There is a strong tendency in our place that more and more flow through operations are seen at our territories particularly for slow moving, split case, small to minute goods. This means that vendors are required to deliver the exact quantity of goods to the D.C. of a retailer chain where goods will be immediately allocated to outlets on the loading dock or a delicated area and shipped without going through any storage activities.
This is particularly advantageous for small split case picking lines because no dedicated pick positions are needed and the operator could do a lot more lines with the same facility in theory.
The key to success is of course very much dependent on whether parties at the upper supply chain is willing to help to make it work.
By implementing this "small goods cross docking" concept the operator may also wanted to do bulk pick by lines for some of their stock keeping units and allocate instead of pick by order. Batch pick by lines and then allocate is therefore worth considering for the openwms. It is also a must for our area when warehouses are normally located in a multi-storey building and spreaded over many floors. Bulk pick by line and then allocate at one of the floors should be the best solution particularly when machine sortation could be used in the future.