Live Pricing - Packing Rules

Live Pricing - Packing Rules

In the below video we cover the packing rules available in live pricing integrations in depth, and cover the pros cons and features of the available methods.

Underneath the video, the data has been summarised should you wish to read instead.



  1. 1:50 - 20:25 - Packing Rules
    1. 4:10 - 7:45 - Method 1: Items are not packed
    2. 7:45 - 13:00 - Method 2: Items are packed based on weight breaks
    3. 13:00 - 18:10 - Addition Options for Method 2
    4. 18:10 - 20:25 - Packing Rule FAQs

Packing Rules Overview

When a customer places an order from a business, the items the customer has purchased are typically picked and packed into satchels, cartons or other vessels by a packer in the warehouse before being dispatched with a carrier.

The size, weight, quantity of these final shipped items the order is packed into determine the cost charged by the carrier for the transport movement.

If you are wanting to generate live pricing on your website checkout to recoup the costs of sending this order to the customer then rules need to be implemented that will simulate how your warehouse team will pack the items in the customers cart for this quoted price to be accurate.

This process is simulating how your warehouse pickers/packers would pack these goods we refer to as "packing rules" and "boxing rules" as they are the rules used to determined how the items are grouped into packages when the quote is run.

This guide explains the common methods that we have available for packing, and the pros and cons of each method.

Method 1: Products Are Not Repackaged Together

With this method, we do not attempt to box the items in the users cart at all - instead, each items is treated as a separate line on the consignment - as if the items are picked off the shelf in a box and the label attached. For this method to work, we must have the weights, dimensions and carton types of all products either in the website platform, or loaded into MachShip.

Currently, only 
WooCommerce & Magento 2 have the ability to capture and store these box details - other platforms that want to do live pricing need to load their weights and dimensions into MachShip via flat file excel or CSV.

Product Weights & Dimensions
Here are the weights and dimensions of these example products - these would be uploaded to Machship for most systems:

Item SKU
Length Width Height Weight Item Type Qty
RED-SHIRT 20 20 3 0.2kg Satchel 1
BARBELL-5KG 20 15 15 5kg Carton 1
ROTARY-PHONE 30 30 30 10kg Carton 1
TABLE 200 150 100 29kg Carton 1
CHAIR 150 100 120 50kg Skid 1
CABINET 300 200 150 150kg Pallet 1

Here is an example of what would be quoted on the consignment for two example orders:

Sample Order 1- Using Method 1

Example order 1 is as follows:
Product SKU
Qty Weight (EACH)
RED-SHIRT 2 0.2kg
BARBELL-5KG 1 5kg
ROTARY-PHONE 1 10kg

The output for this order using this method is:

Item SKU
Length Width Height Weight Item Type Qty
RED-SHIRT 20 20 3 0.2kg Satchel 2
BARBELL-5KG 20 15 15 5kg Carton 1
ROTARY-PHONE 30 30 30 10kg Carton 1

Note, each product is simply applied as is, with the related packages. Nothing is combined.

Sample Order 2- Using Method 1

Example order 2 is as follows:

Product SKU Qty Weight (EACH)
TABLE 1 29kg
CHAIR 3 50kg
CABINET 1 150kg

The output for this order using this method is:

Item SKU Length Width Height Weight Item Type Qty
TABLE 200 150 100 29kg Carton 1
CHAIR 150 100 120 50kg Skid 3
CABINET 300 200 150 150kg Pallet 1

 Note the products are left as is, just the weights and dimensions are added.

The businesses method one works best for are:
  • Sellers of heavy items - if you're selling heavy things, your freight is charged based on weight rather than volume, so it doesn't matter if the final dimensions are correct, only the total weight
  • 3PLs - If you're pulling goods off the shelf and don't re-package them into smaller cartons.
  • Low Qty Sellers - If customers tend to buy 1 or 2 items, rather than larger qtys, then the volume difference between the quoted boxes and the final cartons, if the items were to be consolidated, will be limited, so the quote is more accurate.
  • Pros:
    • Easy to setup
    • Good for heavy items
  • Cons
    • Must maintain box data for every single product
    • Freight charged to the customer may be higher than what you are, but rarely lower
       

Method 2: Pack Products Into Packages Using Weight Breaks

With this method, we bundle the items in the customers cart into the smallest possible container based on the total weight of the order items.

Here is an example of weight breaks that we may setup:
 
Item SKU
Length Width Height Weight Limit Item Type Qty
SATCH 20 30 10 1kg Satchel 1
CARTON-SM 30 30 30 5kg Carton 1
CARTON-MD 40 40 40 10kg Carton 1
CARTON-LG 50 50 50 20kg Carton 1
SKID-A 75 75 75 150kg Skid 1
PALLET-A 100 100 120 375kg Pallet 1
PALLET-B 100 100 180 600kg Pallet 1

Now based on the above, we select the smallest possible package, based on the weight limit provided, that is greater than the total of the item weights in the cart.

Sample Order 1 - Using Method 2
Example order one is as follows:
Product SKU
Qty Weight (EACH)
RED-SHIRT 2 0.2kg
BARBELL-5KG 1 5kg
ROTARY-PHONE 1 10kg

The total of the items on Sample Order 1 is 15.4kg (noting there are 2 x RED-SHIRT).
 
The output packages for this order using this method is:
Item SKU
Length Width Height Weight Item Type Qty
CARTON-LG 50 50 50 15.4kg Carton 1

This is the smallest carton that is above the total order weight of 15.4kg.

This is likely a better method for grouping this type of order than method 1, because a number of smaller items like this would be combined into one carton.

Sample Order 2 - Using Method 2

Example order two is as follows:

Product SKU Qty Weight (EACH)
TABLE 1 29kg
CHAIR 3 50kg
CABINET 1 150kg

Total order weight is 329kg - (noting there are 3 x Chairs)
 
The output packages for this order using this method is:

Item SKU Length Width Height Weight Item Type Qty
PALLET-A 100 100 120 329kg Pallet 1

In this outcome, you will note that the final pallet probably isn't suitable for pricing this type of order.

The furniture items were very large, and likely would be shipped separately, method 1 is likely to be a more suitable option/setup here.
 
Handling Overweight Items & Orders
  • For Overweight Items: When a single items' weight exceeds the biggest containers weight limit, we place that item by itself inside that biggest container. The remaining items that are below the biggest weight threshold are packed together.
    • Note - this behaviour can be modified by using the "Do not pack items greater than the biggest break" option, discussed below. In that instance, rather than using the biggest box specified, the item is packed into it's own pre-specified container.
For example, lets say you had these as you boxes and limits:
Item SKU
Length Width Height Weight Limit Item Type Qty
SATCH 20 30 10 1kg Satchel 1
CARTON-SM 30 30 30 7kg Carton 1

And you had the following items in Machship:
Item SKU
Length Width Height Weight Item Type Qty
RED-SHIRT 20 20 3 0.2kg Satchel 1
BARBELL-5KG 20 15 15 5kg Carton 1
ROTARY-PHONE 30 30 30 10kg Carton 1

If an order was placed for the following items:
Product SKU
Qty Weight (EACH)
RED-SHIRT 2 0.2kg
BARBELL-5KG 1 5kg
ROTARY-PHONE 1 10kg

The resulting quoted items would be:
Item SKU
Length Width Height Weight Item Type Qty
CARTON-SM 30 30 30 10kg Carton 1
CARTON-SM 30 30 30 5.4kg Carton 1

  • For Overweight Orders: When an orders' total weight exceeds the biggest specified containers weight limit, we add the largest container at its' full weight limit and then go through the list again, from smallest to largest, looking for a container that will fit the remaining weight of that order.
With the above example, if we were to amend the order to:
Product SKU
Qty Weight (EACH)
RED-SHIRT 2 0.2kg
BARBELL-5KG 2 5kg
ROTARY-PHONE 1 10kg

The resulting quoted items would be:
Item SKU
Length Width Height Weight Item Type Qty
CARTON-SM 30 30 30 10kg Carton 1
CARTON-SM 30 30 30 5kg Carton 1
CARTON-SM
30
30
30
5.4kg
Carton
1

The second carton is added to hold a barbell, and since the next barbell would make the box exceed the 7kg weight limit, it starts a new box. It doesn't do this on the first box with the rotary phone, because a single item can't be broken into multiple cartons, but multiple items can.
  • Overweight Orders WITH Overweight Items: The rule around extracting overweight items to put in their own container occurs before we attempt to find a suitable container for the order items. Put another way, before we try and container the order, the items that exceed the largest weight limit container are extracted. This is shown in the above example.

Optional Method 2 Settings

Inside method 2, we have additional options that can be used in order to improve the accuracy and usefulness of this method if you ship a combination of smaller and larger items.

Option 1: Do not pack items greater than the biggest break
For this method, if an item exceeds the biggest box you specify, it would work like method one and just append the SKU itself as its own line inside the shipping quote.

Let's use this new example order 3:
Product SKU Qty Weight (EACH)
BARBELL-5KG 1 5kg
ROTARY-PHONE 1 10kg
CHAIR 1 50kg
And, let's say these are the weight breaks we have setup:

Item SKU Length Width Height Weight Limit Item Type Qty
SATCH 20 30 10 1kg Satchel 1
CARTON-SM 30 30 30 5kg Carton 1
CARTON-MD 40 40 40 10kg Carton 1
CARTON-LG 50 50 50 20kg Carton 1
Machship Items Catalogue:

Item SKU Length Width Height Weight Item Type Qty
CHAIR 150 100 120 50kg Skid 1

Based on this, the first two items (BARBELL-5KG and ROTARY-PHONE) would be combined into one box, while the CHAIR will be put in it's own pre-defined carton, as its weight (50kg) is greater than the biggest cartons' weight limit.

This outcome for quoting this would be:

Item SKU Length Width Height Weight Item Type Qty
CARTON-LG 50 50 50 15kg Carton 1
CHAIR 150 100 120 50kg Skid 1

As you can see, this is probably a reasonably accurate way to quote this order and it's a very useful method for clients that sell a combination of smaller items that would be packaged, and larger items that would be shipped as is.

Option 2: Do not package specifically listed items

This option is similar to the above, but instead of relying on an item being larger than the biggest box, you can simply provide us with a list of SKUs that should not be boxed up.
Examples may be larger, lighter items - or longer items.
These items would simply use the dimension from the Machship product catalogue rather than being boxed.

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