The history of subsizes

The history behind subsizes

Back in the early days of MaxCut we had no concept of “subsize”, each sheet material had just a supplied length and width.

At the time we were working with a cut-n-edge company to see if the program was useful for them. A need they had was that they would sell boards in full, half or quarter sheets.

How it worked was when you ordered panels from them, sometimes on the last sheet the panels didn’t take up the full sheet. In these cases they would only charge the customer a half or quarter sheet of the last sheet (depending on how much of the last sheet was used). They wanted some way to cater for this which is where subsizes emerged.

We added the ability to set subsize for each sheet. This allowed you to specify what portions of the last sheet you could supply. To set it up you would enter your supplied dimensions and then the subsizes which was just a length and a width (there was no concept of quantity).

For example, if your supplied sheet size was 2750 x 1830 and you sold the last sheet in half and quarter sheets you would have two subsizes of 2750 x 1375 and 2750 x 688

The subsize solution worked well for them.

An unexpected use

Later on, we had users who came to us and wanted to solve a different problem. Their scenario was they have offcuts from a job in a certain material that they would like to use before buying new material. They wanted some way of inputting their left over material sizes and for MaxCut to use these before using a new sheet.

This sounded very similar to the subsizes problem, the only difference was they had a limited quantity of the stock material. Instead of adding a new section to handle stock, we simply added a quantity field to subsizes.

Let’s say you had you had a 2750 x 1830 sheet with five 1000x1000 stock pieces. The idea was you would add 1000x1000 subsizes and set the quantity to five. This sounded like it would work and in many ways it does.

Where this falls down

While this approach kind of works for stock, there are two big draw backs we are aware of.

First off, it's not clear if MaxCut will use the subsizes first or the main supplied sheet. When MaxCut decides to use whatever size it looks for the least wastage. If it can figure out that it can fit things better on a supplied sheet instead of a stock sheet it will do this (even though you may want it to use the stock you already have bought and paid for first).

Secondly, it mixes the concept of stock with sub sizes which means you can't do stock and subsizes together. You either have to pick one or the other.

Going forward

Where do we go forward with this. We realise that users have a need for stock pieces. We also realise that while subsizes may work in some instances, it’s not a perfect solution.

To build the stock pieces management part is a significant amount of work and so we need to be sure there is enough commercial value in doing it to warrant the work.

The alternative is we add a setting that says prioritise subsizes over full sheet sizes. That may work for some of the situations but feels clunky.

We would love to hear from you if you use subsizes and for what scenarios you use them for.



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