Packing and containerization


Set up manual packing

Containers represent the physical structure in which products are packed during shipping, and you can keep track of the container information in the system. This can be useful during transportation planning, especially when shipping charges are calculated based on containers.

In Supply Chain Management, you can see the number of containers that are used in a shipment, the types of containers that are used, and physical dimensions, such as total volume and weight, prior to shipping.

You can use container types to create descriptions of containers, including maximum values for physical size dimensions and weight capacity. When a containerized wave is processed, the containers are created based on the container type information.

Supply Chain Management provides a packing process that allows you to validate and pack products into containers.

In this process, warehouse workers pick products from the storage locations and move them to the packing station, where they check the item quantities and types and then assign them to appropriate containers. When a container is fully packed, they can close it and move it to the outbound docks. At this point, the products are ready for shipping.

Create a location profile for manual packing

To create a location profile for manual packing, go to Warehouse Management > Setup > Warehouse Location profiles and create a new record with the location type to be packed.

You can choose to allow tracking of license plates at the packing station, have a negative inventory, pick from mixed items, and choose items with mixed inventory statuses. You can also choose the ability to perform cycle counting. Alternatively, you can enable Check digit to verify location IDs and make sure that they match with those of the picking list or receipt lists. You can also link a packing profile to a user.

The Allowed product dimension mixing fast tab provides the option to store different dimensions of an item in the warehouse, packed in a box for packing, and packed into a box with more of itself for nested packing.

Manual packing process

The manual packing process starts with an order, such as sales or transfer orders. Work is then created through a wave that has the packing station as the put location. The location directives and work templates must have already been set up for the items to be moved to a packing location when the picking work is completed. Then, the warehouse worker uses a mobile device to pick the items and move them to the packing location.

After the items are in the pack location, users can open the Pack page and create a container, pack the items, close the container, and weigh and print documents, if required. This cycle continues for each shipment.

When you are packing product variations such as size, color, or serial-controlled items or batch-controlled items, the system displays a dialog where you can select product dimensions. While items are being packed, the Quantity packed and Quantity remaining fields are updated on the item lines. When a line is completely packed, it will be removed from the Open lines tab. However, you can still view it on the All lines tab.

In each packing action, Supply Chain Management validates the total item weight inside the container against the maximum allowed weight of the container. These weights are specified for the container on the container type. If the item exceeds the weight limit, the system will prevent it from being packed into the container and will display an error. However, Supply Chain Management does not validate other physical dimensions such as volume, width, height, and length, which gives warehouse workers flexibility during packing to adjust these dimensions on the product.

For example, a packer might be able to squeeze the items into the container, even though the volume exceeds the nominal value.

At any time during packing, you can view and modify all containers that are created for the shipment by selecting the Available containers button on the Pack page. The Containers page is then displayed, where you can perform the following actions:

  • Adjust the item quantity in a container. Unpacked items will update on the Pack page to be packed again.

  • Delete empty containers.

  • Reopen closed containers.

  • Reverse the manifest.

Set up containerization

Automated containerization creates containers and the picking work for shipments when a wave is processed. To set up containerization, you must first create container types, which define the physical characteristics of the containers. You can use container types to pack inventory items into specific types of packaging sizes, such as bins or pallets.

Then, you need to create container groups that have the same container type as its members. For example, a container group can include container types that have similar size dimensions.

A group specifies the sequence in which containers are packed and the fill percentage of each container.

You also need to create container build templates that define rules for containerization, for example, rules for mixing of inventory and other packing strategies. You must create one or more wave templates to create the picking work for containerization.

Container types that are used for manual packing cannot be used for containerization. If you're using both processes, you must set up one container type to be used for manual packing and another one for automated containerization.

Containerization process

When you release the sales order to the warehouse, based on the wave template setup, this step should create, process, and then release the wave.

The following diagram shows the query criteria.

Flow chart showing the containerization process.

Upon the processing of the wave, containerization runs the following steps:

  1. The container build template with a matching wave step code on the wave template is selected.

  2. The query criteria of the template are checked for the current allocation line. If criteria are met, the system starts processing the template to create containers for the allocation line.

  3. When the system checks the physical dimensions, such as length, width, and height of a single item, its highest unit is checked first against the maximum allowed values that are set on the container type.

  4. If length, width, and height meet the requirements, the system then checks the weight and volume of all items on the allocation line against the maximum allowed weight and volume of the container. The system also considers the container use percentage that is set on the container group.

  5. If the Allow split? option on the container build template is set to Yes, you can split the items into multiple containers.

  6. The system will keep trying to downsize into smaller containers that are defined in the container group. When a container type fails to downsize, it will stop trying to downsize any further. Therefore, the container types in the group should be ordered by size.

  7. If the query criteria are met, but the container build template fails to pack the allocation line (for example, due to the dimension not being met), the line will still be assigned to the container. However, the created container will have the Container has errors field enabled, indicating that the containerization process failed. You will also receive an error in the system.

  8. Continue the same process on the next allocation line until there are no more items to be packed.

Outbound sorting

Pallet building offers the ability to sort packed containers to pallet after being processed at the packing station and building a packing hierarchy. The pallets are then moved to a staging location with a work order that captures all packed containers. After the user has set the criteria for each destination pallet, all subsequent packed containers will be guided to the matching pallet. When the pallet is full the pallet position is closed and moved to a single unit.

In order to set up outbound sorting, the following must be defined:

  • An outbound sorting template in Warehouse management and accounting > Setup > Packing

  • A container packing policy in Containers > Container packing policy with a Default location for sorting selected.

    Screenshot of the Finance and Operations container packing policies page.

  • An Outbound sorting position assignment under Packing and containerization