered to PO Boxes and military addresses because USPS is the final carrier. Standard FedEx Home Delivery and UPS Ground Residential do not offer delivery to these locations.

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