“One-trick po·ny” (noun, informal)- a person or thing with only one special feature, talent, or area of expertise.
In our day and age, “one-trick-ponies” are a dime a dozen. You can find them almost anywhere you look—music, sports, acting, business—the list is endless. The world of dimensioning and cubing is not immune to “one-trick ponies.” Because of the high demand for fast and accurate dimensional data, “one-trick ponies” are flooding the market trying to convince you that their single solution will work for any and all of your dimensioning needs. Don’t fall victim to these “too good to be true” claims by settling for a dimensioner that won’t really accomplish what you need it to.
Buyer Beware- “Too Good to be True” Advertising
Ever seen the movie, “Elf?” In one of the scenes, Buddy the Elf walks by a coffee shop with the
words “World’s Best Cup of Coffee” emblazoned on its storefront window. Giddy with excitement, Buddy rushes in and yells “You did it! Congratulations! World’s best cup of coffee! Great job, everybody!” As outsiders, it’s easy for us to say that Buddy was a sucker for advertising. However, when it comes to advertising in the dimensioning and cubing world, we are more like Buddy the Elf than we realize.
In niche product industries such as dimensioning, finding credible product information can be difficult. Product reviews are scarce and consumer information is hard to get ahold of. Because of a general lack of consumer education surrounding the industry, some industry players might make claims that are not completely true hoping that you won’t do your research to prove them wrong. Your job is to hold them to their word. Just like you can't believe everything you see on the internet, you shouldn't automatically trust every product claim you hear. Test their claims, ask them tough questions, and make sure they aren’t stretching the truth with their advertising claims. The more you ask, the more informed you will be, and the better choice you will be able to make.
Lean Towards Experience
One great identifier of experience in the material handling industry is the product breadth of a company. Those who have spent substantial time in the industry understand that different warehousing and transportation applications require different technologies and innovations. A vast product line of application-specific systems proves knowledge and expertise. Companies that tout a “one-system-fits-all” dimensioning solution might not have the skill, resources, or experience to develop multiple products to meet your individual needs.
Experience and trust go hand in hand. Long-time industry players survive and thrive because they build effective products and serve the needs of their customers. This builds trust and good rapport between customers and the company. Trust is also built through continual improvement that comes with experience. Experienced dimensioning and cubing providers have had years to work through bugs and annoyances to provide what you REALLY WANT, not what companies tell you you’ll need. Experience and product depth should not be underestimated when it comes to choosing a dimensioning and cubing solution.
A couple things to remember when shopping around…
Shiny and new doesn’t mean trusted and true- Don’t be drawn to the newest dimensioning device on the market simply because of its novelty. Investigate it, do your research, and compare it to other products. Most importantly, assess whether or not the system will successfully perform the function you need it to.
Don’t let others shove their solutions down your throat- Despite what many salesmen may think, you understand your needs better than anyone else. Companies will do their best to mold their products into solutions for you. Work with the type of company that can provide a solution for your need, not one that works tirelessly to bend your need to its solution.
Right Tool for the Job
With summer fast approaching, it’s safe to say you’ll be breaking out the lawn mower soon. Chances are you bought that handy-dandy mower of yours based on the size of your lawn. Got a couple acres to cut? You’ll want a riding mower for that. How about a lawn the same size as your grandmother’s floral bedspread? A push mower will work just fine. Different mowers are built to fit different situations.
Come to think of it though, lawnmowers can be pricey. Maybe you should just get scissors to do the job. Afterall, scissors cut just as well as lawn mower blades and cost way less. So, what gives? Why aren’t more people mowing their lawns with scissors to save money? We all know the answer to that. Just because scissors CAN cut grass doesn’t mean they are the right tool for the job.
When shopping around for dimensioners, beware of those who will try to sell you “scissors” to do a “lawn mower’s” job. Just like with lawn mowers, dimensioning systems are designed with specific applications in mind. Some are made for receiving, some for shipping, others for warehousing, and still others for order and fulfillment. Oh, and don’t forget about pallet dimensioning. Your order and fulfillment needs are quite different from someone who needs dimensional data in a cross-docking application. As you can see, a “one-size-fits-all” dimensioning tool is not a reality. You need a tool that is designed to meet your unique need.
Choosing a dimensioning solution is a time-intensive task. To save yourself time and possible frustration, do everything you can to become an informed buyer. Challenge product claims, ask lots of questions, and don’t settle for a system that doesn’t quite fit your needs. You don’t want to get caught working with a “one-trick pony” that’s headed nowhere.