Dimensional (Dim) Weight is not a new phenomenon, but it is becoming more and more of a factor for shippers and impacting freight spend. This post will take a look at what Dim Weight is, how the carriers use it, and some techniques to minimize negative impacts.
Dim Weight – gives carriers the ability to account for package density (the amount of space a package occupies in relation to its actual weight) instead of just weight. It is calculated by multiplying the length, width, and height of the parcel and then dividing by a carrier and shipper specific divisor.
Billable Weight – the weight a shipper is charged on, the greater of actual weight or Dim Weight.
Carriers are attempting to recoup the costs of moving a greater and greater number of parcels through their distribution networks. Shippers now have the potential to pay for both the weight and space their freight takes up. All parcels are measured by carriers, meaning that whether you account for the Dim Weight up front or not, the carrier will. If a shipper manifests a package based solely on the weight and a carrier determines that a Dim Weight should apply that shipper will see a rate correction on a subsequent invoice for that parcel.
Techniques in working with Dim Weight
• Ship in the minimum size box – Because Dim Weight promotes package density you will reduce total freight spend by reducing total freight volume. Empty space in cartons can potentially be costly.
• Provide accurate dimensions at time of shipment – If accurate dimensions are used at time of shipment the opportunity for rate corrections are reduced. Using the dimensions upfront ensure you know the true freight costs and can either pass this on to your customer or at a minimum reduce the total dollar amount of rate corrections on your next invoice. Accurate dimensions are important too because if the carrier deems your dimensions are off they will charge you both for the new Dim Weight and a fee for making the change. Data entry errors and bulging boxes seem trivial, but they can often lead to significant differences in what you think you are paying for a parcel and what the carrier invoices you for.
• Negotiate your devisor – the divisor used to calculate the dim weight is negotiable with carriers.