Northern Apex Corporation

MFG Process Control: Cross-docking Solutions Explained

Jeff Garver - Thursday, January 11, 2018

Process control, sometimes referred to as industrial control, is the collection and presentation of data about specific operations in the manufacturing process. The purpose of these systems is to increase production, reduce errors and help eliminate “bottlenecks” in the process. 

A simple example is a cross-docking solution. A company moves a certain number of items per pallet to another facility. By simply adding an RFID label to each box during the production process it can be guaranteed that not only the right number of units were shipped, but that the right units themselves were shipped. 

There are 2 basic embodiments of this solution. The first is a situation where there are no mixed pallets. Each pallet contains only one SKU and based on that SKU there is a pre-determined number of items that should be on that pallet.  As each item is boxed at the end of assembly, an RFID label is attached to it using a print and apply system. RFID readers at the dock scan the SKU and then verifies it is a full pallet. If this process is confirmed, the fork truck driver is given a “green light” to proceed. If not, it generates an error so it can be corrected. All transactions are recorded in a database as well.

A slightly different solution would use mixed SKU pallets. In this case, the process is nearly identical except the “green light” process is skipped- unless it can be determined in advance what should be on a particular pallet. However, the transaction is still recorded in a database, allowing for confirmation of every item that was cross-docked without the need for the time-consuming process of hand counting.




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