Optimal Multi-item Packing Pricing
  • Laura Kenny
August 04, 2017
Posted by Laura Kenny

Why optimizing packing is a vital component of your shipping cost strategy

Customers deal with unpacked items in a variety of ways. No matter the size, unpacked items present a number of issues for businesses. When it comes to multi-item packing orders, there are usually several combinations of boxes to consider:

  • What is the right box?
  • What if the item is big or fragile?
  • Should you put all the items into one large box or is it cheaper to split the order into 2 smaller boxes?
  • How many items should you put in a box?
  • What is the cheapest way to package these items?

The simplest option, putting each item in its own box, is also the most expensive. It is impossible to know what combination of items a customer will select so manually pairing items together isn’t a complete or scalable solution to the problem. Using technology to automatically find the most optimal solution saves time and a lot of money.

Ensuring that items are packed into the smallest box possible is more important than ever. Both FedEx and UPS reduced their dimensional factors in January 2017 to 139 inches. This reduction means dimensional weight is going to trump actual weight more frequently.


ShipHawk solves the unpacked item dilemma with our hardware free multi-item packing algorithm.

Multi-Item Packing:

  • Determines if to pack item(s) in one or more boxes
  • Determines if cartonizing or palletizing is cheaper
  • Selects the right box or pallet size for shipping
  • Provides packing material and labor estimates


  • Accurate pricing upfront prior to packing (in-cart, CRM, ERP, etc.)
  • Reduce packaging waste
  • Save money and time when processing orders
  • Automated, hardware free shipping

“We have the art of shipping down, but want to master the science of shipping.” - ShipHawk Customer

How it works:

1. User inputs dimensions, weight, and type of item for everything that is being shipped into the platform.

2. Algorithm automatically categorizes the items into five packaging categories: boxable, palletizable, crateable, packed, and other.

3. If boxable, the ShipHawk system calculates how to best group items together into each of the different shapes of boxes stored within the ShipHawk catalog of materials. If an item is too big or too heavy to fit together with other items, it is put into its own box.

4. After the packaging algorithm selects the option that is best for that shipment, the platform decides on the most efficient packaging materials and provides the shipping rates for that shipment.

5. The platform presents the lowest-cost real-time rates by carrier type, enabling users to have accurate, real-time shipping costs that far exceed the accuracy of competing multi-carrier solutions.

Run your business more efficiently by automating your logistics process. Reduce packing and shipping costs by making the smartest decision about every transaction.

Learn more about ShipHawk's packing optimization.

Subscribe to the ShipHawk Blog

Recent Posts