Cross dock fuels growth at Dots
VIEW THE SLIDE SHOW and see how the combination of cross-docking and flow-through distribution fuels growth at the Ohio-based fashion retailer Dots
February 24, 2011
REAPING THE BENEFITS
This shift to automation has predictably increased Dots’ capacity by leaps and bounds, allowing the retailer to now easily support up to 700 stores within their current footprint. Volume throughput from the two unit sorters almost triples that of the previous put-to-light system (5,500 vs. 1,900 units/hour). The new shipping sorter now processes up to 80 cartons per minute (cpm), more than three times the old sorter that operated at 25 cpm.
Productivity increased 20 percent versus 2008 statistics with a 30 percent increase planned for 2011. The company also achieved a 20 percent reduction in labor costs. “For the past few years, suppliers have been forced to pick-pack for retailers at supposedly no cost,” notes Haskell. “Dots now has the flexibility to call on vendors that can’t or won’t do it, while keeping control on distribution costs and quality.”
With minimal storage requirements and only 70,000 of the 145,000 square feet of DC space in active use, there’s substantial room for expansion or special projects. “At some point, the ultimate plan is to position ourselves to go to e-commerce,” says Akey. For now the retailer continues to work on supply chain efficiencies to maximize their system.
What’s been critical to this project’s success? “Choosing the right integrator,” adds Akey. “One who is committed to you and who will provide you with great ideas and solutions.” Second, she says, is “planning and more planning; training and more training.”
Haskell agrees. “When you go automated and you tie the front door to the back door in six minutes, you better know how to run it.”
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