Research Projects

Optimised Cross-docking Planning and Dynamic Scheduling for Retail Supply Chain

Operational performance in retail cross-docking greatly depends on good planning and dynamic scheduling. There is currently a shortage of planning policies for retail cross-docking operation which receives product from multiple vendors and sorts onto outbound trucks for different stores. Also, there is a need for mixing policies for retailing logistics processes in both staple items and direct freight items. This is due to the fact that 1) direct freight normally has high value and should be moved faster to reduce inventory holding costs; 2) it is necessary to load staple and direct freight items in the same truck for the same store to reduce transportation costs. Adding to this is the requirement to handle uncertainties such as trucks arriving late and material mismatching at the cross docking point. This project develops optimised cross-docking planning policies and dynamic scheduling solutions for retail supply chain.

  • Optimisation policies for mixing and matching staple items and direct freight items for loading consolidation
  • Optimise planning policies for cross-docking operations, such as for trucks to arrive in the right sequence and be allocated the right doors of cross-dock
  • Real-time scheduling algorithm and solution to handle the dynamics of trailer (container) arrivals and cross-docking operations
ApplicationsAs the need to move inventory faster, more logistics managers are turning to cross-docking. Companies expressed more and more interests in the deployment of cross-docking operations and technologies. Cross-docking planning and coordination are poised for rapid growth although it is still new to the industry in Asia.

Problems Addressed

Some of the issues on cross-docking planning for retail supply chain:

  • When should a vehicle arrive at the cross-dock?
  • How to mix direct freight items and staple and FMCG items for container loading?
  • Which group of containers should enter the cross-dock with time-overlapping?
  • What should be the sequence of exchanging?
  • How to allocate containers (trailers) to doors optimally?
  • How to handle dynamics on arriving, processing and facility uncertainty?