Size/Shape Data in Logistics

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Size/Shape Data in Logistics

Key Takeaways

  • The dimensions and shape of a packaging material could significantly impact transporting performance.
  • The most efficient shipping and storage shape for a product is the cube.
  • When the size and weight of parcels are not kept within standard measurements, shipping the products often incur additional costs.
  • Size/shape data is necessary to facilitate goods classification in logistics.
  • Providers can improve vehicle utilization for shipments using size/shape data.

Introduction

This report provides insights into shape/size data in logistics, including cost savings & efficiency, environmental performance, and goods classification.

Cost Savings & Efficiency

  • Depending on the complexity of the products, logistics providers might be unable to leverage the same carton size for different products as this would lead to inefficient use of space and reduced delivery efficiency.
  • By leveraging size/shape data, logistics providers can ensure more accurate packaging solutions that allow for significant cost savings in the supply chain.
  • Minimal reductions in packaging size can lead to significant supply cost savings and a reduction in excess dimensional weight charges. Subsequently, logistics providers can leverage size/shape data to optimize their packaging solutions to obtain amplified cost savings.
  • Providers leveraging modern software and a dimensioning scale in their warehouse management systems (WMSs) can "optimize not only the number of carton sizes but the exactly the right carton for each individual order being packed" using available data. Providers would thus reduce transportation costs significantly.

Environmental Performance

  • Product packaging has been described as crucial in logistics, having a significant impact on transport efficiency and overall environmental performance.
  • More specifically, the dimensions and shape of a packaging material could significantly impact transporting performance, leading to more trips than necessary and increased transportation costs due to poorer freight performance.
  • By leveraging size/shape data, providers can improve vehicle utilization for shipments, which would lead to more positive environmental impacts. Since having a higher vehicle fill rate leads to fewer transports, providers can reduce their carbon footprint significantly.
  • The most efficient shipping and storage shape for a product is the cube. Sustainable packaging and unitization often involve accounting for different products' different shapes and sizes and assembling them into as close to a cuboid shape as possible.
  • A logistics company's environmental performance can be assessed by its sustainable packaging decisions, which would be negative without accurate size and shape data.

Goods Classification

  • Size/shape data is necessary to facilitate goods classification in logistics. When a parcel exceeds its typical measurements in weight and size, the product is classified as "bulky goods or bulky freight."
  • However, even under the bulky classification, Courier, Express, and Parcel Services (CEP) providers must adhere to an upper limit for parcel measurements. Once the measurements are exceeded, the merchants would need to leverage a carrier or freight transport services instead.
  • When the size and weight of parcels are not kept within standard measurements, shipping the products often incur additional costs.
  • For different CEP providers such as Hermes, DHL, GLS, DPD, and UPS, the shape (rectangular, roll, or special) and size determine whether the products are classified as standard or bulky goods.

Research Strategy

We leveraged studies and industry reports from DiVA and Lean Supply Solutions to provide the requested information.

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