Packing planning systems in the logistics industry

Logistics is the bloodstream of the economy. When it works properly, goods’ flow is uninterrupted, parcels arrive and are picked up on time. If logistics starts to fail, the entire system loses its rhythm and fluency. This happens on a macro scale, but also at the level of specific companies. In order to maintain the timely and fluent movement of goods, it is necessary to apply quick and precise planning of cargo space usage at every stage of logistics processes. For this purpose, we have created packing planning tools.

Time is the most important variable in logistics. Cargo space comes a close second. The success of the entire logistics process depends on how good you are at managing the relationship between the two.

Constant struggle for the optimal use of space

Logistics operations are not limited to the transport of one load from point A to point B. Most often on its way between the starting point and destination, loads are repeatedly sorted, grouped and reloaded. At every stage of their journey they reach a transshipment point and change the way they are transported, and thus the way they fit into the new cargo space. At each transshipment point, you need to conduct a quick assessment of how much cargo space your load needs and how to arrange the whole load in the best way. The goal is the same each time – to place as much cargo as possible in the smallest possible space. And this task may be perfectly supported by automatic packing planning.

Regardless of whether you are dealing with raw materials, processed materials or finished products, their flow requires appropriate packing which suits both the cargo and storage spaces. Effective logistics processes require the use of fast and precise packing planning mechanisms. Planning with the use of a spreadsheet is not very effective and is prone to a high risk of error.

Packing multiple packages, containers, vans

Among the packing planning tools we have created, the Pack a Shipment tool is the most widely used in the logistics industry. This tool requires the input of data regarding containers and goods to be packed (dimensions, weight, number). After entering all the data, the Pack a Shipment tool will give you the smallest possible number of the smallest boxes you have, into which all your items can be packed.

Another functionality of this tool is worth emphasising – it will pick out from the list of entered items those that will not fit into any of your boxes. This is a signal that you need to prepare a different package or arrange a different box.

The tool can be applied to any box and any cargo space – as long as it is of a regular, cubic form. It is effective for a cardboard box, truck load space, sea shipping container or rail car. It can also be successfully used to plan the optimal storage space usage with a given cargo.

The Single Container Packing tool will be very useful if you want to use a box (container, cargo space in a delivery truck) with specific dimensions. It may be really helpful when you are packing an order for one customer and you want to check whether all the ordered goods will fit in one cardboard box, container or in the cargo space of a delivery truck. You can enter dimensions for any number of boxes and any number of items. As the result of the algorithm you will get a visualisation of the way the entered goods for each of the containers can be packed. The algorithm will show the arrangement of goods in each box and will also indicate the goods that cannot be packed (due to their size or weight).

The algorithm saves you time

Our packing planning tools allow you to optimise two key logistics parameters: time and cargo space usage. You can limit planning to fill one cargo space (e.g. a TIR/HGV/semi-trailer), which normally takes a few or several dozen minutes, to seconds or fractions of a second. In practice, you will replace packing “by eye”, based on experience or intuition, with packing based on sizes – accurate, reliable and easily modifiable. In no time you can change the set of shipments prepared for transport by changing the parameters of your set (dimensions, number, weight of the packages).

If you have a certain number of identical parcels to be loaded, then placing them in a large container, on a pallet or in a semi-trailer is not a problem. Probably the operation was repeated dozens, hundreds, maybe thousands of times, so the optimal arrangement was established by trial and error. However, it is enough to introduce some parcels of different sizes to create a serious problem. The loading processes will immediately slow down and the use of the cargo space will turn out to be much worse. This can be avoided if you use packing planning algorithms.

If you want to see how our tools for optimising the planning of cargo space usage work, use the Free Trial. Thanks to this, you will choose the most suitable solution for you and be able to test it before purchasing a subscription.