Printer Friendly

Freight in motion: DHL Global Forwarding relies on electric lift trucks, rack and floor storage, and supply chain execution software to efficiently and quickly receive and prepare freight for export around the globe.

Opened early last year, DHL Global Forwarding's 445,000-square-foot distribution center located next to the runways at Chicago's O'Hare airport is the largest facility in its North American network. Using efficient processes enabled by electric lift trucks and realtime execution software, most cargo is inspected, cleared through customs and ready for shipment within 24 hours of receipt. Designed from the ground up for crossdocking, product comes in through dock doors on the south side of the building, is processed in the middle and consolidated for shipment on the north side of the building near the shipping docks. Finally, the facility handles export and import product, with processes for both. Note the opportunity charging stations (7), where lift trucks are charged during breaks.

Receiving - Export: The receiving process for cargo that will be exported starts when a customer drops off freight at the dock doors (1) on the north side of the facility or DHL sends its own fleet to a customer site to pick up the cargo. Electronic advanced ship notifications (ASN) from the customer are received in DHL's warehouse and transportation management system; DHL creates an entry in the system for freight that it picks up. Once the cargo is at the facility, a unique bar code label is assigned to each piece and the newly arrived cargo is scanned into a Web-based distribution system that is visible to DHL and to its customers in real time. As a certified cargo screen facility, DHL performs the screening required by the TSA. Upon completion of screening, the freight is scanned into a bin location, where it will remain until it is consolidated into an outbound shipment. Depending on how it will be shipped, cargo is stored in an air bulk storage area (2), an ocean bulk storage area (3) or in a pallet rack area (4) in the center of the building. The facility also includes a cold room (5) for cold chain products. During the induction process, information is captured that will be used to create export documents, such as the shipper, the consignee, the weight and size of the packages and the final destination. That information is fed into the transportation management system (TMS).

Consolidation and shipping--Export: Once the order consolidation process begins, DHL associates work against the clock to prepare an outbound shipment in time to deliver it to an airline before the lockout period, after which freight can't be loaded. Digital dashboards are located throughout the warehouse floor that display the lists of active consolidations taking place at any given time as well as the percentage of completion of the orders against the time remaining to meet the lockout time. Picking instructions, including the location of the material to be picked and the flight instructions are sent to the lift truck drivers' handheld scanners. Once the pieces are picked, they are consolidated near the shipping docks on the south side of the facility (6) and built on a unit load device, or ULD, which is a pallet or container used to load luggage, freight and mail for air transport and then loaded on to a roller bed trailer. The information captured during induction is used to create export and shipping documents. Once all the pallets have been built, they are delivered to the appropriate airline.

Receiving--Import: Whenever possible, drivers making deliveries to an airline pick up import cargo from the same airline or another airline so they don't deadhead back to the facility. Airplane pallets are loaded onto the roller bed trailers. Because time is critical in the freight forwarding business, every movement and process is time and date stamped, beginning with receipt from the airline. Back at the facility, ULDs are received (1), put through ULD break-bulk processes and put away by the customer in the appropriate storage location (2, 3, 4, 5) and airway bills after being scanned by a handheld bar code scanner. Once the shipment clears customs, product is ready for its final mile delivery.

Consolidation and shipping--Import: In most respects, the consolidation and shipping process for import items mirrors the same process for export items. Lift truck drivers receive picking and delivery instructions on their handheld devices. Once the items for an order have been picked, they are staged at the shipping docks (6) for preloading checks and then loaded onto DHL trailers and trucks for delivery to the customer.

DHL Global Forwarding


SIZE: 445,000 square feet of warehouse space

PRODUCTS: The facility receives and ships import and export products

THROUGHPUT: 150,000 pieces per week flow through the facility

EMPLOYEES: 625 associates

SHIFTS PER DAY/DAYS PER WEEK: 3 shifts per day, 7 days per week (closed on Christmas)

System suppliers


LIFT TRUCKS: Toyota Material Handling U.S.A.,
COPYRIGHT 2016 Peerless Media, LLC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2016 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:MODERN system report
Comment:Freight in motion: DHL Global Forwarding relies on electric lift trucks, rack and floor storage, and supply chain execution software to efficiently and quickly receive and prepare freight for export around the globe.(MODERN system report)
Publication:Modern Materials Handling
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2016
Previous Article:DHL Global forwarding: Going electric: for a new facility in Chicago, DHL Global forwarding converted to electric lift trucks. the result? Better...
Next Article:Modex returns Peach State, set to welcome 25,000+ attendees.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters