UPS owned shipping carton weight scales - Include this in my Calibration system?

J
#1
UPS scales

Hello to the Gang,

This may come under the heading of dumb quetions, but here it goes. We have a scale in our shipping area that does not belong to us.

The scale belongs to UPS and is used to weigh boxes and generate labels for UPS shipping. I saw no cal sticker on it and our shipping dep't says that UPS has not been in to check on it.

Do I need to include this item in my Calibration system? If so How? We are currently seeking QS registration.

James

(P.S. Marc I was going to ask you about this this afternoon, but thought it was a good topic for the board):bigwave:
 
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D

D.Scott

#2
My first thought is that you don't need to include it if it isn't part of the process or doesn't have an effect on quality.

That said, how about if you are shipping product via UPS. The scale could have an effect on "excess freight" if it weighed too heavy (I assume you don't use the scale for weigh counting).

I would hope UPS has some sort of verification and a system to maintain the scales, but just to use good business judgement (and find out if UPS is honest) why not weigh something on one of your calibrated scales and use it as a transfer to the UPS scale. Throw a verification sticker on it and if UPS screams, tell them to put their own label on it. Better to upset UPS than the QS guy :biglaugh:

Just my opinion on this one - don't take it as gospel.

Dave
 

Atul Khandekar

Quite Involved in Discussions
#3
JRKH,
Not knowing what UPS is, my dumb answer is : Yes

===
EDIT:
DScott posted while I was trying to post a reply. Now I know what UPS is. But my answer is still :Yes.
 
Last edited:

Jerry Eldred

Forum Moderator
Super Moderator
#4
For the benefit of Atul, UPS is a shipping company (kind of like Fed-X, DHL or Emery, or others).

For QS reasons, there is probably no need to calibrate it. If it is the property of UPS, perhaps even less reason.

That said, in a number of the calibration programs I've run, I was in the practice of calibrating such items for convenience, and as D. Scott mentioned "Excess Freight". Our lab in my company calibrates all scales. Not for QS or other registration reasons, but for general good measurement reasons.

If your management philosophy is not to calibrate anything that doesn't HAVE to be cal'd, you could probably get away without calibrating it.

If you have a really anal auditor, I could possibly see some auditor dreaming up some vague reason you need to calibrate it. If it were me, I would calibrate (as long as I already had the standards). But I wouldn't go out and buy Class 1 weights for something like that.

Not a dumb question. Calibration is a disgustingly complex world that reaches into so many disciplines it's mind numbing.
 
R

Ryan Wilde

#5
Do you have to calibrate it? No, and I'd pistol whip any auditor that told me I did.

Do you want to calibrate it? Maybe, because if the item that you are shipping actually weighs 10 lbs, and you put on the UPS database that it weighs 12 lbs, then you are billed for 12 lbs shipping. If you say it weighs 10 lbs, and it is actually 11 lbs, then UPS will charge you for the extra lb. UPS weighs each and every box that they handle, and do not rely on your scale, unless you measure too high, then they use your higher figure.

We used an uncalibrated bathroom scale and did just fine. The cost per pound for UPS is small, and it seemed to even out in the end.

Ryan
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#7
Ryan Wilde said:

Do you have to calibrate it? No, and I'd pistol whip any auditor that told me I did.

Do you want to calibrate it? Maybe, because if the item that you are shipping actually weighs 10 lbs, and you put on the UPS database that it weighs 12 lbs, then you are billed for 12 lbs shipping. If you say it weighs 10 lbs, and it is actually 11 lbs, then UPS will charge you for the extra lb. UPS weighs each and every box that they handle, and do not rely on your scale, unless you measure too high, then they use your higher figure.

We used an uncalibrated bathroom scale and did just fine. The cost per pound for UPS is small, and it seemed to even out in the end.

Ryan
I agree 100%. I have seen QS auditors go ballistic, but the bottom line is they approached it saying "Well, what if it's way off and you're paying more for shipping than you should be?" as you pointed out above. From there went a discussion, but I never saw a UPS shipping scale calibration required. Come to think of it I don't remember ever seeing one calibrated anywhere.

I **think** UPS does a secondary weigh in anyway. I'm real sure FedEx does. I've guessed weight on things from time to time at home and sent FedEx and they've adjusted the weight and charge from my 'guesstimate' several times.

I won't start a Poll (once a thread is started there's no way to 'go back' and add a poll), but how many folks here calibrate their UPS scales? Speak up and be heard. If you do, tell us why and give us some details - whose responsibility, etc.
 

Jerry Eldred

Forum Moderator
Super Moderator
#8
The REALLY HONEST AND FRANK answer, and the main reason we've calibrated them some places I've been over the years is out of the "need to cal," "because it's there," and similar reasons. There are things you calibrate "because you can." Especially in one man labs where you don't have enough calibrations to do. So you go out looking for more.

If you don't have the extra time, the "need to cal," don't have the resources in place and idle, I agree, don't waste company money.

The only true possible legitimate NEED to calibrate such scales (and I'm not accusing UPS of anything here -- only an example), is if for some reason you suspect the shipper has "his" scales set to charge you too much. If you do a lot of shipping, and that constitutes a significant part of your business (Amazon.com for example - they ship constantly). Maybe a place like that could make a difference in their profit margin by making sure their postal scales are as accurate as needed.

Nuff said.
 

Bubba

Involved In Discussions
#9
Ours is Calibrated

The UPS scale in our shipping department has been calibrated for years. We perform the calibration in-house and maintain the documentation and scheduling. As far as I know, UPS has NEVER come in to check the scale for any reason. The reason we maintain calibration is a matter of convenience. It was already in our system as long as I can remember, and the calibration is pretty simple and straightforward. Nobody has ever had the desire to take it out of the system and try to justify it. Not only that, but it gives our shipping manager a warm fuzzy feeling to see that calibration sticker on the scale.
 

Jerry Eldred

Forum Moderator
Super Moderator
#10
I wouldn't begin to disagree with calibrating UPS scales (or with not calibrating them).

But since this is an ISO17025 forum, I try to temper my replies from that context. It is one of those things that per ISO17025, is not required.

This is, as Bubba said, a matter of convenience, and for warm and fuzzy; which is a subjective decision.
 
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