SAP EWM Cross-Docking is the process to transfer material directly from the Goods Receipt Staging area after unloading from the trailer to the Goods Issue Staging area for loading into the trailer for outbound shipment. SAP EWM Cross-Docking reduces the shipment time and thus increases the operational efficiency of the process. This is more useful in heavily complex logistics processes in the supply chain where the shipment must be delivered to the customer in a short time. Cross-Docking is also useful for perishable products with a short shelf life, as it eliminates the need for product storage in a warehouse and thus reduces the possibility of shelf life expiry.
Types of Cross-Docking in SAP EWM
The Cross-Docking can either be planned before the stock is received in the warehouse or can be decided once the goods have entered the warehouse. These two behaviors are called Planned and Opportunistic Cross-Docking respectively.
The below flow diagram illustrates the Cross Docking supported in SAP EWM in SAP S/4HANA.
Merchandise Distribution Cross-Docking
In this Cross-Docking type, we can plan the flow of goods from a supplier to a customer through the warehouse well before the unloading stage. It supports a flow through method where the goods unloaded in the GR staging area need to go through the cross-dock packing work center before moving into the GI staging area. The need for a packing workstation could be because the Goods/Handling Unit needs to repack as per customer requirement before shipment. The Cross-Docking relevance is determined before the goods arrive. This is set up at the Warehouse/WPT level. The two ways of doing so are described below:
- Recipient-driven flow through – Here the pick HU is created for each customer and the picker puts the customer ordered products in the pick HU, packs the same in the packing station and then takes it to the goods issue staging area for loading into the truck for customer shipment.
- Product-driven flow through – The inbound HUs go through the deconsolidation process where the products are deconsolidated in the Decon workstation and then filled in the pick HUs as per customer requirement. The Pick HUs are then picked, packed and taken to the goods issue staging area.
Process Steps in Planned Cross-Docking
- Cross-docking relevance is determined by the Warehouse and warehouse process type configurations.
- Inbound delivery is received in the GR staging area and the pallets are moved into the deconsolidation Cross-Docking workstation. The pallets are Cross-Docking relevant pallets.
- Deconsolidation is done to create and fill the pick HUs.
- From the deconsolidation station, the customer-specific pick HUs are moved to the outbound GI staging area.
- Once picking is done using a HU warehouse task, SAP EWM updates the corresponding inbound delivery and the outbound delivery order simultaneously.
EWM-triggered Opportunistic Cross-Docking
In this Cross-Docking, the relevance is determined only after the goods are received or picking warehouse tasks are created. SAP EWM Opportunistic Cross-Docking method is widely used as it has no dependency on ERP or any other applications. It is controlled entirely by products in EWM, wherein we can activate the SAP EWM Opportunistic Cross-Docking simply by enabling product group and product group types and maintaining the same in EWM Product Master. This means that after the inbound or outbound delivery is entered in EWM, the product determines whether this is relevant for cross docking or not.
Process Steps in EWM-triggered Cross-Docking in Inbound Process
SAP EWM checks whether the inbound delivery is relevant for Cross-Docking and if this inbound delivery meets the requirement of any outbound order in terms of product, batch, and quantity. If this meets a requirement, then the stock is moved from the GR staging area to the GI staging area. Following are the process steps:
- Inbound delivery is distributed in SAP EWM.
- Goods Receipt is posted.
- Warehouse tasks are generated for Putaway and at the same time, SAP EWM checks if any item in an existing outbound delivery meets the requirement in terms of product, quantity, and batch.
- If yes, then EWM assigns the putaway stock to outbound pick warehouse tasks and moves the required stock to the GI staging area. If the putaway stock is more than required, the remaining stock will be put away in the warehouse bin.
- If no, then EWM continues with the regular putaway process to move the stock to the warehouse bin.
- Picking and Putaway warehouse tasks are confirmed.
- Inbound delivery and Outbound delivery order in EWM are updated.
Process Steps in EWM-triggered Cross Docking in Outbound Process
When the warehouse tasks are created for picking, SAP EWM checks if the products in the outbound delivery order are relevant for Cross-Docking. If the relevance is determined, then SAP EWM checks whether any suitable stock exists in the goods receipt staging area in terms of material, batch and quantity. If so, that stock is directly moved from goods receipt to goods issue area. Following are the process steps:
- Outbound delivery order is generated in EWM.
- Picking warehouse tasks are created. Simultaneously, SAP EWM checks if any item in the goods receipt area meets the requirement in terms of product, quantity, and batch.
- If yes, then EWM assigns the putaway stock to outbound pick warehouse tasks and moves the required stock to the GI staging area. If the required stock is more than whatever is available in the GR zone, the remaining stock will be picked from the warehouse bin.
- If no, then EWM continues with the regular picking process to pick stock from the warehouse bin.
- Picking warehouse tasks are confirmed.
- Outbound delivery order and Inbound delivery in SAP EWM are updated.
Advantages of Cross-Docking in EWM
The Cross-Docking process in a supply chain has these advantages:
- Reduces the operational cost as there is no need for storage in a warehouse.
- Significantly lowers delivery time as goods are loaded and shipped immediately. This leads to faster customer delivery and higher customer satisfaction.
- Substantially reduces material handling activities as picking, packing and putaway are not required. This results in the reduction of labor and additional activity costs.
- Decreases inventory handling/damages risk due to a reduction in several warehouse activities.
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