The world is ever-changing, and many times, people are unaware of the change until they are smacked on the side of their head with it. For instance, look at the newspaper industry; many newspapers didn’t worry about the Internet or the abundance of information that was becoming readily available on personal computers. They continued to do what they have always done, and the result was catastrophic to many. 

Another example impacting the distribution networks of many was when the major retailers declared DSDC (Direct Store Distribution Center). Most all suppliers had to change their design dramatically, from a facility that was designed to ship full case/full pallet to piece picking. The smaller the unit of measure the more cost in labor to pick. Distribution cost started rising, the facilities were having trouble finding people, total chaos set in. Many rushed to find solutions in order picking, some choosing pick to light, voice, carousels and other picking methodologies. The need for WMS software became more evident and that small change was a boom to the material handling industry.

Along those lines, what does DIM education have to do with you and why will you have to tweak your network? Will the new DIM rate requirements be the next big thing that sends shock waves through the distribution center world? Certainly it should be studied and considered now instead of waiting until the first quarter of 2015 when you receive a shocking transportation shipping dollar number on your balance sheet. By then, it’s a little late. Plus if what you need to do takes six months to select and implement, that’s many more dollars impacted. 

This may be another great reason to go to PARCEL Forum this year. This year at PARCEL Forum the buzz will definitely be about the new DIM weight cost structure change and how it will impact operations and what operations need to do to lower the impact as much as possible. I thought it ironic that this year’s theme (because it’s in Dallas) is “Take Your Package Supply Chain by the Horns.” That’s certainly what you will need to do in order to keep your transportation budget under control. All the carriers will be there along with the packaging, material handling, 3PLs, consultants and many other companies that are quickly and diligently developing solutions. 

For those of you that have had your heads in the sand and have been focused on day to day operations, this show is one time that you need to get out and learn the impact of the upcoming change. How many times have you received a package in an oversized box? Those days are probably gone with the industry practice now developing the shipping price based on package volume. The price will be developed by the amount of space a package occupies in relation to its actual weight. If you have three box shipments, will it be better for you to ship one by each carrier? What will that do to your distribution design? How do you do that systematically? If you are shipping parcels, this show is something you must attend every year. The advisory council (end users like you) works tirelessly to develop a program with pertinent and trending concerns. It’s one of the best kept secrets in the industry. To find out more about attending the conference go to  

Another popular topic is same day delivery. Is this the new normal or is this a trendy thought that won’t ever take off? Much like Y2k! Hear what others in your industry are doing to accomplish this and their thoughts on the topic. With Google getting into the space and trying to go head to head with Amazon (who has had over a year advantage on Google) it should definitely get interesting.

With the industry changing at a much faster pace than we have ever seen, it is important to stay abreast of the new changes and how they will affect your operation. Find an association or a conference that gives you the best information for your type of operation. If there are specific topics that you want to hear about or topics that would make your appearance a definite yes, tell the organizers. Every conference I’ve ever attended passed out evaluation forms and unfortunately a lot of people don’t use this as an avenue to get what they want at the next year’s conference. Organizers of these conferences are your personal concierge for information, and the PARCEL Forum is no different! They are starving for your feedback and only want to make it better for the attendees.