The milk run concept
The Milkrun concept is a method for optimizing inter-company procurement logistics, often used in conjunction with just-in-time production. On the basis of existing consumption values, a logistical supply cycle is defined, in which deliveries are made at defined times on specified routes and goods or empties are also accepted at the same time. Internal transport can also be optimized based on the milk run concept.
The idea behind the milk run concept
The basic idea and the naming are based on the principle of the traditional American milkman who supplied the households with milk. The milk replenishment was based on the existing empties, so as much milk was always delivered as was consumed. The empties were immediately picked up and delivered to the headquarters.
The inter-company milk run
In today's materials management, Milkrun is a supply concept in which a client commissions one or more transport companies to successively control different suppliers / customers in the form of a transport cycle. In this cycle, goods or empties can be delivered and picked up at the same time without consolidating them in a central location. The goal is a truck that is always full and as few empty trips as possible. The routes as well as the delivery times are firmly planned in this cycle, so that the storage at the affiliated companies can be kept correspondingly small.
Advantages of the milk run concept
Shorter transport times, fewer handling processes and therefore lower transport costs
Just-in-time delivery possible
Predictability through defined time windows
Lower capital commitment through smaller inventories
Disposal logistics can flow into the cycle
Sustainability through ecologically more sensible transport routes
Challenges of the milk run concept
Very time-consuming planning, since transport volumes, delivery times, driving times etc. have to be taken into account
The goods in the process need constant demand
Weather conditions and traffic obstructions can have a negative impact
Can only be used economically from a larger radius
Reliable suppliers have to be found
The internal milk run
The concept of milk run can also be used in-house, both in intralogistics and in manufacturing. For example, certain commodities can be delivered on a regular basis to defined stops (work stations) at which a known (continuous) consumption prevails. Empty trays or packaging are also disposed of on the way back. This ensures continuous supply and at the same time reduces the internal transport effort. In addition, production and assembly lines can be linked in such a way that an automatic supply cycle is created via the internal material flow and thus the manual replenishment movements are reduced.