Cartonization typically refers to, well, packing cartons. Expanding your view of what cartonization can accomplish can produce compounding savings and efficiency gains when packing items destined for pallets and beyond.

As any company that even occasionally ships freight knows, there exists for every order large enough an extremely pronounced breakpoint, beyond which freight shipping is not merely less expensive, but many times so versus a comparable parcel shipment. One of our most common use cases is to dually cartonize an order for parcel (with its own set of parcel service-specific cartons) and for freight services (which typically have different packing requirements). This way, customers can then fetch the best respective rate for a shipment based on the service type and then select the best-value mode.

Packing for parcel is intuitive in Paccurate: a pack request is composed for an order, its items represent that order's line items, and its boxes represent our corrugated companions. The set of boxes that best fits the order's items and satisfies the order's requirements is generated, and we're done—rate your shipment with your carton dimensions and billable weights as calculated, print some labels, and pack some boxes!

Packing for freight can sometimes be this simple, especially for smaller less-than-truckload shipments where cartons are shipped directly. However, as soon as a shipper enters the realm of pallets—whether for wholesale orders, prohibitively large inventory items, or your business simply exclusively ships pallets via LTL/TL—the game complicates.

With Paccurate, solving this riddle requires only the most minute measure of open-mindedness: to allow an additional definition for both items and boxes. To us humans, items have SKUs and boxes have six sides of cardboard. To Paccurate, however, items are any 3-dimensional object and boxes are any constrained volume in which 3-dimensional objects can be placed—items could just as easily mean already-packed cardboard boxes, and boxes could be pallets waiting to be loaded with filled cartons.

This easy worldview expansion makes palletization possible in Paccurate through a powerful packing flow: (1) SKU-items are packed into cardboard-boxes, (2) packed cardboard-boxes become cardboard-items, (3) cardboard-items are packed into pallet-boxes. We can stop there for now (though the metaphor could easily be extended to include how pallet-items are packed into trailer-boxes, etc., etc.) and show the result: by simply chaining together two pack requests we can go from loose SKU-items from any number of orders to cartonized cardboard-boxes to palletized pallet-boxes in a single operation chain, with Paccurate optimizing the packing each step of the way.