How ShipHawk’s Teach Mode Can Help You Automate Packing Exceptions
  • Josh Jensen
November 08, 2023
Posted by Josh Jensen

In today’s highly competitive environment, businesses shipping to retailers or directly to consumers must ask:

  1. How can we increase productivity at our shipping workstations?
  2. How can we reduce packaging material and packing costs as much as possible?
  3. How can we reduce shipping weight and volume as much as possible?
  4. And how can we most efficiently manage exceptions to our packing processes?

The answer to the first three questions is ShipHawk’s cartonization optimization solution, Smart Packing™. The answer to the fourth question is ShipHawk’s new automated exception solution, Teach Mode.

Cartonization with ShipHawk’s Smart Packing™

Cartonization helps shippers quickly and accurately select the ideal container into which you can pack a given type and quantity of items. Cartonization algorithms have multiple benefits for shippers:

  • More accurate packing enables significantly improved in-cart rate estimates, less packing material used, lower shipping cost, and less time spent packing shipments.

  • Less accurate the packing results in poor rate estimates, material waste from overpacking, less efficient packers, and higher shipping costs. Some studies suggest that up to 40% of all packages are filler material and empty space.

Cartonization algorithms are an important part of running an efficient packing and shipping operation but there are limitations.  As with any algorithm, the quality of the output is only as good as the input.  Most Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems allow only length (L), width (W), and height (H) dimensions for items.  

These dimensions work well for rectangular prisms, such as box-shaped items, but suffer when packing odd-shaped items and articles that can be stuffed, stacked, nested and otherwise packed in ways that are not fully described by LxWxH. They also do not account for situations where you might prefer to ship in non ‘size-optimized’ packaging.  

For these situations, ShipHawk has introduced Teach Mode.

Automate Exceptions with ShipHawk’s Teach Mode

Teach Mode allows packers to create Packing Rules that automate packing use cases where the algorithm doesn’t pack the ‘right’ way.  A few scenarios that Packing Rules can help:  

  • Non-rectangular items:  There are many cases where experienced shippers can pack items better than an algorithm that is constrained by LxWxH dimensions.  These items may nest, have voids, or can be manipulated in ways that allow items to fit together in ways that cannot be calculated by an algorithm.
  • Specialty packing materials: Some merchants offer monthly gift packs or have combinations of products that should be packed into a specific container.  Packing Rules, coupled with item-specific packing settings, can automate a higher number of these use cases.

  • Non-optimal packing:  There are certain situations where shippers may want to pack non-optimally.  For example, you may want to pack certain orders in containers that leave extra room for packing filler, or for a combination of items that should be packed into separate containers.  

Teach Mode gives packers a way to automate more use cases and various exceptions that fall outside of the results of a standard packing algorithm.

Maximum productivity requires automating decisions and data entry throughout the pick, pack, and ship process. Cartonization algorithms like ShipHawk’s Smart Packing take the guesswork out of packing material selection and automate data entry for a broad range of orders. Packing Rules are designed to help automate the exceptions. 

Ready to revolutionize your shipping operations and maximize productivity while minimizing costs? It's time to embrace the power of ShipHawk's Smart Packing™ and Teach Mode. Take the first step towards a more efficient and cost-effective shipping process today. Contact us now to schedule a demo and see how ShipHawk can transform your shipping and packing operations.

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