Accumulation and sorting area
It might occur that the collection of products have to be regrouped or split after the orderpickingprocess such that they match with the orders. This is done in a so-called accumulation andsorting area.
In the shipping area, the orders are loaded into trucks, such that they can be delivered tocustomers.
By introducing cross-docking the two most expensive processes in warehouses, storage andorderpicking of goods, can be eliminated. Cross-docking is defined as follows: transportinggoods from the receiving area to the shipping area with as little time as possible inbetween, andwithout storage.When an incoming truck arrives at a cross-docking centre, it is assigned to an open door or it issent to a queue. Workers unload the truck and deliver the incoming products to the stack door designated to receive these specific loads. The unloading continues until the truck is empty. Thetruck is driven away and a new truck arrives to be unloaded. At the doors designated for leavingtrucks, outgoing products are stored temporarily or loaded directly into the truck. Temporarystorage occurs if the centre is too busy or if the specific truck is not there. The following figuregives an illustration of a possible layout of a cross-docking centre.
Design of warehouses
Facility design planning concerns the decision making needed to establish a facility for efficienthandling of incoming and outgoing products. The first decision to take is whether a warehouseis needed at all. In some cases, it may be possible to ship products directly from the producer tothe customer. However, as noted in the beginning of this chapter, many reasons exist why awarehouse may be useful in the logistics network. If a warehouse is needed, then a choice hasto be made between contract warehousing (i.e. a third party takes care of the warehousing) or warehousing by the company itself. Next, the number and location(s) of the warehouses have tobe determined. The decisions noted here could be made sequentially, but can also be treatedas joint decisions. After deciding that a warehouse is to be built at a certain location, its size, shape and contentsneed to be established. Regarding practical implementations it is often the case that variousaspects of the design are executed in a fixed sequence. Typically, one may first decide on thestorage requirements and layout, then determine the storage systems and handling equipmentand finally give thought to the operating policies and information flows. However, for a gooddesign it is necessary to consider all aspects of the design in relation to each other. Thisreasoning is important because, for example, the equipment choice influences the floor spaceneeded. When determining a layout without considering the operating policies, one may atsome point find out that it is impossible to achieve the proposed performance with any existingoperating policy, because the layout is inadequate. It may not be necessary to specify operatingpolicies in full detail at an early point in time, but they have to be accounted for. Without passingover the interaction between the various components of design, we discuss the aspects of sizing, system selection and layout separately.