ShipBob has launched a new Box Selection algorithm, which is designed to choose the appropriate sized packaging for any order combination.
What is an algorithm?
An algorithm is a series of rules or predictions driven by statistics or mathematical formulas. The goal is to solve a complex problem.
What does this box selection algorithm do?
Our new algorithm attempts to predict what size packaging should be used for any product * quantity combination that a given order can contain.
How Does it work?
To function, the algorithm needs 2 inputs:
- Product packaging details: this tells us what type of packaging we should use. You can learn more about how to update these details here.
- Dimensions and weights of the products in the order: this helps us calculate what size packaging we should use. This is automatically done to your products using our new Cubiscan machines.
These inputs go into the algorithm, which then creates an output: a “prediction” what size and type of packaging should be used out of our Standard Packaging Options.
Some rules are built into the algorithm - for example, orders containing Fragile products will always go out in boxes with protective dunnage, even if the rest of the products have a packaging preference of poly mailers.
Importantly, “box” is the default priority for packaging type - so if you don’t specify what you want for a given product, or if any product within an order has a preference for boxes, your entire order will go out in a box.
2 x Product A (a serving platter)
1 x Product B (a tablecloth)
Product A Details:
- Packaging Preference: Fragile Box
- Attributes: Stackable
- Dims: 8.5 x 6 x 4.1in
- Weight: 5.1lbs
Product B Details:
- Packaging Preference: Poly Mailer
- Attributes: Foldable
- Dims: 10x1x10
- Weight: 1.2lbs
Input 1: Because Product A needs to be in a box (it’s Fragile), the whole order will be in a box.
Input 2: Because the 2 units of Product A are stackable, and Product B can fold on top of it, the total order dimensions should be: 8.5 x 6 x 4.5in
Output: The algorithm would tell us to select a 9 x 7 x 5 box, which is the smallest available given the total order dimensions.
What if I am using custom boxes?
At this time, we are not able to support custom boxes with the algorithm. So if you have custom boxes attached to your ShipBob account using an order rule (e.g. “For every order add 1 custom box”), this rule will supersede the algorithm and your order will process as it has historically.
What happens when the algorithm fails?
If a given order for some reason doesn’t fit into the recommended packaging, our packaging associates will choose the closest available size and type.