Why dimensional scanner mistakes add extra dollars to each shipment

Packages are audited as they go through the UPS network to determine their audited dimensions and dimensional weight

You may have heard the terms “dimensional scanner,” “dimensioner” or “pallet dimensioner” thrown around in the logistics space. A dimensioner is a device that scans and measures weight and volume of packages and freight. This type of device is necessary because UPS, FedEx and DHL rates are no longer based on weight, but on dimensional weight of a package.

The common problem with dimensional scanners

Packages are audited as they go through the UPS network to determine their audited dimensions (actual length, width, and height). This number is then rounded to the nearest whole number to determine the package’s billable audited dimensions. From there the billable audited dimensions are used to calculate the dimensional weight which is calculated by taking the cubic size of a package and dividing by the carrier’s dim divisor. Dimensioners aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution.  This simply doesn’t work for all parcels and packages. Not all systems can measure everything accurately. Although dimensional scanning technology usually has a 97% accuracy rate, that 3% can still cause frustrating errors — and potential refund opportunities. Here’s a complaint from one Amazon seller who ships with UPS.

UPS dimensional audit errors
Out of 1000 packages shipped in the last two months, UPS audited 100 of those packages and made serious miscalculations in the original dimensions. Some reasons why dimensions are recorded inaccurately include packages traveling on the conveyor are scanned as one package, mishandling of a package causes a change in the shape of the package, or a bulge in the middle of the package was factored in.

How inaccurate dimensional scans are costing shippers money

With dimensional scanners more prevalent, carriers are paying more attention to the accuracy of measurements provided by shippers. Now, more than ever, shippers are experiencing an increase in billing adjustments and freight re-classifications.

Let’s look at an example of how dimensional scanner mistakes are costing shippers more money.

Audited dimensions on a 16 x 13 x 9 box that’s observed as 16.1 x 13 x 9 are automatically rounded up to 17 x 13 x 9.  Using a 139 dim divisor, the formula below shows the difference between the two different dimensional weight calculations.

  • Formula 1: 16 x 13 x 9 = 1,872 / 139 = 13.5 => 14 lbs
  • Formula 2: 17 x 13 x 9 = 1,989 / 139 = 14.3 => 15 lbs

That extra pound on Formula 2 maps to a different rate in the UPS pricing agreement. This will result in a suprising loss of dollars. Using UPS 2018 daily rates (found on page 71) and UPS Ground service type, the price difference is $1.29.

UPS Ground/ Zone 8

  • 14 lbs will cost $21.29
  • 15 lbs will cost $22.58

After adding an extra $0.14 on fuel (using an average of 5% fuel surcharge) the $1.29 difference on transportation charges becomes $1.43. A $1.43 charge was added due to the 0.1 correction from 16 to 16.1 that UPS rounded up to the nearest whole number, 17. If you are like the shipper in our first example who is seeing an average of 50 adjusted packages a month, that would add up to approximately $858 annually.

Talk to Share A Refund to get your refunds

At Share A Refund, your bottom line is our top priority. If you’d like to get this $1.43 back, and any other lost dollars,  Share A Refund can help. Ditch the signup fees and watch Share A Refund do all the work to get the refunds delivered back to your shipping accounts. Schedule a call with our parcel team for a free evaluation.

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