Intro to Dimensional Packing


Dimensional Packing allows you to achieve more accurate Shipping Rates, especially when getting rates from Live Rate Carriers like UPS and FedEx or when using USPS Flat Rate boxes. In this doc we’ll cover what Dimensional Packing is, how it works in ShipperHQ, and how to enable these settings. While it’s nearly impossible to achieve 100% accuracy 100% of the time, with thoughtful configuration ShipperHQ makes it possible to achieve extremely high levels of accuracy.

How Dimensional Rating Works

Carriers like UPS, FedEx, DHL, and others rate packages by a combination of factors. Aside from distance, the most significant is weight. However, they do not use actual package weight for all shipments but rather the greater of Actual Weight, also called Dead Weight, and Dimensional Weight, also called Volumetric Weight.

Dimensional Weight is determined by taking the volume of a package and dividing it by a dimensional divisor (the standard divisor is 139). The result is then compared with the Actual Weight and the higher of the two is used when determining the shipping rate. For example, an 11 in x 8 in x 9 in package with an Actual Weight of 4 lbs would actually be rated on its Dimensional Weight of 6 lbs ((11 x 8 x 9)/139 = 5.7 rounded up = 6).

Many Ecommerce Platforms lack support for accurate Dimensional Rating because they do not support dimensions natively meaning all shipments are rated on Actual Weight only. Or, they lack sophisticated Dimensional Shipping capabilities meaning they take dimensions into account but the dimensions used don’t reflect the actual packages to be shipped.

The ShipperHQ Dimensional Packing Feature supports both a base capability to determine expected packages to be used based on available packages and item dimensions. However, we go beyond the basics with the ability to set specific options for how products are packed based on their individual attributes, combinations of items in the cart, differences between Carriers, etc.

How Dimensional Packing works in ShipperHQ

  1. Products are added to the cart
  2. ShipperHQ’s core dimensional algorithm looks at the product dimensions set on the eCommerce platform
  3. ShipperHQ then looks at the packages or boxes you set up in ShipperHQ
  4. It determines the best boxes(s) to use for the products in the cart
  5. ShipperHQ takes the packing information worked out for the order and sends it to the carrier to ensure accurate rating.
    • If using custom rating, ShipperHQ sets the rate based on the packing information.

We’ve described a number of scenarios in our help docs to help paint the picture of what Dimensional Packing can help you accomplish. Browse these knowledge base articles here.

On Magento or Zoey you’ll want to ensure you synchronize any new boxes/dimensional rule groups you create.

As many live rate carriers refer to the largest dimension as the length ShipperHQ will rotate the dimensions so that the length is the largest dimension. This does not affect rating, however, as the volumetric weight is based on the volume of the box.

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