Sunshine and warm air. Our calendars still reflect summer, but in the world of packaging it’s always best to stay ahead of the curve. With that being said, we know what’s lurking around the corner. Old man winter and the busy holiday season. The holidays, for many businesses, are associated with a substantial increase in product out the door, and therefore an increase in packaging and shipping costs. One important factor to consider this year is the cost of shipping packages from point A to point B. Most of you have heard by now of major shipping companies expanding their use of “Dimensional Weight Pricing”, better known as Dim Weight, and have more than likely seen the impact on your shipping cost.

If you are wondering how to offset these additional costs you are among many and with the holidays fast approaching, now is the time to make sure you have the most cost effective packaging for your company’s needs. The U.S. Postal Service is expecting a high package volume this holiday season – around 13% percent more than the previous year year. This includes packages delivered on Christmas Day and two years ago, the USPS delivered a little over 75,000 packages on December 25th. You can’t change the distance your shipments travel, but you can control other aspects. By now you’re probably wondering where do I begin?

Let’s back up and start with the basics.

## Dimensional Weight – The Facts

Dimensional weight is the package density, or the amount of space a package occupies in relation to its actual weight. In other words, how much space does the box take up in a truck or a plane?

To calculate dim weight:

1. Determine the true package dimensions from outside, not inside, of the box. Round to the nearest whole number using standard rounding rules. (5 or higher, round up. Otherwise, round down.)
2. Multiply length by width by height. *Note – Special instructions exist for irregularly shaped packages.
3. Divide by a dimensional factor that is dependent on carrier and shipping method. For a majority of the shipments, 166 in³/lb. is the dimensional factor.

The dim weight is then compared to the actual weight. The higher weight will be used to calculate the shipping cost.

Using this new shipping standard, small dense packages are favored to large light packages.

Prior to these changes, UPS and FedEx only applied dim weight standards to select shipping methods, such as overnight or when a box was oversized.

Evaluate your current shipping procedures to see how you are affected by the dim weight changes. Pay attention to the typical size and weight of boxes you usually send out.

• What is the common size?
• Do the boxes have a lot of extra space?
• How can you reduce the size of the packages?

You can contact a packaging solutions company to get an audit of your current packaging practices. It will be beneficial to your end result and bottom line if the company your auditor works for can provide customized packaging solutions specific to your business’s needs.

This audit will uncover options that will help to keep your shipping costs low, provide customized packaging alternatives when needed, and present opportunities to make your packaging stand out from your competitors.

### Change for Good

Now is the perfect opportunity to customize your packaging and help out the environment by reducing the amount of materials used for shipping your products.

How can you do this?

Simple! If you partner with a company that can offer fully customized packaging capabilities, this part will be easy.

Customized packaging can:

• decrease waste
• reduce amount of materials (i.e. corrugated) used