As 2018 draws closer, Walmart Suppliers continue to improve efforts for On Time In Full (OTIF). The OTIF initiative is in full swing and has brought a much-needed focus to the supply chain, delivery, and distribution processes.
As much as suppliers work to improve their OTIF score, there is one link in the chain where some feel their hands are tied: Centerpoint Distribution Centers. As you’ll learn in this blog, suppliers do have several ways to impact success in Centerpoint.
To get an idea of how suppliers can maintain a good OTIF, we sat down with Terry Clear on a recent 8th & Walton Conference Call podcast. Terry gave us some excellent insights on Centerpoint issues and planning in 2018.
What Is Centerpoint?
“A Centerpoint is a cross-dock facility,” Terry explains. “Product from multiple suppliers arrives at the Centerpoint and is loaded onto outbound trailers to go to Walmart Distribution Centers (DCs). Each individual supplier’s product rides with all the other suppliers’ products going to a specific DC.”
Centerpoint seems like an extra step in the process at first, but it’s a huge freight savings for Walmart and suppliers. By consolidating small loads at one DC in the Walmart network, it eliminates millions of inbound travel miles to replenish inventory throughout Walmart’s distribution network.
Centerpoint and OTIF
While Centerpoint is a cost-saver in the long run, it presents an initial challenge as suppliers try to maintain OTIF. Terry shares his experience and what he’s hearing from his clients:
“One of the common issues suppliers face is receiving penalties for not being ‘in full’ when, in fact, their product is arriving in a different DC,” he says. “We don’t know if this is a supplier packaging/shipping/labeling issue or if it’s a Walmart mishandling or routing issue, so I counsel suppliers to check what they control first,” he advises.
“Make sure you’re following the packaging and labeling guide. Make sure you’re following the shipping and routing guide. Do everything you can to set Walmart up for success so your product goes to the proper destination DC once it hits the Centerpoint.”
The Centerpoint Efficiency Checklist
As a supplier, you can help by making the consolidating easier for Centerpoint workers. Some ways you can help speed up the cross-dock transition are:
- Ensure all pallets are labeled correctly
- Build DC-specific pallets
- List all your Purchase Orders
- If there is multiple product on one pallet, consider color-coding the cases
- Use a slip sheet for different layers or products
- Take pictures of your pallets/loads
- Always shrink-wrap well
“The people unloading the trailers at the DC handle many boxes,” Terry cautions. “If you don’t make it easy for them, sometimes a mishandle can happen. That’s when your product may wind up at the wrong location. It’s so important to build your pallets correctly.”
Resources for Suppliers to Improve OTIF
If you have questions about your OTIF scorecard, need an action plan, or want further information on navigating Centerpoint, we can help! Experts are available to chat online with you at 8thandwalton.com.
To hear our entire interview with Terry Clear, check out the 8th & Walton Conference Call podcast by clicking here.