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Outgoing Shipments? Look Up!

At Rice Lake Weighing Systems, we use our iDimension parcel and pallet dimensioners throughout our mailroom and shipping department to ensure compliance, track shipping costs and record shipment condition to simplify any damage claims processing.

Dimensional weight became incredibly popular in the logistics industry in the 2010s and is now the standard for shipping departments and companies around the world. As dim weight has become the primary factor used to determine shipping charges, capturing accurate measurements on every type of parcel and pallet is critical.Automatic dimensioning technology evolved relatively quickly, and dimensioners began to include additional features that can further benefit shipping departments. Today, integrating dimensional data with existing shipping software and capturing parcel or pallet images are efficiency-boosting features many shippers rely on.

Postmaster Dimensioner

An overhead parcel dimensioner was first installed in Rice Lake’s mailroom in 2018 when USPS announced they would be prioritizing dimensional weight (dim weight) in coming years. While USPS hasn’t made dim weight the primary measurement to determine cost yet, the iDimension Plus still gets plenty of use for international shipments.

Jackee Johnson, Rice Lake’s Mailroom Coordinator, explained, “The size is perfect. We mail a lot of product catalogs and similar parcels, and the iDimension Plus easily measures all of them. It’s so much faster and more accurate than measuring everything by hand.” Jackee added that occasionally she mails calibration weights through USPS when customers request it, but most parcels are under 30 pounds and easily handled by the BenchPro™ BP-P postal scale paired with the dimensioner.

Pairing the iDimension Plus with a BenchPro scale simplified the quoting process with carriers because Jackee can quickly capture dimensions and weight in ounces and pounds. The flexibility of iDimension systems means there will be opportunities for growth and improved LEAN processes in the Rice Lake mailroom.

Shipping and Receiving Dimensioners

Throughout Rice Lake’s shipping and receiving department, overhead iDimension systems help ensure products are quickly processed and shipped to awaiting customers. The logistics team saves time while ensuring Legal for Trade accuracy using a combination of parcel and pallet dimensioners paired with ShipIt® shipment processing software.

Dan Casey, Rice Lake’s Shipping and Receiving Manager, says the iDimension systems they’re using have helped streamline many processes, allowing them to pack upwards of 500 orders every day. Dan visited some of our customers to help him imagine new ways to utilize dimensioners at Rice Lake’s headquarters. The arrangement LightBulbs.com had in 2018, which you can learn about in Bright Idea in Shipping, inspired Dan to create a plan for our facility with future growth potential.

Each small-pack station was equipped with a parcel dimensioner paired with a bench scale so packers only need to press one key on a keyboard or scan a bar code to enter measurements into ShipIt software. Prior to using iDimension systems, packers were weighing and measuring the dimensions of each parcel by hand before manually entering it into the shipping software.

Even members of the small-pack team who have memorized box dimensions are seeing the benefits of dimensioners. Dan explained, “They know a number 49 box is 12 by 9 by 9 inches, but the packing material sometimes causes a bulge that changes the measurements just enough to make a difference.” The small-pack team no longer needs to manually account for those changes; the dimensioners capture the change to provide more accurate measurements.

Increased accuracy wasn’t a benefit just for the small-pack team; the LTL (less than truck load) team also utilizes dimensioners for more accurate freight shipment measurements. The current LTL pallet dimensioner uses iDimensionSS software integration so the LTL team can manage all of the scanned data from freight including dimensions, images, weights and bar codes. This data can then be exported to Ship-IT™ so our internal teams and carriers have quicker access to more shipment information. Dan says having a photo of finished LTL shipments has been wonderful. The shipping team can prove the condition and number of cartons on a pallet as it was prepared on the shipping dock, simplifying claims processing.

Saving More Than Time

Dan says being able to quickly compare multiple carriers to find the best option has also been a benefit to not only the shipping team, but to our customers as well. Shipping charges can vary greatly among carriers but comparing the options helps Dan’s team know they are making the best selection based on cost and delivery time.

Having seen such success with their current setups, Dan is excited about future developments with dimensioning. He wants to capture dimensions for all incoming pieces so that when the team receives an order, the recommended box size will be listed on the order, allowing packers to place items directly in the box they will be shipped in, without needing to switch to a larger box or use excess packing material. Eventually, Dan would like this to lead to automatic sorting for different carriers, powered by the processing iDimension systems can do.

Overhead dimensioning systems have become an integral part of Rice Lake’s postal, parcel and freight shipping and receiving processes. iDimension has simplified operations, streamlined order assembly and highlighted future opportunities for efficiency boosts in all of our outgoing shipments.

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