Everything You Need to Know About DIM Weight 2017: Part Three

Posted on Mar 23, 2017 By kbormann Share:

What DIM weight is costing you and how to save on shipping costs in response.

You can’t put a small object in a big box anymore. Carriers are charging the greater amount between actual weight and the dimensional (DIM) weight, which is determined by the outside box dimensions and the actual weight of the box. If your box doesn’t fit its contents, you’re throwing money away.

While companies typically stock five to 12 box sizes to fulfill most orders, the box selected for each shipment is frequently left to the packing station operator. Often the item is significantly smaller than the box and consequently requires void fill (air pillows, bubble wrap, etc.), which adds more cost.

Examples of oversized boxes at DIM weight resulting in an increase in shipping costs

The DIM weight model has increased these costs for most shippers, triggering the re-evaluation of business processes and the re-engineering of packaging strategies. For example, packaging procedures may be more labor intensive as shippers measure and Angry tweet about wasteful packagingrecord the outside dimensions for each shipment. The ascent of e-commerce has dramatically increased the number of single-line and complex multi-line orders. For a time, packaging was not a major concern since a steady supply of boxes, void fill and labor could get items out the door quickly.

Companies are now monitoring packaging more closely because of the DIM weight dilemma. This new attention to packaging is particularly evident in the e-commerce sector where it is imperative for shipping customers to match external packaging to the contents of the shipment. Remember, not every item requires protective packing material. Since the average e-commerce shipper uses just 65% of box capacity, a lot of space goes to waste and a lot of cost is incurred in corrugated material, air pillows, bubble wrap and other void fill materials, labor, and in wasted fuel for trucks that operate under their weight capacity.


  1. Review the sizes and weights of the products shipped and right-size the parcel box, especially those that are large and lightweight. Determine if DIM weight will trump the actual weight to determine cost savings impact.
  2. Look at fuel surcharges which are calculated off the base rate. If the base rate is higher due to DIM weight ratings, the fuel surcharge will be higher too.
  3. Determine how much DIM weight rating might affect shipping costs, and investigate if lower USPS Priority Mail rates would be a less expensive option.
  4. Closely examine the boxes used to ship your products. Many items may be able to be shipped in bags rather than rigid containers. However, bags are still subject to the new DIM weight process.
  5. Use multiple carriers – shipping rates vary by carrier. USPS is often the lowest cost for smaller packages going to a residence. UPS and FedEx are great for larger packages delivered to a business. Each carrier provides low shipping cost options for its own niche package weight groups, so make sure to use the right carrier to optimize shipping.
  6. Seek an automated “fit-to-size” packaging solution to reduce shipping, labor and material costs.

DIM weight is now firmly rooted in the shipping equation. While DIM requirements may be confusing at times – and difficult to compare services and pricing between carriers – there are opportunities to save money so it’s important to know what options are available. The desired outcome? Ensure each parcel is delivered in the most cost effective box via the most competitive carrier – and the fastest method possible.

** FREE DOWNLOAD: New 2017 DIM Weight White Paper **

[ READ: Everything You Need to Know About DIM Weight: Part One – What is DIM Weight and how to calculate it in 2017
[ READ: Everything You Need to Know About DIM Weight: Part Two- The environmental impact of DIM Weight in 2017 ]

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