If you’re in the parcel shipping industry, you’ve at least heard of dimensional (or DIM) weight billing. Maybe you’re even struggling to save money shipping because all parcel shipping packages are billed according to dimensional weight. Maybe your parcel auditing is turning up less savings, because what you’re getting billed is different than you expected. Don’t blame your parcel auditing, though, it’s still a powerful logistics management tool. The trick is to understand dimensional weight billing and what you can do to counteract the effects of it being the standard practice in parcel shipping.

What is Dimensional Weight Billing?

In a simple definition, DIM weight is billing based on the volume of the package. The purpose of dimensional weight pricing is to help parcel and freight carriers bill those who ship through them more accurately. DIM weight billing factors in the size of the package being shipped, as well as the weight. Parcel carriers will look at both the weight and DIMs for each package and bill the parcel shipper for whichever is a greater cost. It may be more accurate for the carriers, but for you it’s likely just a pain in your parcel auditing. Even if DIM weight billing is influencing the savings your parcel auditing recovers, though, you’ll still want to do it, but we’ll get to that later.

DIM Weight Pricing

It was applied to nearly all parcel shipping in 2015, but DIM weight billing has been around for a long time. Carriers have been using it to bill more accurately and to save money shipping, but it used to only apply to ground parcel shipping on packages of three cubic feet or bigger. As you probably found out the hard way, it now applies to all ground parcel shipping. It’s a particularly useful tool for carriers when determining less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping rates. It may be a burden on your parcel shipping practices right now, but there are steps you can take to minimize the impact and save money shipping.

Calculating Dimensional Weight

DIM weight, like any parcel shipping, is subject to shipping rate changes, and dimensional weight saw such an increase to start off 2017. The new DIM rules have led to higher shipping rates for everyone. Major carriers have adjusted the DIM factor, which is the divisor in the equation to calculate dimensional weight prices, so now it’s more expensive. So, to the important question, how can you save money shipping with dimensional weight billing on your parcel shipping?

First, you need to use effective shipping technology so that you have immediate access to the dimensions and weights of the goods that you ship. Knowing this information and having it on hand will allow you to do a few things that can help you optimize your supply chain and save money on parcel shipping.

Package Optimization and Smaller Boxes

This can be a win for parcel shipping companies in a couple ways. Primarily because using the smallest possible box will reduce dimensional weight prices, but also because a tight fit reduces chances of damage to what you’re shipping. You don’t want a lot of excess space in the box. Having information on hand about what sized box is ideal for what you ship will allow you to save money shipping and avoid high DIM weight rates, but it may also cut down on the cost of packaging materials.

Package Optimization and Packing Materials

Don’t unnecessarily load boxes up with extra packing peanuts or large, poppable bubble wrap just because it’s fun. When protecting the product you’re shipping, use only what’s necessary to keep it from being damaged. Minimizing packaging materials will mean fewer, smaller boxes sent from your parcel shipping company, and that means savings.

Accurate Manifest Dimensions

Finally, make sure you have accurate dimensions for all your parcel shipping on your manifest. Your supply chain depends on speed and efficiency, and inaccuracies in dimensions will hinder both of those. You can lose a lot of money if you have inaccurate dimensions. Accurate data ensures correct savings, but there’s also another benefit. Let’s get back to parcel auditing.

Parcel Auditing

If you make sure your parcel shipping has accurate dimensions and weight measurements before you ship it, you can better catch any disparities in your parcel auditing. If you disagree with the parcel carrier on the DIM or actual weight of your package, you’ll need proof of your measurements to have a chance at disputing the charges in your parcel auditing process. Even though dimensional weight billing means higher shipping costs, parcel auditing can still find savings, and it can protect you from charges on inaccurate dimensional charges. That is, if you make sure you’re aware of the accurate DIMs.

Even with increases in DIM weight billing, having accurate weight and dimensions on all your parcel shipping before giving it to your carrier, you can still save money shipping. On top of enabling the above three best practices for package optimization, it will lead to more accurate parcel auditing on DIM weight billing, as well as the other savings your parcel auditing can find for service issues. Dimensional weight doesn’t have to be a thorn in the side of your parcel shipping and parcel auditing: optimize your packaging and optimize your supply chain.

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