God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, And the wisdom to know the difference. (Serenity Prayer, Reinhold Niebuhr)


Packaging is the science, art and technology of enclosing or protecting products for distribution, storage, sale, and use. Packaging also refers to the process of designing, evaluating, and producing packages. Packaging can be described as a coordinated system of preparing goods for transport, warehousing, logistics, sale, and end use. Packaging contains, protects, preserves, transports, informs, and sells (Wikipedia).

Containers used to group individual products are called master cartons. A master carton is a shipping carton which contains multiple, smaller, inner packs of the same item. Amaster carton cannot contain more than one type of Stock Keeping Unit. When master cartons are grouped into larger units for handling this is called containerization or unitization.

The weight, cube and damage potential of the master carton determines transportation and material handling requirements. Firms usually have master cartons of different sizes. The best situation is when the different sizes are equal fractions of the sizes so that multiple smaller master cartons are the same size as a larger carton.

Master cartons that meet retail requirements for shelf space are preferred. The four most common causes of product damage are vibration, impact, puncture and compression.

Packaging for Materials Handling Efficiency

To cube out a truck means that the products fill a truck before the weight limits are reached. To weigh out a truck means that the products achieve the weight capacity of a truck before the space is filled. The optimum is that the truck reaches volume capacity and weight capacity together, which is rarely possible.


All types of unitization have the basic objective of increasing handling and transportation efficiency. Unit loads: minimize unloading time (typically one-fifth), facilitiates material handling, receipts are bar coded, rapid positioning of inventory, and reduces in-transit damage.

Types of Unitization


Typical unit/container information includes manufacturer, product, container type, count and Universal Product Code (UPC), Electronic Product Code (EPC). Package information is usually provided via bar code or Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technologies.