Cross distribution in warehouse: what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Warehouse management

With this warehousing strategy, each type of product does not have its own fixed position. Cross distribution in the warehouse creates "islands" (or also "nests") of several pieces of the same goods in different places. Warehouse workers do not take into account the date of receipt or expiration when issuing. Priority will be given to goods in a currently more advantageous position.

What is cross distribution

The cross-distribution strategy consists in the targeted placement of several pieces of the same goods in several different locations in the warehouse. When issuing, the goods are not taken according to the date of receipt or expiration, but according to the currently most advantageous position.

This strategy is particularly suitable for companies:

  • with a higher number of items of goods,
  • where the goods are fast-moving,
  • that most often remove goods manually (but it can also be by a handling technique),
  • that expect an increased frequency of orders linked to one-off events or favorable offers.

On the other hand, it is not suitable for companies:

  • selling goods that have a limited shelf life (food, food supplements) - the exception is if these goods are included in controlled promotions,
  • storing items that require a special regime - e.g. controlled temperature, assembly, transformation (flammables, explosives, chemicals...).

Advantages of cross distribution strategy

The biggest advantage of cross-distribution lies in speeding up picking and the entire order processing process from customer reception to dispatch from the warehouse. For example, if, as a result of marketing, you expect increased demand for goods from a current promotional flyer or promotion, you can create a nest of the same goods close to the shipment in advance.

In practice, this usually means that the warehouse must be in constant contact with the marketing department in order to have enough time to prepare the necessary nests.

Another advantage lies in the easy parallel work of several warehouse workers. A certain type of goods is not fixed in one position, so if, for example, one aisle is not currently available when picking goods, the warehouse worker will take the goods from another aisle to which they have convenient access.

When using a warehousing system, an efficient picking route is simply created for multiple warehouse workers so that they do not interfere with each other. It facilitates handling and saves time.

Disadvantages of cross distribution strategy

The pitfall of this strategy lies in planning the optimal number, location and size of individual islands for goods. This places high demands on the warehouse manager, also because the optimal number can change over time and it is then necessary to reorganize the warehouse.

Cross distribution also requires the implementation of a warehouse system WMS, in which the positions of the goods are recorded, because it is impossible to remember everything with manual stocking.

It is advisable to combine strategies

Cross distribution is suitable for best-selling goods that you always need to have close at hand. For less sold items, you can easily apply another, more sustainable strategy in the long term - for example, fixed positions.

Are you interested in other warehousing strategies? Download the whitepaper in which we describe and discuss them all.

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