The Infosys global supply chain management blog enables leaner supply chains through process and IT related interventions. Discuss the latest trends and solutions across the supply chain management landscape.

« Solution definition..or Requirements Refining..or Both? | Main | Critical Assets: Manage them Right for Customer Delight »

Carton Allocation During Warehouse Outbound Process

Getting the right size carton to pack an order would be a daunting task during an outbound process in a warehouse. There maybe various sizes of cartons available, but which size and how many of such cartons would accommodate the entire order would be a challenge.

This could be simplified by applying a carton allocation logic that can be built within the WMS system managing the warehouse in case it does not have such a feature. This logic would need to revolve around the fact that items need to fit in the right size cartons with the minimum space wastage and using the minimum number of cartons. Let’s look at how this logic can be formulated. This logic must be used soon after all items have been picked and ready to be packed.

Step One - To fit all items in a Single Carton Check for the length of the longest item in the order and match it with length of the available cartons. All those cartons having length less than that of the item are straightaway rejected. The one which fits will be selected.

Next calculate the total weight of all the items in the order and match it against the Max capacity that the carton can hold. If the item's weight is less then what the carton the can hold, then select the carton; otherwise choose the next larger carton available

Now check the total volume of all the items in the order against the Carton volume. In case it is less than that of the carton volume, then allocate the carton else select the next larger size carton. In case all items do not fit into a single carton, move to Step Two

Step Two - Calculating the Total Number of Cartons for an order and the right sizes

Calculate the total weight and the total Volume of the items in the order and match against the available cartons. If the total Volume exceeds the largest carton's volume, then select the largest carton first and then subtract its volume from the total item volume. In case the difference is more that the largest carton volume, then increment the largest carton count by one.

Now, again subtract the volume of the largest carton X 2 from the available volume to be packed. If the available volume is less that the volume of the largest carton, then select the smallest carton available. If the volume of the remaining items is more than the smallest carton, then move to the next larger carton in the sequence. Keep on doing this till the entire order volume is exhausted. At the end of this allocation procedure, the system will come out with the total number of cartons to be used and their respective sizes.

Please note that you should not split the item quantity of each item across cartons. The entire item quantity need to sit in the same carton (provided the total volume of all the items does not exceed the largest carton's volume).

Step Three: Allocating Cartons to Items by Carton Size - Item Volume Combination in descending order

Now the system picks up the largest carton and select the item that has the largest volume in terms its quantity in the order and allocates the carton to it. It then calculates the remaining volume and then checks in the order, the next item with the largest volume and see if it can fit in the same. It does, then it allocates the same carton otherwise it check the least volume carton available and does a volume check. If the least volume carton is lesser than the volume of the item, then the next higher volume carton is considered. This check goes on till it finds the right size carton to fit the item.

In the same way, all the items in the order are assigned cartons. Note that no item quantity must be split across cartons. This is the simplest logic that can be used within a WMS system, but there are some limitations to it, for example when the items do not have near-to-cubical shapes, there are possibilities of not getting the right volume of each item. A cubiscan can avoid this shortcoming if it is used to record the item's volume during inbound process against the item being received.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Please key in the two words you see in the box to validate your identity as an authentic user and reduce spam.

Subscribe to this blog's feed

Follow us on

Blogger Profiles

Infosys on Twitter