SORTING SOLUTIONS FOR CROSS-DOCKING
MAXIMIZE YOUR EFFICIENCY
While pursuit of a leaner, more efficient supply chain is a natural driver for most manufacturers, the path they take to get there is constantly evolving. Increasing pressure to quickly fulfill product orders across complex networks has led to a rise in the use of cross-docking. When products are being unloaded from a truck or railroad car, sorted, and directly reloaded onto outbound trucks or rail cars how are you controlling that sorting process efficiently?
SAVING TIME AND MONEY STARTS HERE
One benefit of cross-docking is to have products going to the same destination another is to take large shipments which can then be easily broken down into smaller groups for easier delivery.
The ability to automate how packages are sorted in cross-docking is an important one. By using the right automation in your sorting processes, you can reduce costs, eliminate the movement of product in and out of storage, decrease order fulfillment time, and improve on-time order delivery rates.
A QUICK GUIDE FOR DETERMINING A NEED FOR CROSS-DOCKING
There is a break-even point at which cross-docking starts makes commercial sense. The break-even point will be different for each client, but the inputs that go into the break-even calculation are fairly standard.
- Total number of unique SKUs
- Total volume and velocity of each SKU
- Total number of inbound suppliers
- Total number of outbound destinations
- Profiles and patterns relating inbound and outbound
- Distribution of high velocity SKUs vs low velocity SKUs
- Availability of supporting information systems
- Access to low-cost transportation network
- Facility costs
- Labor costs
- Handling profile of SKUs (geometry, fragile, high value, etc.)
Factoring all these inputs into the equation to arrive at a “cost per unit sorted” will inform the decision between whether you need to invest in building an in-house cross-docking operation, explore opportunities with third party partners who offer cross-docking capabilities or maintain status quo.
IMPROVE DELIVERY TIMES AND CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE WITH AUTOMATION
In addition to traditional cross-docking practices such as transporting inbound inventory to multiple fulfillment centers, OPEX’s Sure Sort® robotic sorting system can also be used for store fulfillment, in the back of a store. With the shift in buying behavior, retailers will continue to utilize their existing brick and mortar footprint to help meet the demand of online and/or contactless pick-up orders. When products arrive to a store location items often need to be resorted and touched multiple times before they find their place on a shelf ready to be sold. The Sure Sort sortation system can sort inbound items down to the retail store level and even to a specific aisle location within that store. By automating this process, workers have a faster and easier method to unload product coming in and get products to the aisle and on a shelf. Product restocking can be done in half the time which maximizes in-store employee productivity and enhances overall customer experience.