Inbound Logistics | March 2022


“hot topic,” Mills says. Companies are trying different ways to manage returns so they can keep costs low for consum- ers, while quickly returning products to the marketplace. PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE Mobile devices, already a big player in consumer purchases, promise to take on a larger role in business-to-business e-commerce transactions, Watts predicts. Businesses need to prepare for this shift. With more e-commerce companies accepting cryptocurrency payments from their customers, it’s likely a mat- ter of time until they pay their vendors with cryptocurrency, Watts says. To do that, they’ll need to determine, among other issues, whether their bank will accept them, and how they’ll protect this new asset. Automation will become even more prevalent, predicts Tim Smith, chief tech- nology ofcer with MagicLogic, a provider of load planning solutions. For instance, autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), guided by software, will increasingly free employees frommanually picking and bringing items to pallets. “Using AMRs is becoming more important, especially given the current stafng problems faced by many compa- nies,” he adds. E-commerce rms need to remain vig- ilant and agile and leverage data-driven solutions that can inform decision-mak- ing, while keeping their customers front and center. “The companies that are nding the greatest success are the ones prioritizing the consumer experience,” Rosenstock says. A solid supply chain infrastructure, along with partnerships that can support a company’s growth, will be key in tack- ling these challenges while building an e-commerce business that can continue to thrive, says Smith of Symbia. GAINING EFFICIENCIES THROUGH LOAD PLANNING MagicLogic has specialized in load planning for more than 25 years, and 50 of the largest 100 companies in the world use its solution. “Our math and

MagicLogic, a provider of load planning software, focuses on three essential functions: cartonization (loading small parcels for business-to-consumer purchases), palletization (arranging products onto a pallet), and placing boxes onto a truck or shipping container.

no matter how complex. These include complying with Hazmat and Li-ion, and axle weight limits, which is crucial for avoiding costly nes. For example, MagicLogic provides efcient load planning solutions for orga- nizations moving medicines that need to remain upright, temperature-controlled, and correctly labeled. “This is where the software tends to shine because the multitude of constraints becomes hard for any one person to keep in mind,” Smith says. COUNTING ON CUSTOMIZATION Meeting complex loading rules has become particularly important given many warehouse operators’ labor con- straints. Often, MagicLogic software bests the ability of even the most experi- enced warehouse employees to develop efcient load plans. The MagicLogic software suite con- sists of three primary applications: Cube-IQ is an interactive load plan- ning solution for desktop workstations. Cube-IQ-Web is geared for use in browsers, on tablets and phones. BlackBox is a scalable, rapid plug-in or service for high-speed cartonization and complex, mixed palletization from within a company’s ERP or warehouse management system. Because the MagicLogic source code

algorithms have transformed load plan- ning,” Tim Smith says. The company developed its soft- ware in-house and boasts more than two decades of research and development focused on meeting one goal: provid- ing the most powerful and capable load planning software possible. Its versa- tile, powerful algorithms are designed to achieve optimal results while working within its clients’ complex business rules. Clients benet in several ways. They can craft more efcient load plans, while typically spending about one- third or less of the time required to plan loads manually. Load planning generally encompasses three functions: • Cartonization, or loading the many small parcels that make up most busi- ness-to-consumer purchases. • Palletization, or moving many different products onto a pallet, is considerably more complex. It is essential to ensure the result- ing build is stable and products protected, and many supply chain organizations are testing robots for use in this role. • Placing multiple boxes onto a truck or shipping container, often to move long distances. MagicLogic focuses on all three. Ensuring items are loaded correctly and safely is key, and MagicLogic pro- vides fully customizable loading rules,

38 Inbound Logistics • March 2022

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