Cross-docking Automation Paves Way for a Concise Supply Chain

The increasing popularity of Just-In-Time (JIT) methods and high-quality information flow has applied increased pressure on supply chain management performance. Better throughput, more product lines, and value-added services are now expected to alleviate the uncertainty in demand. Subsequently, the objective is to synchronize the manufacturer and the customer for a flow-through operation that minimizes the costs and risks of warehousing.

WayCool, India’s largest agri-commerce company, is transforming the country’s food economy through this very same supply chain proposition. We identified and implemented Cross Docking automation to eliminate storage and corresponding handling costs in less-than-truckload and full-truckload shipments.

This has helped us significantly reduce the dispatch time while accentuating the transfer efficiency between the terminals.

The business challenge

Our Chromepet Distribution Centre (DC) required manual unloading and customer or dispatch-wise segregation of all materials on the dock. A stringent manual inspection followed this, adding to the operation time and sub-optimal inbound and outbound documentation assignment. With an expansive range of crates, bags, and carton boxes, load consolidation was getting increasingly cumbersome considering the rising number of daily shipments. The excessive need for manual inspection at every touchpoint meant a long supply chain for us, thus calling for the need to find alternative methodologies.

The solution

In line with the Cross Docking automation objectives, we applied a standard distribution practice via conveyor belts that segregate the crates zone-wise within the route itself. The crates are then automatically placed in the outbound delivery vehicles by customer-wise dispatch sorting.

Project highlights

  1. Installation of a weighing scale that accurately verifies the crate, bag, and box integrity at the inward and outward terminals
  2. Mechanization to ensure the complete elimination of manual checking
  3. Installation of barcode readers that automatically scan each package to add the element of traceability along the complete chain
  4. Display guide towards dispatch maintains the flow of information within the DC and ensures that crates are stacked in trucks in the sequence of delivery.

Results

  1. End-to-end traceability

Customers’ crate details with the appropriate weight are auto-populated in the system, thus reducing the information parity experienced earlier.

  1. Elimination of DC-level manual checks and reduced labour

The makespan and distance travelled between the receiving and shipping doors are reduced as a key performance indicator by taking out the labor-intensive element in the process.

  1. Efficient last-mile distribution

The technology used in Cross Docking ensures that delivery crates are stacked in line with the delivery plan, thus ensuring that the dwell time at each delivery point is considerably reduced.

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