Cross docking is a logistics strategy used in supply chain management and distribution. It involves the direct transfer of goods from inbound transportation vehicles, such as trucks or containers, to outbound vehicles with minimal or no intermediate storage or handling in between.

In a traditional warehousing system, incoming goods are received, stored, and then picked and packed for outbound shipments. This process involves multiple steps, storage space, and additional handling, which can increase costs and introduce potential delays. Cross docking aims to streamline this process by reducing the time goods spend in the warehouse.

The cross docking process typically involves the following steps:

  • Receiving: Inbound shipments are received at a cross docking facility. These shipments can contain products from multiple suppliers or manufacturers.
  • Sorting and staging: Products are sorted based on their intended outbound shipments and staged in designated areas of the cross docking facility.
  • Transferring: Once the sorting is complete, the products are transferred directly from the receiving dock to the outbound dock, without being placed in storage.
  • Outbound shipment: The products are loaded onto outbound vehicles, such as trucks or trailers, for immediate delivery to their destinations.

Cross docking offers several advantages, including:

  • Faster product distribution: By eliminating the need for intermediate storage, cross docking reduces handling time and allows products to reach customers more quickly.
  • Cost savings: With reduced storage requirements and handling, cross docking can lead to cost savings in terms of warehousing space, labor, and inventory management.
  • Improved inventory control: Cross docking can help optimize inventory levels by facilitating a just-in-time (JIT) approach. Goods can be received and shipped out more efficiently, reducing the need for excess inventory.
  • Reduced risk of product damage or obsolescence: Since products spend less time in storage, there is a lower risk of damage, spoilage, or becoming obsolete.

Cross docking is commonly used in industries with time-sensitive goods or where a rapid flow of products is required, such as retail, perishable goods, and e-commerce. It requires efficient coordination, real-time visibility of inventory, and effective communication between suppliers, distributors, and transportation providers to ensure smooth operations.

We can accommodate urgent requests, and if you need a day or two until your 2nd truck arrives, we have a generous holding area available. Reduces a supply chain’s carbon footprint: the impact of cross-docking leads to power savings in terms of goods transport both inside and outside the warehouse and this allows a more eco-friendly supply chain to run.  Industries that trade in time-critical deliveries –  like food & beverage and pharmaceuticals – lean heavily on cross docking practices to shift large quantities of goods. This is due to the sensitivities of the product – such as medications that require controlled temperatures and rapid delivery to the consumer. To implement cross-docking, we utilize a docking terminal in a warehouse, where inbound goods are received and organized for deliveries. Then, these products are removed from their pallet, then transported via forklift or conveyor belt to their designated outbound delivery vehicles.