In intralogistics, the cut-off time describes the time at which an order must leave the warehouse and be transferred to the carrier so that it can still be delivered within a predefined period of time.

On the other hand, a retailer understands cut-off time as the time at which he or she must transmit the order data to the logistics provider at the latest so that the latter can still meet the required delivery time to the destination. This cut-off time, which in intralogistics describes the input of the order into the warehouse management system, plays an increasingly important role, especially in e-commerce (online trade). Thus, in times of same-day delivery, the opportunity of mobile internet use as well as ever shorter throughput times in the warehouse, a situation has arisen that emphasizes fast and time-oriented delivery to the customer as the most important criterion.

Cut-off time in practice

In practice, this automatically reduces the time window for picking due to a longer cut-off time during the day. Furthermore, additional processing steps, such as shipment consolidation or packing sequences, must be taken into account. However, a sequence-accurate delivery requires not only a high level of service, but also clearly defined internal processes along the supply chain.

The necessary time can generally only be gained by shorter throughput times in the warehouse between order entry and delivery. This allows the cut-off time to be shifted backward, thus avoiding the loss of a delivery day.

Manfred Preiß

Economic outlook

Cut-off time as well as the topic Same Day Delivery will lead to a standardized acceleration of delivery times in the future and will probably positively influence the sales development of all parties involved: Experts estimate that the market for time-based delivery of inventories will grow to around three billion euros in sales in Western Europe by 2020. However, the increasingly later cut-off date also requires efficient logistics, for example, to get a grip on the currently still high costs for more individual delivery. In addition, logisticians have to master the interplay of picking, packing and delivery within a few hours. Another decisive factor is the good location of the distribution centers. It ultimately ensures that any point, for example in Germany, can be reached within a few hours. This makes it possible to send shipments as late as possible and still ensure delivery within Germany on the following working day or even on the same day.

For information on the material flow prior to the cut-off, see The Ant Algorithm.


Image source: © Darren Moloney, license (CC BY 2.0)

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