For companies that ship dozens or thousands of order items in any given day, packaging presents big opportunities for customer experience and cost savings. But matching order items to right sized boxes can turn into a complicated science. An artificial intelligence solution by FastFetch Corp. is changing that.
Much like game-playing algorithms that can determine a good move in chess, FastFetch's IntelliPack solution uses Al techniques to explore possible item placements and orientations while respecting attributes like this side up, nesting, hollow fill and weight — as well as inclusion/exclusion constraints on carton types and item types. The final challenge is to determine an optimally sized shipping carton from dozens of available cartons sizes in less than one second.
Data from a company’s historical order records help the tool identify an assortment of carton sizes — perhaps 40 or more — that will accommodate the entire set of past orders with minimal wasted space. Once this set has been determined, the company orders an inventory of those carton sizes for future packing. The solution encompasses carton storage, selection and replenishment.
Multiple units of each carton size are maintained in a flat, unerect state in racks positioned at packing stations. After scanning an order barcode the system illuminates a segment of LEDs adjacent to the location of an optimally sized carton for packing the order items with minimal wasted space. As cartons in the rack are consumed, a worker is dispatched to replenish those cartons with a cart using voice light directed and wireless barcode technologies.
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