Cross docking is a simple and common warehousing practice while being a crucial link in the logistics of any supply chain that handles a lot of freight. But there are some areas of the process where some companies don’t fully understand how they can be more efficient. Generally, there are four key areas where retailers should focus their improvement efforts
Advanced System Notification
ASN is the system that sends automatic updates to the retailer regarding when an order is shipped and how many of each item is being shipped, in addition to carrier details. To maintain efficiency, striving for 100% accuracy and supplier participation within this system is an important yet formidable task for many companies. Suppliers who maintain close relationships with their partners will be better able to work as a team, and this can improve confidence in using the system in addition to making it easier to identify system errors. There should also be a formal audit system in place allowing retailers to send timely ASN compliance reports to their suppliers.
Printed barcodes have many uses, but perhaps the most convenient is expediting the shipping and receiving process through the distribution center. Integrating a GS1-128 label system with the ASN allows for optimal supply chain performance, as it links every unit back to the purchase order. Adhering to global barcode standards will enable tighter system integration, cut costs, eliminate errors, protect investments, and optimize chain management. Contrary to popular belief, this system doesn’t solely benefit trading partners while adding costs to the chain organization. Rather, the supplier gains the benefits of timely deliveries and a streamlined payment process.
Material Handling Systems
An automated MHS is crucial for getting the retailer’s product in and out of the distribution center quickly and efficiently. This means using a conveyor belt and barcode scanners integrated with the ASN, rather than having workers perform the usual scanning process and then printing the routing label. Automated, label-free, conveyor-based receiving and sorting cuts down on the time required of the manual system. It additionally equates to less manual labor, lower costs, store-friendly delivery, and improved accuracy.
Warehouse Management System
An efficient WMS will ensure that goods passing through the distribution center do so in an expedient manner. This means the center should be equipped to handle automated shipping and receiving information before taking on a full-blown ASN plan. Likewise, high ASN accuracy and quality is essential for a practical streamlined WMS. This requires a focused effort on the retailer’s part to locate and understand any issues so that they can be corrected with minimal time and effort. As long as all of this is effectively coordinated, the WMS can automatically use info from the ASN the schedule appointments as well as the equipment and labor needed to process deliveries.