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Ten Ways to Improve Dimensional Weight Calculations

Ten Ways to Improve Dimensional Weight Calculations and Reduce Unexpected Carrier Backcharges

improve dimensional weight calculations

Many shippers are struggling to eliminate inaccurate package dimensions on small parcel shipments, which can quickly turn into a mountain of unexpected freight charges if the carrier finds a discrepancy in measurements.

The best way to improve dimensional weight calculations is to add technology to your shipping operations for high-speed, highly accurate package measurements. In the past few years, a number of mobile, handheld and more cost-effective dimensioning systems have become available on the marketplace, making the investment more reasonable for shippers.

In addition to technology, what else can shippers do to minimize dimensional rating costs? Following are ten tips shared by our partner, Tom Guest of Rice Lake Weighing Systems, to consider.

dim weight10 Steps to Better Package Dimensioning

  1. Optimize the way you package items. Minimize package fill. Choose the best-sized cartons and pack items with only the material that is necessary to safely ship the product.
  2. Use quality packaging materials for strength and durability, and to reduce the amount of empty space when determining dim weight.
  3. Do your research. Talk with each of your carriers to determine their specific dim weight policies, as they will vary. Knowing the shipping requirements in advance can help to deter compliance fees in the future.
  4. Document your total monthly shipping charges. Audit your carrier bills on a regular basis to ensure that dim-weight shipping charges are accurate and that you’re measuring the correct dim weight. If you take the time to measure packages before shipping and record the data, you’ll have a better chance of settling a shipping charge dispute in your favor.improve dimensional weight calculations on irregular shaped packages
  5. Automate irregular package measuring. Poly bags, tubes and irregular shapes need cubic measurements to determine dim weight. Manually measuring irregular cubic dimensions can be complicated—a dimensioning system can greatly improve dimensional weight calcuations on these types of packages.
  6. Streamline your system. Replace manual processes with a dimensioning system to maximize your process flow and limit the amount of time spent measuring dim weight.
  7. Identify your operational “must haves” for dimensioning. Not all dimensioning systems are created equal. For example, if speed, accuracy and dependability are important to your shipping business, make sure that the dimensioning system you’re considering can deliver all three.
  8. Know your measuring limitations. If you ship a variety of items, from oversized packages to thin mailers, be sure to check into the maximum package height and widths that the dimensioning systems you’re considering can manage.
  9. Certain dimensioning systems can integrate scales to provide package dimensions and weight at the same time and integrate this data with your existing shipping software system.
  10. Consider maintenance and support when you purchase a dimensioning system. Does the vendor you’re working with have a solid support network? Is the support team located in a location and time zone that supports  your operations?

For more suggestions on improving dimensional weight calculations, read our blog: Four Hidden Dimensioning “Gotcha’s” to Avoid.

For case studies that compare before and after results of adding dimensioning technology, read Wholesale Marine Reduces Shipping Costs with New Dimensioning System.

Portable or Static Dimensioning Solution?

The good news is that shippers have numerous dimensioning system options to choose from today, and price points are coming down as multiple manufacturers enter the market. We’ve found that for some shippers, a dimensioning system in a fixed position works very well to streamline their operations, while other shippers have found that a mobile, handheld dimensioning system delivers the most benefit.

improve dimensional weight calculations on large, irregular shaped packages

One of our customers, a household goods company, for example, has found that a mobile digital dimensioner offers the most efficient way to measure its large furniture products. Other companies’ have gained the greatest benefit by installing a fixed dimensioning system right in line with their conveyor system.

Many of our customers are also adding dimensioning workstations in the receiving area to quickly capture accurate product dimensions, SKU and other details as they are received, and then upload the data to their host operational systems. This process is invaluable for optimizing warehouse space, planning for more efficient order packing, and ensuring accurate shipping rates are calculated at the time of shipment.

Solid ROI: Save Time, Control Shipping Costs

Not only can the right dimensioning system help you get control over surprise back charges from carriers, but it can also help control and reduce labor costs.

Companies are uncovering considerable savings by slashing the time it takes to capture measurements, in addition to the savings gained by eliminating backcharges resulting when carriers dispute the shipper’s measurements, and inaccurate dim weights.

If you’d like to discuss new trends in dimensioning practices and technologies, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us today.


We’d like to thank our partner and dimensioning expert, Tom Guest of Rice Lake Weighing Systems, for his contributions to this post.

Logistyx Technologies is a provider of carrier-agnostic e-commerce fulfillment software and shipping software solutions that enable shippers to manage all their small parcel, LTL postal, regional, national and international carriers on one platform. We also help companies automate their reverse logistics process for greater efficiency and lower cost. 

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