Industrial Manufacturing

Electrical parts supplier plugs into UPS for powerful same-day shipping

Urgent deliveries: When a factory needs a part to stay online, Southland Electrical Supply's Rick Apple gets it there, pronto, with UPS Express Critical.

UPS Express Critical gets crucial parts to factories so businesses get back on track.

When a factory line goes down, the loss of business can cost millions of dollars. So when one of Southland Electrical Supply's industrial customers has needed a part in a hurry, shipping supervisor Rick Apple has gone so far as to hire a private pilot to deliver it.

Southland Electrical Supply, a 30-year-old Burlington, N.C., company, is one of the country's largest distributors of industrial electrical parts, serving factories, commercial buildings and electricians throughout the country and the world. UPS is Southland's exclusive shipping partner, and Apple uses UPS WorldShip® to process 50 to 60 packages a day, mostly by UPS Ground.

A few times a month, he encounters an urgent-delivery situation. In years past, he tried using couriers to deliver the parts, often just 10-pound packages, but found them unreliable. Almost every time, he says, he'd get a call from the customer saying the package hadn't arrived.

Losses in thousands per hourIn one incident a few years ago, a courier flat-out said it wouldn't be able to complete the task, so Apple hired an aircraft and private pilot and was shocked at the cost. "When he charged us $2,800 to deliver, it made me realize how important it is for a company to get our products," he says. "When a factory is losing tens of thousands of dollars each hour because their business is down, the responsibility is in my hands to get the part to the customer in the most efficient way possible, so they can get back up and running."

Although customers were willing to pay whatever it cost, Apple was determined to find a better solution. He opened up WorldShip and started browsing shipping options. He came across the UPS Express Critical page, which has access to virtually any kind of service – surface, air, international, charter, hand-carry, white glove and enhanced security – to provide urgent transportation for time-sensitive shipments. It also leverages logistics and communications networks, so customers have access to shipment tracking along the way by their choice of notification – be it for a letter, a package or a freight shipment.

Apple started using it right away, and customers have been thrilled. "They send us letters and e-mails all the time thanking us for our prompt service," he says.

On a recent day, Apple got an urgent request from a factory in Tennessee for a relay output module, a part that's no bigger than the size of a golf ball. UPS picked up the 1-pound package at 11:30 a.m. and had it at the company's door at 6:45 p.m. The thankful customer will most likely be back. After all, it cost only $303.62.

Could Express Critical benefit your business? Learn more.


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