If customers are promised fixed prices, then margins cannot be optimized by varying your pricing but only by optimizing the terms and conditions of your purchases. In this case that means looking at the logistics chain and making the fullest possible use of the discount rates offered by the United States Postal Service (USPS) to third party providers who take on a share of the market for postal delivery services. USPS continues to enjoy a monopoly on the "last mile".
Deutsche Post, DHL (North America) has captured a not inconsiderable share of the market for postal delivery services to wholesale customers in the United States. What were the challenges that it had to overcome - and that it has to tackle again and again?
DHL's aim is to transport the mail items (currently around one million each day) as close as possible to their destination – ideally to the local post office – and in doing so to perform a masterpiece of logistics, namely to achieve the maximum possible discount from USPS in each case. Making optimum use of the discounts for its daily mail volumes is a driver of competitiveness for DHL. The challenge lies in the complexity of implementing the discount regulations and in the fact that USPS regularly changes these regulations.
DHL has modeled and automated part of this price catalog using the Visual Rules business rules management system (BRMS), which is part of a comprehensive logistics platform that was completely revamped in 2010 and has been operational since November 2010. Since then, DHL has benefited from the advantages of this modern platform, in particular its rule-based approach to “manifesting” – i.e. taking the steps that are necessary for qualifying mail items in line with the USPS pricing model and for subsequently producing transportation manifests and inspection reports.