6 min read

How To Reduce Weight Discrepancies While Shipping Your Orders?

🕒 August 4, 2022 by Reham Omar - 6 min read

Shipping weight discrepancy refers to a case where a dispute arises between the courier or shipping company and the order shipper, like an e-commerce seller, over the deviation of weight stated by the seller from the one calculated by the shipping solutions provider.

What Is The Shipping Weight Discrepancy?

Order shippers like e-commerce sellers and online marketplaces typically engage courier service providers to pick up the orders from their warehouse to ship to the customer’s address. Most good courier companies like Shiprocket use volumetric weight for calculating shipping costs, based on the higher of the two weights – dead weight or volumetric weight of the package. It means orders with larger dimensions will attract more shipping charges.

Let us examine how weight discrepancy happens. When you ship your orders through a courier service provider, you normally share the information of dimension and weight of your order packages with the shipping company. However, the shipping company, as a standard process, weighs and measures the dimensions of the parcel again for billing your shipment. The measurements mentioned in the freight invoice by the shipping service provider are in most cases higher than what the seller reported, leading to weight discrepancy and eventually dispute. The dispute can result in a delay in the delivery of an order and also consume a good amount of efforts for both parties to resolve these weight discrepancy disputes.

Why Do Sellers Face Weight Discrepancies? 

While the sellers usually mention the true or dead weight of the order to the shipping company during the shipment process, most courier companies typically charge the shipper the shipping cost calculated based on the volumetric weight of the order. The main reason for the discrepancy can be that sellers don’t have the scale, technology, tools, or expertise to conduct volumetric weight calculation and also that the additional packing done by courier company over and above what is done by you, can add to the original weight.

How Do Carriers Measure The Weight Of A Shipment?

Most carriers use dimensional (DIM) weight or Volumetric weight to calculate shipping weight and cost. It is calculated by multiplying the length, width, and height of the order package, and then dividing the cubic size of the package by the DIM divisor. If the package is non-square, the shipping company would take the longest dimension on each side.

The dimensional weight is calculated by following the below steps:

  1. Measure the length, width, and height of a package, using the longest point on each side, considering irregularities, such as bulges or misshapen sides, which can cause special handling fees.
  2. Then, multiply those package dimensions to get the cubic size of the package. 
  3. Finally, divide the cubic size of the package by a dimensional factor or DIM divisor, 
  4. which varies from one freight carrier to another, but is mostly around 5000. 

Once the volumetric or dimensional weight has been calculated, the courier company compares the actual weight reported by the seller to the volumetric weight. The higher of the two weights is considered the shipping weight and the shipping cost is calculated on that weight.

How Can eCommerce Brands Reduce Weight Discrepancy & Disputes?

The following steps can help e-commerce brands minimize, if not eliminate, weight discrepancy and disputes with the shipping carrier and as well customers:

Accurate measurement of volumetric weight

‍The foremost step to reducing weight discrepancy is to measure the volumetric weight accurately after packaging the order. Accurate measurement of order packages is critical for avoiding negative reviews from customers and as well narrowing down the discrepancy. Accuracy during a shipment can be as important as accuracy at your warehouse.

Keep product image for proof

When a dispute arises on weight discrepancy between your e-commerce company and the courier service provider, the product image of the product and package will serve as evidence to support your claim on the product dimensions.

SKU mapping

Mapping packing boxes with your SKUs (stock keeping units) is another method to reduce weight discrepancy. For instance, whenever there’s an order of a product and its box is mapped with SKU, your team can use predefined packing to pack it. Since your volumetric weight is the same for every SKU, shipping becomes easy and less expensive.

Automate measuring products of irregular shapes

It is difficult to measure products of irregular shapes manually, which can end up in weight discrepancy and dispute. You need a special measuring system that incorporates automation in the weighing process to calculate the weight of such products accurately and reduce the weight discrepancy.

Use Scientific Scales

Digital scales or high-quality balances can measure weights down to tenths of a gram. This is required for measuring high-value products, where a small difference in weight matters a lot in shipping cost calculation and as well to the customer who ordered the product.

Technology to monitor weights

Smart scales and connected tools record and update product weights in real-time and even offer email or text alerts when a discrepancy is detected. The right software can help you avoid situations of product weight discrepancies proactively.

Moisture Content

You should check both product weight and moisture content before packing and shipping the orders, as moisture can vary in different environments and cause weight discrepancy.

Right Packaging

Using the right packing, which is strong and lightweight, can help reduce shipping weight and cost. The reasons for weight discrepancy are many, but poor packing is a sure reason that can be caused by any of the following factors.

  1. Strong and lightweight materials: High-quality and lightweight packaging materials help you reduce the product weight.   
  2. Right-sized boxes: Right package – not small or big – that are proportional to its contents, ensures less weight and reduces weight discrepancy. Likewise, a small box having no room for products to move inside it is likely to weigh more than necessary.

‍Outsource Order Fulfillment

A 3 PL provider or courier company like Shiprocket can help you reduce weight discrepancy and consequent disputes significantly. They can provide access to up-to-date technology – hardware and software tools – to help reduce, if not eliminate, weight discrepancy and weighing errors. Furthermore, they can enable solving disputes quickly and ensure faster order delivery at low shipping costs.

Bottom line

Shipping costs form a good percentage of the delivered cost of online orders and controlling them effectively is a need to ensure the required margin. In addition, a dispute over weight discrepancy adds to the costs because of the time and resources used for dispute resolution. However, proper analysis of each element that influences cost structure and adoption of relevant technology and suitable strategy can help enhance the shipping experience and concentrate on the growth of your e-commerce business.

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