April 3, 2002, 12:00 AM

Cutting out the middle miles has cut Lillian Vernon`s shipping costs

Web and catalog retailer Lillian Vernon saved millions in the last year by leveraging consolidator R.R. Donnelley’s volume discounts and getting outbound parcels to Postal Service distribution centers closer to the last mile.

 

By moving 50% of the packages it doesn’t route internally through the USPS to consolidator Donnelley Logistics, web and catalog retailer Lillian Vernon Corp. has saved millions of dollars on shipping costs since last year, according to Alison Lantz, director of transportation for Lillian Vernon. Using a package consolidator gave Lillian Vernon access to discounted rates its volume wasn’t large enough to gain on its own. But a number of other factors in the program Donnelly launched with Lillian Vernon in 2001 also saved costs, according to Lantz.

Donnelley’s program for Lillian Vernon routes web and catalog orders through Donnelley’s Roanoke, VA, facility, which distributes to three levels of the USPS. From a single facility, Donnelley directs Lillian Vernon’s outgoing packages to the appropriate service within USPS to maximize savings and service. Currently, Donnelley is routing about 60% of all its customers` packages directly to the Destination Delivery Unit of the USPS, says a Donnelley spokeswoman. The DDU is the unit within USPS that’s closest to the last mile and customer delivery.

Bypassing wherever possible more preliminary entry points to the USPS that add cost to delivery has significantly reduced outbound shipping costs for Lillian Vernon, Lantz says. “Because Donnelley Logistics runs a nationwide network of consolidation facilities, it’s meant more consistent service and a smoother process for entering our parcels into the USPS,” she adds.

 

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