Inbound Logistics | July 2022

When it all becomes more complicated than the average human brain typically wants to trouble itself with, having software that provides the right answer every time is both reassuring and cost-effective. THE RIGHT STUFF About 84% of consumers prefer their items be shipped via cardboard box versus plastic shipping envelopes and pouches, nds a March 2022 consumer study conducted by Packsize, an automated packaging solutions provider. Furthermore, 87% of consumers who order online four or more times per week tend to patronize brands that demonstrate habits aimed at reducing their carbon footprint. Sustainability is clearly top of mind for everyone. A box that is 40% too large needs 28% more paper than a rightsized box. Roughly 68.6% (per EPA data) of any plastic lling—styrofoam packing peanuts, air-lled pillows or others— included in that same oversized box ends up in landlls, where it sits for thousands of years to decompose. Issues with sustainability and waste within the shipping industry are exactly why Hanko Kiessner founded Packsize, a company whose business model centers around rightsized packaging. “I had the good fortune of being in

service with an extensively researched and proprietary algorithm. Its main applications are: Cartonization —the process of evaluating the size, shape, and weight of every item to be shipped to determine the optimal packaging option. Mixed palletization —the process of placing goods together on top of a pallet to consolidate the load, using robotics. It utilizes true 3D placement of every item to deliver an optimal solution. “A lot of warehouse management systems (WMS) say they provide cartonization load planning,” says Smith. “But what they really do is add up the volumes of all the boxes. If that volume is less than the volume of the shipping carton or container, they say it ts. That is a load of baloney.” To prove his point, Smith describes a too long but very narrow product. “It’s still got a small volume but it won’t t in the intended box, which is why you have to do true 3D placement,” he says. Being able to show potential customers an image also gives MagicLogic a chance to model some complex loading rules. “We can illustrate why fragile Product A can’t be on the bottom or why Product B can’t be with Product C because they will explode if loaded together,” says Smith. “All this information comes into play at some point.”

provides packers with individual, visual instructions on how to ideally utilize the space inside the box so the right answer is more than just a hunch. “Over time, with the rise of e-commerce, use of the algorithm increased,” adds Geoffrion. “And as it evolved, the next logical step was to combine it with some of our packaging- on-demand solutions.” Thus, the AI solution OptiCarton was born, eliminating the need to have an inventory of different sized boxes on hand. “We’re able to leverage on-demand technology so that we can produce the right size box at the right time,” she says. Customer research conducted by DHL Supply Chain reveals that 24% of e-commerce package volume is empty space. OptiCarton helps brands and retailers produce the right package at the right time for each shipment, which, in turn, drives down transportation costs and minimizes waste all while ensuring the product is protected.

FAIR GAME At times, achieving smart and

sustainable packaging solutions takes on the characteristics of certain games. In fact, Geoffrion likens the articial intelligence used by OptiCarton to the video game Tetris, a classic puzzle game where players rotate and move falling geometric shapes to complete full rows without empty spaces. “Our software effectively arranges the contents within a parcel to achieve cost and emissions savings,” she says. One of the key logistics solutions offered by MagicLogic Optimization gets its name from another logical puzzle game, BlackBox, where the objective is to strategically acquire information to deduce the game board’s hidden solution. It’s not unlike collecting data to select the right box for orders in e-fulllment, each and every time. “A Black Box does something very clever, but in a mysterious way,” notes Smith. “All you have to look at is what goes in and what comes back out again. MagicLogic’s BlackBox optimizer is an easy-to-integrate Windows

Logistics partners such as DHL Freight prioritize sustainable packaging and operations. They analyze supply chains from consumer to packaging, helping shippers become more sustainable and identify future-proof solutions.

July 2022 • Inbound Logistics 161

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