Saturday, April 13, 2024

The number of the day: 70

Hida Winkle is a tech blogger from Ohio with a degree in mass communication and a gift for writing. She is the editor-in-chief of Hida’s favorite subjects are technology and building art. She is also a huge fan of Anime and Manga.

March 4, 2024

By Bettina Reckter

Reading time: approx. 2 minutes

Mail order seems to be a fool’s errand. The goods in the boxes of products ordered online often only make up around 30%. The rest is air.

The number of the day: 70 | newsimage389584 313x0 c default

With the help of the CASTN optimization software, shipping companies receive a box set that is optimally tailored to their respective order and item structure.
Photo: Sebastian Beierle/Fraunhofer IML

This number is frightening: there is up to 70% air in the boxes that the parcel carriers deliver to our door when we have ordered something online. For example, there is a small perfume bottle in a shoebox, surrounded by lots of cushioning materials. Why is that? Although there is an enormous variety of packaging materials, they are rarely tailored to the product being shipped. This is not sustainable because packages that are too large block the storage space and thus the capacity per vehicle and driver. And they drive up costs and CO2-Emission upwards.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML have now developed optimization software that can be used to put together the optimal box-order combination for each customer. As part of CASTN (Carton Set Optimization), sophisticated algorithms calculate the best utilization of the packages based on the item and order structure.

“Customers often don’t know the volume utilization rate of their boxes; this is usually only around 30%. They don’t know how much air they are sending. Our software calculates that,” says Lukas Lehmann, scientist at Fraunhofer IML. The optimization is followed by analysis and consultation with the customer in order to select the best possible box sets.

Reading tip: Michael ten Hompel – an excellent logistics visionary

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