DHL Optimizes Packaging for e-Commerce Warehouses

February 23, 2021
DHL Optimizes Packaging for e-Commerce Warehouses

DHL has developed a set of algorithms that determine the best fitting box for each order, which ultimately arrives at the boxing strategy that minimizes shipping costs.

DHL found an expected cost savings of 5%– 7% on annual shipping costs, when the system was tested in  e-commerce warehouses across three different industries in October 2020.


Video Spotlight: 


This post is based on the Supply Chain Dive article, How DHL optimized packaging at warehouses to cut shipping costs, by Matt Leonard, January 12, 2021, and the YouTube videos in the Spotlight. Source: B4LLS/Getty Images

Discussion Questions:

1.  What other benefits, aside from shipping cost savings, will DHL’s carton optimization system provide?

Guidance: Potential topics are “green” sustainability contributions by avoiding excess packaging, and because of optimizing carton sizes, potentially less warehouse space being used to store prepared shipments.

2.  Ask students to explore packaging options on the web.  Discuss the many and varied choices for packaging based on the industry.

Guidance: The vast majority of students may not have considered industrial packaging decisions.  Ask students to search for food packaging options.  This should get several search results quickly.  How does the type of food impact packaging decisions?   This should lead to a discussion of how packaging choices impact warehouse design, shipping options, consumers, etc.  The goal is to introduce students to materials packaging.

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