Cross-docking improves picking

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When Palletways needed to secondary-sort product for a major customer it turned to Axiom GB to develop a manual cross docking system that would improve order picking efficiency and secondary-level sorting.

The development was because the Palletways customer wanted to improve order picking efficiency by having containers of bulk-picked product delivered into Palletways’ site at Fradley where it would be sorted into final consignments. An automatic sorting facility would have been too restrictive, as well as too costly.

As a solution, Axiom developed a cost-effective manual cross docking system that met all the operating criteria and which can be easily expanded in the future to support other Palletways customers.

The system features a web-based user interface for control and configuration with a central Linux server which receives customer information via email regarding shipments of product which arrive at the site for loading and sorting into consignments. From the shipment data received, Palletways staff can print automatically the pallet labelling documentation, update tracking data and handle each consignment within the overnight distribution centre.

The shipment data is broken down into single items which are allocated to consolidation areas or floor spots, each of which is labelled with a barcode. Each item is scanned with a handheld scanner and the system sends the picker with the item to the correct floor spot, which itself is then scanned to bind the item to the consignment. Once the consignment is complete, shipping documentation is generated automatically and consignments are removed from floor spots for onward distribution.

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