Oliver Hahn

The full costs of transporting empty boxes

You probably recognize this: you order a sweater and two pairs of pants online. The box arrives at your home, and it barely fits through your front door. The products are somewhere in one corner of the box, the rest of the box is either empty, or filled with filler material like packing peanuts. Such a waste!

A waste of space, definitely. But also very expensive. Just think about it: a large box is more expensive than a small box, more filler material is needed to fill it, and especially the transport costs are much higher. In addition, this leads to a dissatisfied or otherwise unimpressed customer, who rightfully wonders if this can't be done in a smarter way.

The good news is: yes, it is possible to be smarter about this. How? Keep reading the blog to find out.

Every warehouse has to deal with a constantly changing assortment of articles. To be able to use a warehouse efficiently, it is of great importance to have insight into the dimensions and weight of each article. For this reason, the dimensions and weight of all new articles are checked and stored in the master data.

In many warehouse operations, this master data is already used to determine the optimal storage location of the article; however, this information is often not used when packing and shipping articles. Choosing the right packaging material therefore often comes down to the insight and experience of the warehouse staff.

The right packaging material automatically

The SAP warehouse management system (SAP Extended Warehouse Management) offers standard functionality for automatically determining the right packaging material. This uses the dimensions and weight of the ordered items.

Upon receipt of the order, SAP EWM determines which box the sweater and two pairs of pants should be packed in. This intelligent cartonization software also takes into account more complex scenarios such as shipping stackable products. In addition, different packaging needs per carrier can are also accounted for. This minimizes the material costs of the box and packaging material.

More advantages

However, this is not the only advantage: having early insights in how the ordered items will be packed, can also result in an optimized transport process. Think of being able to estimate the required volume in the truck, as well as making a loading plan.

A final - but certainly not unimportant - advantage is that this contributes to reducing CO₂ emissions; because less air is being packed, suddenly a lot more packages fit in the same truck!

This blog is part of a series of blogs on Sustainable Best Practices. Find the next blog from this series about REA vs RDP here.

Curious whether this functionality can also help your company? Please contact Jan Laros or view our Intelligent Logistics solutions

Think SAP EWM, Think McCoy