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Preventing URSA Expirations for FedEx Ship Manager with Shipium

URSA tables expiring for FedEx Ship Manager is a regularly occurring problem across legacy shipping technology, leaving FedEx customers frustrated at the inability to use the quality carrier services they depend on. The fault is on the legacy vendor and their support team’s ability to keep technology up to date, and not FedEx or its customers.

Because of legacy product models, those customers have zero access to the system and are reliant upon the vendor’s support team to make updates. Due to recent layoffs across the legacy tech providers, those resources are constrained and the majority of the customers are unable to get accurate rates and labels via the trusty FedEx Ship Manager embedded in each legacy vendor instance.

As you can imagine, customers of FedEx are not happy when this all too common situation happens.

The Perils of Legacy Product Models

URSA stands for "Universal Rating and Sorting Aid" and is a critical dependency for legacy era shipping technology to leverage FedEx Ship Manager. An URSA table is a tool used to calculate shipping rates for FedEx shipments based on a variety of factors, such as dimweights, destination, package level details, and shipping type.

FedEx Ship Manager is a piece of software provided by FedEx to work with FedEx's technology and systems. Almost all legacy shipping technology providers embed FedEx Ship Manager internally inside of their solution as the way to interact with FedEx shipments.

Challenges arise when an URSA table expires, meaning rates or other details like surcharges haven't been updated before the date they were authorized for use. It effectively prevents use of the tools within FedEx Ship Manager, like rating, manifesting, label generation, and tracking. Historically, a technical support representative goes into each instance of the shipping solution and updates the URSA table. When approaching dozens and then hundreds of instances, you can imagine how this becomes a major burden for everyone involved.

The shocking thing is the absence of proactive monitoring. For many of these legacy technology providers, they typically do not have tools in place to know when an URSA table will expire. It's up to the customer to track on their own and notify the vendor, and hope the vendor can provision an engineer to update before expiration.

How Shipium Prevents this Risk

One of key innovations of the Shipium platform is the unilateral virtualization of carrier contracts, including FedEx. Think of this platform component as a "CRM for Carriers" comprising everything from rates to ZIP-Zone mappings to surcharges to contract-specific details.

This is powered by the unique way that we integrate and manage our relationships with carriers. When we commence an integration, we not only do the API mapping, testing, and validation, but we also virtually model out the contract structure of that carrier and specific service method. (Meaning: Sometimes the contract structure of one service offering is different than another, even within the same carrier. We take it down to that level of specificity.) When we are done, the carrier and service method are available to all current and future customers as a pre-integrated option.

When a customer wants to use a carrier, like FedEx, they simply upload their contract for that service method, and everything else is automated for complete setup.

As a result, Shipium is centralized in our management of FedEx technology, eliminating the dependency on individual URSA tables and the requirement to update customer-by-customer. 

An interesting side benefit of this approach is we have access to FedEx's latest and greatest technology, including enterprise grade APIs that FedEx views as the future of their technical strategy, which means every one of Shipium’s customers will always have the best FedEx technology available to them. 

When customers choose Shipium, not only do they eliminate these older dependencies and risks that can shut down operations, but they also can count on the most performant and modern experience with every carrier, including FedEx. When paired with our ability to hit extremely fast sub-second rate shopping, label generation, and manifesting speeds, it’s clear why we have become the industry’s leading way for enterprises to ship with FedEx. 

Meanwhile, individual respective customer contracts can still expire! When a Shipium customer, like a large retailer, sets up a new carrier, we document when a contract will expire, and provide that information back to customers to help remind them of pending contract expirations. This helps customers get out in front of any possible errors on their side with how they manage carriers.

Modernize with Shipium

If you are a legacy shipping tech customer who experienced that outage and are frustrated, reach out to us below to start a conversation on how to switch to Shipium. You won’t be alone: In 2024, five of yours peers have already signed up to migrate to Shipium before next peak season. You can join this group too.