Cross-Docking and e-Commerce Returns Processing | FORTNA

Solutions: Cross-Docking and Returns

Optimise cross-docking and returns processing

Fast-track fulfilment and minimise the cost of warehousing and returns.

FORTNA understands that cross-docking and returns processing add a level of complexity to your operations. We partner with companies to design and implement automation and intelligent software solutions to optimise transport routes, boost route efficiency, reduce freight costs and offer faster and more efficient last-mile delivery.

How cross-docking helps enable a smarter, more efficient returns process

Cross-docking is when products or pallets arrive at a warehouse and are immediately shipped to the customer or vendor. This allows for shorter delivery times and quicker turnaround during the distribution process.

The promise of a simple, fast and efficient returns process is now critical to the happiness of the e-Commerce customer, especially when purchasing goods online without the opportunity to see, touch, try on and experience products in a physical storefront. But for distribution centres and warehouses focused on optimising every square foot of available space, the prospect of organising this wave of returns can significantly impact productivity and overall efficiency.

A cross-docking solution with built-in quality assurance checks aids in overall customer satisfaction by allowing warehouse staff to sort and distribute items as ordered, rather than having to dedicate large amounts of space in the warehouse to storing products in bulk to be placed in storage.

Cross-docking provides greater flexibility and efficiency in managing the flow of returns and provides warehouses with a better system for balancing both incoming goods for distribution and products being returned by customers.

Contain costs, leverage labour and increase efficiencies with cross-docking solutions

FORTNA applies a lean supply chain model to cross-docking to simplify the extremely complex operation of working with inventory that is coming in, being sorted and simultaneously directed to various destinations to minimise costs, leverage labour and increase efficiencies.

  • Faster shipping and receiving times
  • Leverage labour
  • Efficient inventory management
  • Leverage distribution center as a sorting facility
  • Enable high inventory turnover

Shift to e-Commerce requires returns processing solutions

Companies have an increasingly large returns problem. Since e-Commerce purchases are returned at a much higher rate than in-store purchases, as e-Commerce grows, so will the average rate of returns. How you address this challenge impacts profitability. It’s time to think about handling returns with the same level of efficiency as your fulfilment operation.

Rapid deployment of returned merchandise to sellable inventory is essential. Returns can be a strategic differentiator and increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Process returns with speed, accuracy and efficiency

Rapidly redeploy returned merchandise to saleable inventory

Returns represent a significant opportunity to increase sales and reduce inventory and working capital. Reclaim space in the DC currently occupied by the growing number of returns.

Increase customer satisfaction and loyalty

Today’s consumers consider return policies before making a purchase. Your return policy can be a differentiator. Respond to customers’ expectations for fast and easy returns.

Free up labour for revenue-generating activity

Optimise returns processing for profitability with automation and intelligent software. New solutions are available to simplify the returns process and minimize reverse logistics cycle time.

73% of returns occur due to a retailer controllable action.

2021 State of the Industry Report

Case Study

Case study: returns place constant pressure on auto parts aftermarket

The auto parts aftermarket has one of the highest rates of product returns of any industry. One automotive aftermarket distributor handles returns more efficiently in the following ways:

  • Systems enable visibility into what is coming into the DC for disposition, enabling the returns team to plan for and manage returns better.
  • Rules for disposition of product are clearly defined and metrics are put in place to support return-to-stock goals.
  • Returns team is trained and staffed as part of operation, including a management team dedicated to carefully managing this critical area of the business.

Can goods-to-person solve your labour challenges?

Improve e-Commerce picking productivity with goods-to-person technologies. Use our assessment tool to calculate potential savings with automation.

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In FORTNA, we found a partner that took accountability for the successful implementation of the entire project.

Senior Vice President

Canadian Tire 

The FORTNA difference drives profitable cross-docking and returns processing

It all starts with strategy

We take a holistic approach to distribution strategy, considering upstream/downstream impacts on an entire network of operations.

Design rooted in data science

Scientifically proven proprietary modelling tools and algorithms allow us to design for maximum efficiency and outcomes.


Best-fit solutions with unique technology selection

Our deep bench of experts selects appropriate and best-fit technologies that optimise your solution. The result is a comprehensive, flexible solution that delivers exemplary business results.

Cross-Docking and Returns insights and resources

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