Delivery: How It REALLY Works Perspectives from an accidental courier manager Anya N. Arnold
Overview • Accidental, what? • Importance • Types of Services • Justifying Services • Assessment of Service • Interest Groups
Accidental: Courier-ista • In August of 2012 , I became the Courier Program Manager for the Orbis Cascade Alliance. • The Alliance is a consortia comprised of 37 members, in three states • We serve over 280 libraries via non member programs such as the courier
Accidental: Courier-ista • My previous experience with a courier was: • People came to a library to pick up items • That labels had to be a particular way • Other than that nothing !!!
Accidental: Courier-ista • So I did some research : • Learned about some turmoil • Learned how to do my new role!
Accidental: Courier-ista • My New Role • Business Agent • Negotiator • Enforcer • Advocate
Accidental: Courier-ista • My New Role • Bearer of bad news • Bearer of good news • Trainer • Banker
Accidental: Courier-ista • My New Role • Maintain Materials • Communication • Website editor
Accidental: Courier-ista • Goals • To secure a predictable and reliable service • To secure a predictable and stable price • To ensure safety and timeliness
Importance • In a time of decreasing library budgets, interlibrary loan helps ensure patrons have access to materials even if their local library can’t provide it. • The cost of sending items can often be prohibitive to all types of libraries.
Importance • Courier services can reduce the cost of shipping ILLs. • They can also help connect you to libraries you may not be currently using as borrowing partners.
Importance • Many libraries see reductions in their workflow due to the ease of packaging and sending items via a courier as opposed to traditional mailing via the United States Postal Service, UPS, FedEx, etc.
Importance • Libraries who join a courier service often see an increase in ILLs, as shipping becomes easier and less expensive for both the library and the patron.
Types of Services • Hosted and run by a library • Hosted and run by a consortium • Own the vehicles • Own the bags and bins • Hires drivers directly • Creates their own policies and procedures
Types of Services • Hosted by a library run by a vendor • Hosted by a consortium run by a vendor • Vendor might own the vehicles • Library or Consortium might own the bags and bins • Vendor might employ their own drivers • Vendor might contract out for drivers • Library or Consortium might create their own policies and procedures or are subject to the vendors
Justifying Services There are some simple things to consider if you are trying to determine whether your library is a good candidate for a courier service or if you are justifying your membership in a courier service.
Justifying Services • Amount of ILLs sent yearly • Average cost of shipping and packaging • Importance of delivery speed • The total cost of the service
Justifying Services Generic Public Library – Example • The courier service costs $5,000 for 5-day a week delivery. • Generic Public sends an average of 2500 ILLs annually. • Turn-around time is not huge factor since public library patrons can generally wait a week or more
Justifying Services • Generic Public Library – Example • Low Cost estimate of shipping via USPS • $3.98 per package • Includes the cost of the packing materials • Reminder that this library sends 2500 ILLs packages yearly • So for USPS the cost would be annually $9,950
Justifying Services • Generic Public Library – Example • Side by side comparison • USPS annual cost: $9,950 ($3.98 x 2500) • Courier annual cost: $5,000 ( 5 day flat rate) • Difference : $4,950
Justifying Services Academic Library – Example • The courier service costs $5,000 for 5-day a week delivery. • Academic Library sends an average of 6500 packages annually. • Turn-around time is a huge factor since these patrons cannot generally wait a week or more.
Justifying Services Academic Library – Example • Side by side comparison • USPS annual cost: $25,870 ($3.98 x 6500) • Courier annual cost: $5,000 ( 5 day flat rate) • Difference : $20,870
Justifying Services In the Alliance: In the last year the courier transported over 305,000 packages! USPS: $1,204,750.00
Justifying Services In the Alliance: In the last year the courier has shipped over 305,000 packages! Courier: $403,464.00
Justifying Services In the Alliance: In the last year the courier has shipped over 305,000 packages! Difference: $801,286.00
Assessment of Service • Questions to ask your Courier Manager • Are lost & damaged items covered? • What is the average transit time? • Is a different packaging or labeling system required?
Assessment of Service: • Weight • Volume • Stop • Gas • Construction • Weather • Etc…
Assessment of Service • A growing trend in courier services is connecting to outside courier networks. • For instance, the Trans-Amigos Express serves Texas, Arkansas, New Mexico and Oklahoma. • They connect to three outside courier services serving Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, and Illinois.
Assessment of Service • Those connections add up to 650+ additional libraries that can be reached through the courier for no additional charge. • This allows for a much larger reach and more cost savings for libraries.
Assessment of Service • Those connections can also take a much longer time to send and receive items, as they often involve items changing hands multiple times
Assessment of Service • The delay may mean that these connections are only valuable for returning items or for sending items that are not time sensitive.
Assessment of Service • Furthermore, many agreements between courier services do not provide for reimbursement in the case of lost or damaged items.
ALA Physical Delivery Interest Group The Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA) is a division of the American Library Association.
ALA Physical Delivery Interest Group • ASCLA hosts Interest Groups, including the Physical Delivery Interest Group. • In addition to meeting bi-annually at ALA Annual and Midwinter, the Physical Delivery Interest Group has a listserv to help you stay in touch with other librarians in your field.
ALA Physical Delivery Interest Group Learn more at: www.ala.org/ascla
QUESTIONS? Thank you!