Inbound Logistics | July 2022

T wo and a half years after the pandemic caused awareness about sustainability and waste within the shipping industry, as well as economic pressures, lead the charge .

need to computerize and automate the whole load planning process because it’s not something they can solve with a spreadsheet, or a pen and paper, or by staring at a bunch of products and cartons to decide what will t best where,” says Tim Smith, CEO at MagicLogic Optimization Inc. The most comprehensive solutions meld both technology and sustainability. For example, DHL Supply Chain, the contract logistics specialist within Deutsche Post DHL Group, conceptualized its Opticarton packaging solution pre-pandemic. “We wanted to make sure we were able to optimize our packaging in general but adopting and rening the solution became extremely relevant as e-commerce picked up,” explains Alicemarie Geoffrion, president of packaging operations. The OptiCarton packaging solution is basically an algorithm that studies the actual contents of a package and, based on weights and dimensions, determines the optimum sized box and how to best place items inside it. It also

e-commerce to accelerate, packaging and shipping methods continue to evolve. Consumers’ heightened

in the market to be wasteful,” says Hanko Kiessner, founder and executive chairman of Packsize. “But the internet retail industry has reached a limit to its own scalability.” TECH TO THE RESCUE Theoretically, the human brain is perfectly capable of making packaging size decisions based on the outward appearances of products. In a pinch, however, and pressed for time, warehouse workers will pick the biggest box they know will t without a doubt. Ultimately, they end up shipping a lot of dead space. Load planning software takes

The writing was on the wall. Of the 82,220 tons of container and packaging materials generated in 2018, 30,470 million tons of it wound up in landlls, nds data collected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The gure amounted to 20.9% of the overall landlling that occurred in 2018—and that was pre-pandemic. It’s not uncommon for e-commerce packaging to be as much as 40% too large. As a result, more trucks, delivery vans, planes, and other transport modes are needed to move goods through the supply chain—a notable inefciency further compounded by current driver shortages and high fuel costs. “Once there was enough capacity

the guesswork out of formulating packaging solutions. “Companies

160 Inbound Logistics • July 2022

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