Cubing: Transportation Transformation
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Every day, shipments leave suppliers on semi-truck trailers, bound for production facilities or distribution centers. But calculating how to fit the cargo on a trailer, and the best way to load it, isn’t something that can be performed on the fly by most shipping personnel.  A “full truckload” shipment might include a selection of several hundred SKUs in a variety of dimensions, and it’s hard to know how much product will fill a trailer – especially when the available trailer measurements can change. Some SKU mixes might use the space more efficiently than others. Less-than-optimal loads leave empty space on the truck, a luxury that shippers can’t afford.

It is crucial to accurately match an order to the available space on a trailer, when having to deal with diesel prices pushing up the cost of delivery, or customers who hate oversized orders being split.

When we at Wave Reaction determine the optimal method of building a trailer – known as cubing the trailer – there are four factors we take into consideration:


Practically, the height, length, width, and weight for each SKU a shipper might transport must be known so they can be referenced when making calculations. Some SKUs are even collapsible, able to be folded when empty to conserve space when in transit.


Just as each SKU’s measurements must be known, each kind of trailer used to move the shipment must be recorded. This might include semi-trailers, railcars, intermodal container, or and other equipment the shipper might use.


Some customers impose rules on shipments for their own convenience. For example, they may create a “relationship” between products, indicating certain products must always travel together. Perhaps pallets containing certain products must face a specified direction in relation to the trailer for safety reasons.


Many SKUs can be stacked on top of other SKUs, some multiple times. Stacking SKUs can make more efficient use of available vertical space.

Given these parameters, Wave Reaction can generate the instructions for properly cubing a trailer, allowing the shipper to make the best possible use of trailer space, cutting down on loading time and unnecessary labor, and ship fuller trailers more regularly.

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