Modern dimensioning systems can readily determine the size of the individual items that are to be shipped. Given the dimensions of the items to be shipped, FastFetch’s solution uses clever AI techniques—much like game-playing algorithms that can determine a good move in checkers or chess—to explore possible item placements and orientations and arrive at an optimal-sized shipping carton. FastFetch’s algorithm for determining the optimal shipping carton executes in less than a second for most practical applications.
FastFetch’s solution is a complete solution encompassing carton storage, carton selection, and replenishment of consumed cartons. FastFetch analyzes historical order records to identify an assortment of cartons—perhaps 40 or more—that will accommodate the entire set of past orders with minimal wasted space. Multiple units of each of the assorted carton sizes are then maintained in carton racks positioned at packing stations. The system uses item dimensions to quickly determine which of the assortment of cartons is optimal for packing a collection of items with minimal wasted space. The system then identifies the optimal carton by illuminating a strip of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) so the packer can quickly access the optimal carton as soon as it is needed. Consumed cartons are replenished on the carton rack using voice and light-directed technologies on a delivery cart. Finally, orders are sent to a carton supplier on a frequent basis to replenish cartons that have been consumed.