The Grinch Has Arrived and Fedex Saved the Day

On Saturday 12/22, I got my first inquiry asking whether one of our shipments was going to make it by Christmas. It was a FedEx Ground Home Delivery shipment so it meant that if it was not delivered by Saturday, it wouldn’t be delivered until after Christmas. That is because the Home Delivery service delivers on Saturday but not on Monday.

The tracking information showed no scans since Tuesday 12/18. Clearly this package had been affected by the snow storm in the Midwest.  After calling FedEx I knew that this package was not going to be there on time. So I e-mailed and called the customer to deliver the bad news.

As I was contemplating the possibility of making a run to the office to ship a replacement (I would have had to get my daughter ready, drive to the office, prepare the shipment, and drop it off in about 30 minutes–an impossible feat), I realized that at least 10 packages were in the exact same situation. My heart sank, and it sank really deep. I was responsible for 10 ruined Christmases. I was the Grinch!

So I called again and I asked if Fedex was considering making FedEx Ground Home Deliveries on Monday, as an exception, to help those packages arrive before Christmas. They said: “Yes!” and I started holding onto a glimmer of hope until, Sunday night, I saw that all packages got scanned near their destinations but the expected delivery dates where Wednesday and Thursday after all. I was the Grinch!

Monday morning I got my Christmas gift: all the packages had been delivered except for a couple that had an arrangement to be held at the FedEx office! FedEx kept its promise! I couldn’t believe it! Just like that, I was no longer the Grinch. Thank you so much FedEx! You have made my day and earned my gratitude.


Switching to the new Fedex web services

A few weeks ago, just as the number of shipments was starting to rise for the holidays, Fedex moved our account to use their new web services interface even though we had not implemented it yet.

We were reminded of the pain of filling out forms online to print labels, until the next day it was all back to normal.

It was interesting that instead of Fedex apologizing for the faux pas, I had to promise to complete the transition by March 2011, even though their official deadline is May 2012. So now it is time for me to get to work.

Of course, there is no official documentation for using their web services using ColdFusion. So I am going to do a little more digging. I hope that I will not have to resort to using PHP.

This is a very important part of our business, and definitely worth implementing. We have integrated with Fedex in our shopping cart to give you exact shipping quotes and delivery dates and times for your orders; in the “my account” section you can track packages; and in the order maintenance section of our intranet we print labels.

The new web services will integrate with more functionality. We hope to be able to give our international customers quotes that include duties. This would make it possible for us to ship with Fedex and take advantage of the detailed tracking information that they provide.