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Placing your orders into your truck seems simple: there are 90 products of each 1m³, and the truck has 90m³, done! This looks beautiful in 3D graphs and it can even have the picture of your product on the object. However, what if these 90 products have to go to 30 different customers, and what if they’re not equal SKUs?

Suddenly it matters which products go in first and last. What if certain things are fragile and can’t bear the weight of other products on top or can’t be loaded on the same truck/pallet because it’s dangerous or will contaminate?  These are only the basic questions resolved by load optimization. This article discusses critical concepts for consumer packaged goods: The Load Optimizer and Perfect Shipment.

Back in the 80s, the first algorithms were mainly used to optimize the packages for production, answering questions like how many products fit in which combination and into what case. This being sorted then and becoming a standard process in product creation made it slowly die down. This process created the next revolution: how to put these cases on the pallet. However, very quickly it was seen that this is part of the same process, and production pallets became the norm. Now how to put these pallets into the truck or container and especially if you have customers that are requesting different SKUs and different locations?

To illustrate this argument, let’s look at three different scenarios: 30 stops in a bay truck, 5 stops in a refrigerated truck and a ‘normal’ Full Truck Load.

30 stops in a bay truck

A bay truck has various bays, one for each pallet and a door for each bay. You can load them warehouse-focused, where every bay has a pallet of one product type and layers starting with the one with the largest number of a single SKU at the bottom and the smallest number of a single SKU at the top. You can load it route-focused, so you have one pallet per customer, and the pallet of the customer is on the side of the truck that is closest to the side of the road of the customer’s address. Or you can load hybrid in 2 ways: half per product group, half per customer, or everything per product group but with the SKUs for the first delivery on top in every single bay, so the driver doesn’t have to offload one tonne of products to get to the lowest SKU on the pallet for his first delivery and then loading that one tonne back in.

5 stops in a refrigerated truck