Cross docking is not the action a priest takes at the end of the night to ensure that their cross is safely set in its holder. Nope. Cross docking is another technical warehouse term for “this goes here, that goes there, and so on and so on.” We are going to look at what Cross docking is and how Dynamics 365 can help an organization use this feature.
What is Cross docking? In general, Cross docking is a process in which products can bypass put actions in favor of an alternate warehouse location that is ready for a final action. This can be exhibited in supply chains in many ways including, assemblies sent to manufacturing plants, retail distribution, and many others.
Cross docking is not exclusive to D365, but D365 does have a specific feature to define the system use. This feature titled, ‘Planned cross docking,’ does have to be enabled and this may require system support from an administrator. The activation is located in Modules> System management> Workspaces> Feature management. Once it is enabled, it cannot be turned off. It will also require one more utility action in Modules> Warehouse management> Setup> Load posting methods. On the Action Pane, click Regenerate methods. Voila, the cross docking method will be active and in the list.
Enabling the Planned cross dock feature unwraps the Cross docking templates and they can be accessed from Modules> Warehouse management> Setup> Work> Cross docking templates. Create a new template and step back to take in the possibilities. There are several fields to consider, here are some of the options that are more important:
- Sequence – This will determine the order in which the templates are evaluated
- Warehouse – determines the warehouse for which the template is used
- Demand requirements – This will determine the demand inventory action
- Location type – How will the work be directed
- Validate time window – Allows the system to manage the supply arrival and demand departure
- Expiration days range – Deals with First expiry first out (FEFO) philosophy
There are several other setups required or available to consider and assist in cross docking efforts: Work class, Work templates, Location directives, and Mobile device menu items. These will help refine the desired outcome of the Cross dock operation.
In the illustration below, a delivery is made to a distribution center and using cross docking philosophy, all or part of the delivered goods will be moved directly to a staging area for retail distribution. They can remain there while other independent goods also arrive and are added to the retail distribution staging area. In this case, the company will save on human interaction in the warehouse and transportation costs to the retail location. Any goods not sent to staging due to marked demand, will follow normal work template and location directives for put away in the warehouse.
Another example of cross docking could be a situation in which a manufacturer is creating work to assemble a component of a larger finished good. If there is a production order for a finished product, like ear buds, perhaps the manufacturer will need to assemble the earpieces separately to make the finished good set. In this example, the manufacturer will create a production order for 100 left earpieces and 100 right earpieces.
Once the earpieces are complete, they can be “cross-docked” to a location to be joined with the remaining component, the wires, to assemble the finished good to fulfill the ear buds production order.
Let’s assume that the quantity for the production order for the finished good, ear buds is 50; requiring 50 right and 50 left earpieces. The remaining earpieces assembled will be moved to a regular storage location and will follow the normal location directives.
If used effectively, cross docking can be helpful with transport efficiency, inventory reduction, space savings, and efficiency in product movement. It can also be useful for organizations heavily involved in made to order products that can move right to outbound docks. Hopefully we have shown that cross docking is not hard to set-up and can provide an alternate level of pick/put operation to aid an organization in its warehousing efficiency.