Dimensional Weight

Dimensional Weight

Dimensional weight or DIM weight is defined as the volumetric amount of space a package occupies in relation to the package’s actual weight. It is calculated from the shipping package’s width, length, and height.

Video: Ensure 100% Order Accuracy with a Scan-Weigh-Dim Warehouse Automation Solution

Carriers are limited by the total weight a truck or other vehicle can carry and the physical space available to hold packages in transit. Traditionally, standard shipping prices were calculated based on the package’s weight. DIM weight calculations focus on the physical space a package takes up.

Dimensional weight helps carriers charge based on how much space a parcel takes up on their truck. It is used for a freight rating and pricing technique for freight carriers, including small parcel, regional, postal, and less-than-truckload carriers.

To calculate freight charges, the carrier system compares the actual weight of a package with the dimensional weight, and the shipping fee is based upon the dimensional weight or the actual weight, whichever is greater.

Today’s warehouse automation systems make it possible to automatically scan, weigh and calculate dimensional weight as part of the order fulfillment process. Carriers also have automated dimensional weight calculations as packages are inducted into their systems for shipment processing.

History of Dimensional Weight in Shipping

The transportation industry worldwide began to use dimensional weight as a uniform method of establishing a minimum charge for the cubic space a package occupies. One factor in its adoption was the rise of e-commerce shipping, which resulted in a considerable increase in small parcel shipments to residential addresses.

As early as 2015, both UPS and FedEx announced that all shipping charges for air and ground shipments would be determined by the greater of the actual and dimensional weight of a package. Prior to this announcement, dimensional weight charges were only applicable to packages of a specific size range. Most major carriers have adopted this practice.

Dimensional Weight Calculations

Dimensional weight is calculated by multiplying the shipping package length x width x height and then divided by a numerical factor (DIM factor) used by the carrier.

DIM factors are set by each carrier individually. Every carrier uses DIM weight for the same purpose – to account for package volume in shipping prices but may use a different DIM factor (or divisor) to calculate freight rates.

Optimizing Package Size for Lowest Cost Shipping

If a product is shipping in a larger-than-necessary shipping carton, it will incur higher-than-necessary shipping charges, as well as extra costs due to adding more packing material and void fill. The best practice is to eliminate the guesswork of manually choosing box sizes during packing and replacing it with cartonization software.

Numina’s RDS™ Cartonization Software automatically selects the most efficient carton size to reduce unused carton space, reduce void fill costs, and ensure the order is packed to take advantage of the lowest possible shipping rates.

When implemented as an integral component of an automated warehouse solution, cartonization software offers savings benefits by optimizing the actual packing of an order into the ideal carton size. The software automates the package selection process and eliminates manual decision-making by directing the workers to choose the recommended package type. It also optimizes the process by eliminating interruptions and ensuring 100% compliance with the lowest-cost shipping rules.

Numina’s RDS Cartonization software, when combined with the RDS Order Release software, yields further savings through efficiency gains on the operations floor.

When these solutions are integrated, the system recommends package type and analyzes the order release plan to create the most efficient picking process and path.

Cartonization software can be deployed at multiple points in picking, packing, and shipping operations:

  • Before order release, at the start of the picking process.
  • After picking and packing is complete to verify the actual shipping carton dimensions and weight.

Learn More

Product: Dimensioning Weighing & Scanning Systems
Blog: Save Money with Advanced Cartonization Software

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