The phenomenal growth of internet retail and omnichannel is profoundly changing purchasing behaviour. This new reality epitomises consumers’ need for instant gratification and is triggering fundamental operational changes for retail and distribution companies.
Sales order volumes and product catalogues are growing, order sizes are shrinking, and there’s increased pressure to deliver them faster AND cheaper. Phew!
Staying competitive requires supply chain professionals to implement innovative solutions to effectively manage complex challenges while simultaneously reducing operational expenses - easy right?
If you run a high-volume packing and shipping operation, you know that every reduction in cost per order, however small, can make a significant impact on profitability. Keeping up with and implementing new robust technologies is crucial to keeping your head above water.
One such technology - and arguably the most all-encompassing optimization tool your warehouse will ever have - is a WMS (Warehouse Management System). These solutions are designed to optimize inventory movement through advanced features.
One of the areas that a WMS accomplishes this is through cartonization.
What is cartonization?
Cartonization is a process whereby the WMS assesses every and each item from an individual order to define the number and size of each carton needed to ship that order. The software uses height, length, weight and width as parameters for its algorithm to determine the best way to pack individual cartons. The goal is to pack the order in the smallest cube size. The following factors are also considered:
- Item shape – for example, long or pointed items may compromise a carton
- Item size / weight – can determine if the order will be shipped together or must be split into multiple packages, and product arrangement within the carton (heavier items may damage smaller or lighter items)
- Item type – can also determine how products within are distributed and arranged. For example, food items may not be shipped in containers with cleaning supplies
Cartonization automates and improves traditional manual shipping methods by saving costs and reducing waste. The main benefits of this softare are:
Reducing material costs
The algorithms will suggest the most cost-effective packaging sizes, thus decreasing void fill and material wastage. This will allow your company to purchase box materials directly and build your boxes more efficiently. Not only will this save costs, but also create a positive impact for the environment bringing your company one step closer to a sustainable / green operation.
Cartonization was one of the key features in iWMS Australasia recent HighJump implementation for Australian cosmetics e-commerce powerhouse Adore Beauty. CEO Kate Morris reported that the volumetric calculation not only improved inventory accuracy and packing time, but it also allowed the company to significantly reduce the amount of cardboard used.
Cartonization will help with streamlining picking, making it possible to achieve the same-day delivery your customers have grown to expect.
Picking straight into the shipping container means you can skip an extra packing process. You can pre-assign items into appropriately sized boxes, so the system generates the correct shipping labels, and the picker grabs the right kind(s) of shipping carton(s) prior to the pick tour.
Cartonization is especially valuable for orders with 1-3 lines, and it will go a long way toward getting orders out the door faster.
By predetermining the size, quantity, and type of packaging required to pack an order, the productivity of packing operators is greatly increased.
More about WMS
Simply put, a warehouse management system (WMS) is a software solution designed to support and optimise the daily operations of a warehouse. A WMS can provide real-time inventory visibility and control.
A WMS can automate and optimise all processes within your supply chain, shrinking turnaround windows. Increased fill rates and decreased cycle times will enable you to avoid costly shipping delays and backorders that jeopardize valuable customer relationships.
Additionally, automation can help with planning and managing inventory, leading to up to 99+ percent inventory accuracy. Cycle counting and real-time information verification ensures warehouse staff are not wasting time looking for misplaced or missing items.
Finally, optimising storage systems through directed stock rotation, intelligent picking directives, automatic consolidation, and cross-docking ensures no space in your warehouse is wasted.
In a high volume, complex logistics environment, the shift to an automated model can be daunting – but failing to adapt poses even greater risks. You need a technology partner with a proven track record of delivering efficiency and a lower cost of ownership today, plus the flexibility and innovation to help you realize your strategic roadmap tomorrow and beyond.
No matter your business size, having a warehouse management system will benefit you. With the HighJump platform, iWMS Australasia is integrating our proven solutions for the warehouse, transportation and logistics ecosystem with emerging technologies – from around our company and around the world – to build the supply chain of the future.
Contact us now.