RS Blog


by RS Associates

It didn't take long for UPS to decide they would follow FedEx's lead regarding the application of dimensional weight rules on ground shipments.  See the announcement message below.  All UPS ASO account holders will receive a notification letter alerting them to the change.

What we don't yet know is if either carrier will use the new policy to create a market advantage by providing any special waivers to the larger shippers and/or if the retail networks will receive any special consideration.  Stay tuned..........

UPS Announces Dimensional Weight Changes

New Pricing Addresses Industry Trend, Promotes Packaging Efficiency, and Environmental Responsibility

On June 17, 2014, UPS announced that dimensional weight will be used to calculate the billable weight of all UPS® Ground services and UPS® Standard to Canada packages in the U.S. beginning December 29, 2014*. Customers will be charged the larger of either the dimensional weight or the actual weight. UPS already applies this method for all UPS air services (domestic and international), all UPS Standard™ to Mexico ground packages and for UPS Ground packages and UPS Standard to Canada packages measuring 3 cubic feet in size or larger. 

Dimensional weight pricing enables us to more appropriately align rates with costs, which are influenced by both the size and weight of packages. Dimensional weight also encourages reductions in excess packaging materials and overall package sizes, leading to related reductions in fuel use, vehicle emissions and transportation costs.  

We want to make you aware of this change well before its implementation, so you can determine how you and your customers may be affected. If you are affected, you have time to prepare for by considering potential alternatives to current packaging approaches. Here are some options that can assist you:

·         Check our websites:

o   ups.com/dimweight, for further details on calculating dimensional weight

o   ups.com/packaging, to view our Packaging Advisor for general packaging guidelines, tips and instructions

·         Call our dedicated ASO Support Line toll-free at 1-877-543-4207.  

We look forward to continuing our partnership. Thank you for trusting UPS with your business. 

*The impact of these changes may vary according to the terms of your UPS agreement.


There’s a lot of buzz going on in the industry over FedEx’s recent announcement to change the rules regarding dimensional weight and when it’s applied.  We’ve posted several articles in the “Industry News” section of our website, but for those who are not aware, here is the issue:

As of the date of this writing, UPS and FedEx follow the same rule regarding dimensional weight on ground-service shipments.  That is, if a package measures 3 cubic feet or less, it is not subject to dimensional weight—the carriers charge for the actual weight, plus any applicable fees (residential, DVP, remote area, etc.)   Note: all UPS and FedEx air service shipments are subject to dimensional weight.

FedEx announced that as of January 1, 2015, all FedEx Domestic Ground Service shipments will be charged for either the actual weight or the calculated dimensional weight, whichever is greater.  This proposed rule change represents a significant potential increase in price for [millions] of packages.

So the ensuing online discussion boards have been lighting up with questions and speculation about what could-would-should-might happen across all carriers as a result.

Following are some of the possible scenarios being discussed:

  1. UPS could announce a similar rule change and create pricing parity with FedEx
  2. UPS could take advantage of the announcement and pursue existing FedEx customers to switch due to the perceived price advantage
  3. FedEx could enact the rule as scheduled for smaller volume shippers, but waive the rule for big shippers like Amazon
  4. UPS could adopt the same rule, but also provide waivers to higher volume shippers
  5. USPS does not have this dimensional weight rule.  If they maintain their position while FedEx and UPS adopt the same rule, USPS is likely to see a significant shift in package volume away from FedEx and UPS
  6. If UPS does not adopt the same rule as FedEx and FedEx sees the non-action as a competitive disadvantage, FedEx could walk-back the proposed rule change (many industry experts suggest FedEx made the announcement relatively early in order to see how the competition will respond before making the rule permanent)
  7. As a shipping “monster”, Amazon could elect to deliver their own shipments in major metro areas where they have distribution, effectively making the new rule moot. Other super-high volume shipper may also look at alternatives

Obviously, no one knows exactly what will happen here, but we are all intensely interested in precisely how this will impact the Retail Shipping industry.

RSA is in regular contact with both UPS and FedEx.  We’ve posed all of the “what if” and “how will this impact retail shippers” questions.  No concrete answers yet, but keep your eyes and ears open.  Watch for the news posting on our website, and READ YOUR EMAIL as this is RSA’s best tool for making time sensitive industry announcements and alerts.

Welcome to the very first RSA Blog post!

JANUARY 31ST, 2014

I’m looking forward to reporting on what I [think] is happening in our industry and hope it will be valuable to our Members. We would appreciate your feedback (good, bad, and ugly). If it helps our Members, then I am obviously happy to do it. We will also invite guest bloggers from around the country to post in order to keep the blog lively and interesting.

So check it from time to time and let us know what you think. It may be fun and informative.

Since we just launched our new website, it only makes sense for me to point you in that direction and ask you to give the site a complete “test drive”.

The old site served us well, but to be candid, it’s needed a complete re-do for a couple of years now. As we point out to our RS Store Website customers, keeping your website updated and relevant is a must if you want it to continue producing for you.

Rut Scarborough (our IT director) and Peter Wixson (communications director) have spent countless hours getting the new site map, design, and functionality exactly the way [we think] you want it. I can tell you from behind the scenes that this project has evolved into a love/hate thing; we love the way it looks and what it can do for our Members, but it took much longer than we had hoped to get it right and the testing, editing and re-testing process has driven our staff nuts (well, almost nuts). But since most of the site works according to plan, the effort was worth it (maybe we can teach the Obamacare website people how it should be done…..).

Sections of the new site will be familiar to you, but with a new look and ease-of-use. In particular, I’d like you to look at the RS Community and discussion boards as we think this represents something that was missing from the old site. It’s a great way to stay in regular contact with your peers, ask questions, answer questions, or just blow off steam. With all the bells and whistles Rut and Peter built in, we think it puts any Yahoo! discussion group to shame (we have nothing against Yahoo! groups and they were a great platform back in the 90’s and 00’s, but our community forums will allow you to accomplish so much more). It may work a bit differently, but give it a try. And by the way, the entire community is open to all RSA Members and we do not moderate or censor, so all views can be read and judged by others as to their value and relevance.

The new RS Premium Supplier Program will have significant meaning as participating vendors guarantee RS Premium Members exclusive pricing, products, service or support. So start saving $$$ and adding to your bottom line immediately by looking at these suppliers today. We expect the RS Premium Supplier list to grow as more industry providers discover this access point to RSA Members.

Our Supplier Directory is the most complete and comprehensive in our industry. If you need it for your store, we probably have a supplier for it. Equipment, fixtures, signage, inventory, point-of-sale hardware and software, retail products, insurance, document equipment, office supplies……the list goes on. You no longer need to go “shopping” for vendors.

RSA Programs like RS Freight, RS Package Insurance, RS Store Websites and RS Academy add real, tangible value to your membership. We will continue to add to this area as new products, services or support needs arise.

There is much more within the site that will help our Members improve their model, but I’ll let you discover some of it on your own.

For now, I’ll close by saying; thanks to all of you for your continued support and patronage and for giving RSA the opportunity to help you reach your goals.

Let us know (privately or publicly) what you think about this Blog idea—is it a keeper?