Introductions and Intentions
Though this article may sound like a sales letter, the intention is to clear the air a bit about what is happening within the material handling industry as well as the micro-industry within that is weighing and dimensioning. In sum, this is a perspective driven article from within, not from the outside. Finally, as the article states, the idea is to provide some true means to cutting costs of shipping.
UPS and Fedex Changes. How Can I Combat Cost Increases?
Now that some of the biggest names such as UPS and FedEx have changed the playing field with the announcement of dimensional weight factor (DIM) applying to all ground packages starting in 2015 (see our blog entry here), there is a lot of noise within the marketplace about the root implications, but arguably more so about the different types of solutions available to address the need to capture weights and dimensions – and whether it is best to implement a strategy (1) to capture this data at the item level (for both slotting and picking optimization), (2) capture the dimensions of items shipping and sending dims to final pack (to produce a package on demand such as PackSize), or (3) capture final package size after final packing.
- Capturing weights and dims upfront - Many companies employ this practice already by utilizing a CubiScan to capture L x W x H and weights of individual items, inner cartons, and master case. Users that need a ‘one time thru the warehouse’ solution can rent machines to update the master WMS file for both irregular as well as cuboidal products. This data is then used for multiple purposes – slotting to determine best place for putaway, then more important to this article: utilizing a number of software solutions that dictates to order pickers which box to use based on items in the order (line items and quantities).
- Capturing dimensions for packing on demand – Companies such as PackSize are on the very bleeding edge of utilizing dimensional data captured in real time to determine a minimal package size that will work for the items picked. Often times order packers prepare a bundle of items with bubble pack or whatever packing materials are needed, put the item onto a tray or similar, the item transports to thru a cubing device to the PackSize machine where a box is created for that exact mix of items in the order.
- Capturing dimensions at the end - Many low volume companies may be forced to use tape measures if they do not employ the use of a device such as the CubiScan 150 for outbound shipping. Higher volume shipping systems should strongly consider the use of an in-motion system that can either integrate into existing inline scanning and weighing, or replace manual scanning and weighing with an end of line shipping system – which performs these tasks with very little labor input. More info about this general process may be found here.
Noisy Industry Signals
To add to the confusion there area a handful of new players who have stepped into the industry; each with its version of a solution. This is capitalism in the first world, and is fully expected when new opportunity arises. That said, I have even seen companies using existing trademarked names and brands inappropriately to attract customers – a classic bait and switch maneuver. Perhaps there is a thin line between what is legal and what is right, yet opportunity often overrides good corporate citizenship.
uyer seller beware because the power is truly in the consumer’s hands as the world of information has greatly changed the landscape even in B2B selling.
Who is QMI Anyway? How About Some Background?
QMI Services works closely with its sister company CubiScan. Our focus is motion based applications particularly in scanning, weighing, cubing, print/apply, and inline shipping systems. CubiScan literally invented the process of ‘cubing’ and the first product designed to capture weight and dimensions of products more than 25 years ago. The CubiScan line is used throughout the world and continues to provide some of the most innovative technologies to capture weights and dimensions of anything ranging from a small diamond to oversize pallet loads.