Cross-docking is a logistic strategy widely adopted both in manufacturing and distribution contexts. Despite the huge number of researches on this topic, most of them remain rather theoretical as they do not pay enough attention to operational aspects and daily functioning patterns of cross-dockings. This article aims at introducing a new focus for cross-docking research by proposing a visual planning solution to manage daily operation of a manufacturing cross-docking. By avoiding complex optimization algorithms and by adopting concepts belonging to the lean management theory, the article shows the potential of visual planning techniques to improve performance of cross-dockings. Starting from a specific industrial context, the shipping warehouse of an Italian company of the oil andand gas sector, a visual management methodology has been proposed to support the operation of cross-dockings. Although developed in a particular context, the proposed methodology and its underlying principles are to be considered general and potentially applicable to a wide range of cross-dockings. The methodology fully exploits an analytical tool, namely, the Safety Margin coefficientthat could be used for capacity planning purposes and to evaluate quantitatively the system performance at a given time instant.
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