The service of mass shipment of courier parcels mainly concerns e-commerce companies. Sales peaks on the occasion of holidays, Black Friday and Cyber Monday or during periods of “warehouse cleaning”, i.e. periodic promotions, require increased activity and special tools. Handling mass correspondence is also a problem for large corporations. In all cases, where thousands of shipments have to be prepared almost overnight, packaging processes must be automated.
Various types of machines are hidden under the umbrella of automation – from an automatic single pallet wrapping machine to an automatic packing or parcel sorting plant that handles thousands of shipments per hour. Regardless of whether the packaging process is fully automatic or involves people, packing planning algorithms always provide invaluable service.
Automation at the hardware level
At the hardware level, automating the preparation of orders for shipment requires the purchase of appropriate machines, stands and entire packaging lines. With a high workload, their costs are repaid quickly, and as a bonus you get accuracy, reliability and always the highest quality of packaging. Here are some of the activities that can be entrusted to machines:
- heat-sealed film packaging – automatic closure of courier poly mailers, packing returns in foil sleeves,
- filling and sealing envelopes – an economical solution in the case of mass mailing of documents, e.g. annexes to contracts, personal tax forms and returns, congratulatory correspondence or company Christmas wishes,
- sealing cardboard boxes – machines are great at sealing cardboard boxes with packaging tape; they can also label and print any markings, addresses or warnings against turning or dropping the package,
- wrapping with stretch film – wrapping is possible for both packages and pallets,
- binding with PP tape – securing shipments with super-strong polyester tape is one of the most frequently automated packaging processes.
Software for automating the packaging process
Packing planning algorithms can accelerate the handling of shipments even at the order completion stage. The use of packing algorithms, e.g. an algorithm for packing one container or an algorithm for planning the distribution of goods in multiple packages (containers), allows you to quickly allocate goods to appropriate sections and collect them in packing zones. The algorithm generates packing instructions for packers – the illustrated diagram of the packing process provides a specific number of items in a package together with their arrangement and a detailed description of the subsequent packing stages.
Algorithms are particularly useful for handling orders consisting of goods of various dimensions and weights. Quick manual planning (calculations in a spreadsheet) is practically impossible in such a situation. Additionally, the necessity to make several hundred or several thousand packing plans per day make the benefits of using the algorithm grow exponentially. Once the packing algorithm is integrated with your software, it starts ensuring that all packages are within acceptable dimension and weight limits. The operation of the algorithms takes seconds, and the entire packing planning process is limited to the few minutes needed to enter or correct input data (dimensions and weight of goods or dimensions of collective containers).