Cartonization and Carton Level Details

Cartonization and Carton Level Details

Carton level details provide the details associated with the shipping carton that contains various items. When picking an order into a carton, a tote, or container these containers will have a license plate identifier, a unique identifier. When the order is picked and it’s in multiple cartons, the carton level details for each carton will be known by SKU, product number, and count. Details for lot number, expiration date and more may also be tracked.

For example, on an order for 12 items, 5 are placed in one carton, 5 in another, and 2 in the third carton. Carton level details track the detail for each carton, what quantity, lot numbers, expiration dates, etc. This can be a fundamental warehouse system requirement if the customer base requires that type of information.





Uses for Cartonization and Carton Level Details

This is common in retail and e-commerce distribution or any industry that is using pick, pack, and ship. Particularly in retail, distributing to retailers, there can be rather significant contractual fines from major retailers for inaccuracies and not providing carton level details.

A distribution center or the retailer wants to be able to scan the license plate identifier and have everything that’s in that container to be 100% accurate based on what you’ve sent to them.

Carton level detail is necessary to support modern outbound ASNs and its associated EDI. ASN stands for advance ship notice and that’s the ability of the system to ship, to identify by a license plate identifier and shipment identifier, exactly what is being shipped. The details supplied are carton level details. EDI stands for electronic data interchange is just a mechanism of passing and communicating the ASN data.


Cartonization is the process determining the carton and/or carton sizes required to pick and place orders during or prior to the order pick process. The cartonization process calculates the size of the items being picked for the order and determines the number and size of the containers based on spatial volume. 

Automating this process generates increased productivity and throughput. It also forms the basis to begin to track carton level details to the particular carton for the order.

Many ERP systems don’t support automated cartonization and the automated capture of carton level details. So they end up imposing additional labor on the operators to capture that information as part of a post pick process or pre ship process which slows the process down and can introduce errors. Ideally, cartonization is captured automatically during the picking process and the repack process.

Ideally, as the product is picked, the WES or WCS supports license plate identifiers and its tracking, then as the operator is picking into a carton with those license plate identifiers, carton details are automatically being captured exactly during the picking process.

Many warehouses use a repack process. The repack process removes an item that has been picked out of a carton or totes and moved into a different shipment identifier. Ideally, items that have been repacked are automatically tracked prior to shipment. Upon time of shipment, the distribution center will know exactly what’s in that cart without forcing or requiring the operator to go through and manually verify or manually build up what is in each carton. ERP and some WMS systems have difficulty with the repack process. Intek and Minerva WMS, WES, and WCS solutions allow for automatic cartonization with a variety of automated systems and delivers the carton details as required.

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