Earlier this year USPS dimensional weight charges were announced, changing how carrier mailing and shipping rates are calculate by USPS. This adjustment will affect everything from their First-Class Mail service to Priority Mail. This will be the biggest USPS rate increase in nearly thirty years, making it all the more important to have correct dimensional weight calculations for accurate shipping costs of parcels. The adjustment is scheduled to take effect on June 23, 2019.
With more than 9.84 billion parcels distributed worldwide between 2015 and 2017 alone, these changes represent a much-needed lift for USPS, which has been losing billions of dollars per year..
Take a look at the new USPS dimensional weight rates here.
Having incorrect weight or dimensional data leads to unexpectedly higher shipping charges, creating delays in the supply chain. Inaccurate package dimensions can lead also to increased customer chargebacks and unpleasant surprises
As the new Dim Weight standards are implemented, it’s important to understand the new rates. Here’s what shippers need to know.
What is dimensional weight?
Dimensional weight (DIM) is a pricing technique used by mailing and shipping companies to insure that they are paid fairly for the space occupied by the shipments. After all, transport companies really only sell (or rent) space on their vehicles. Dim Weight is used to determine the billable weight of packages by comparing their cubic volume, or space, with their actual weight. Dimensional weight pricing is usually applied to light commodities that take up space, such as toys. The result of using Dim Weight is that shippers of very light products will be required to pay for the space their packages take up in transit regardless of the physical weight.
When applied, if the package’s dimensional weight is more than its physical weight, shippers will be required to pay for the higher of the two. The 2019 USPS dimensional weight changes will apply to all US domestic Priority Mail, Express, and non-Lightweight Parcel Select packages over one cubic foot.
How is dimensional weight calculated?
Since the DIM weight only applies if a package is larger than one cubic foot, you must first determine if your package is more than a cubic foot. For this use this formula below:
(Length x Width x Height) / 1728 (all figures should be in inches)
Multiplying L x W x H calculates the total volume in cubic inches. The cubic inch total is then divided by 1728 because there are 1728 cubic inches in one cubic foot. If your result is greater than one, you’ll be charged using dimensional weight. To determine the Dim Weight just divide the package volume, in cubic inches, by USPS’ volumetric divisor, which is 194.
(Length x Width x Height) / 194 (all figures should be in inches)
If the result is higher than the physical weight of the package, you’ll be charged for the dimensional weight. If it is less then you’ll be charged the physical weight.
Shippers, insure you provide accurate dimensions when you ship, the first time, every time.
USPS will be very actively verifying both weight and dimensions of any package over one cubic foot in volume. If either weight or dimensions is inaccurate then they will adjust shipment charges accordingly and based on the actual weight and dims. Shippers who continuously leave information off or misstate weight and/or dimensions may then be subject to penalty fees from USPS. Avoid unexpected upcharges and potential penalty fees by getting it RIGHT at the start.
Calculate USPS dimensional weight instantly
For shippers of light commodities that take up space, the USPS dimensional weight may result in increased charges. Such increases have been estimated to be as much as 20% or more. You should know up front if your shipments might be subject to such increases. How? Verify the weight and dimensions of YOUR shipments.
Weighing and measuring all your shipments may take time, but considering the consequences of not doing it, these are precautions may well be worth the effort. That is especially true if you use tools that can shorten the process.
It can take a lot of time to measure with an ordinary tape measure or ruler and can leave you open to human error. There is a tool that is easy to use, time efficient, and which eliminates most human error. That tool is Cubetape. The user need not record dimensions by writing them down, or worse, trying to remember them. The unique barcode labelled tape and barcode scanner are accurate to 1/10th of an inch, and the device stores the dims until they are uploaded.
You can make use of Cubetape to quickly and easily determine the size of packages and determine your exposure to DIM weight charges. Once identified, such packages then may possibly be re-engineered to reduce their volume (size) and so reduce, or maybe eliminate the exposure to these higher shipping costs. Smaller packages mean less DIM weight and results in savings across your business.
Right sizing your packaging is critical to avoid DIM weight charges whenever possible and help you reduce shipping costs.
BOTTOM LINE: You must have the accurate dimensions for valid calculations
This change in the way that USPS will calculate rates for large or bulky packages makes it crucial for merchants to have access to the correct dimensional weight of their packages.
Only with this verified information will you have a chance to insure your packages are just the right size for the product. It will give you control over the USPS application of Dim Weight pricing. It may be unavoidable, but at least you will know about it up front, and eliminate or reduce if with smaller packages when possible.
Remember that even if you miscalculate the dimensional weight costs, the automated systems used by the USPS will catch it and your postage account will still get debited.
Cubetape is a convenient handheld device that will assist you to obtain 100 percent accurate shipping costs for all freight types. Get yours now.
Don Newell was a member on the Commodity Classification Standards Board at the National Motor Freight Traffic Association until his recent retirement. This February Don celebrated his 43rd year in the LTL industry.