What is Cross-Docking and When is it Used?

What is Cross-Docking and When is it Used?

In the field of logistics, keeping costs in control and increasing efficiencies are always top of mind. Supply chains are continually being reviewed in order to ensure that all the best available strategies are being implemented. Different business enterprises will always have unique needs, as well, which need to be met by logistics suppliers. Cross-docking is one strategy that is often used in this regard.

What is Cross-Docking?

Cross-docking is the practice of putting freight straight onto an outgoing shipment after it has been removed from an incoming load with little to no storage in between. In essence, a distribution center that offers cross-docking acts similarly to a sorting center, providing sorting and redistribution services to business enterprises.

Cross-Docking in Action

For instance, at a cross-docking facility, the distribution center’s primary role is to provide a location where items are swiftly transferred to the next step of the shipping process. Due to the limited storage area, everything must be meticulously arranged in accordance with incoming and outgoing shipments. The majority of inbound cargo is typically processed and dispatched within the first 24 hours of its arrival at a docking station. The goods are then promptly sorted and loaded immediately onto the trucks or shipping containers that are headed out.

When is Cross-Docking Used?

Cross-docking might be used in a once-off, special conditions situation, or it might be standard practice for a particular business enterprise. It all depends upon the business, what they’re shipping, which 3PL warehouse they use, and what services are available to them in the region they need them in. Cross-docking is used when quick inventory turns are needed.

For instance, a business may need to ship perishable items like produce to several of their retail chain outlets within New Hampshire. The business doesn’t own any sorting facilities of its own, and it can’t send all its produce to just one of its retail stores. So instead, it ships the produce all at once to a cross-docking facility in New Hampshire, American Warehouse, Inc.

Once the truck arrives at American Warehouse, Inc., with the cross-docking agreement in place, the produce is quickly and efficiently off-loaded, sorted, and repackaged. The repackaged produce is then loaded onto individual trucks for distribution to each retail outlet. Each outlet gets the exact amount of produce inventory according to their needs.

Cross-docking is ideal for business enterprises that have either no storage facilities of their own, do not wish to ever store merchandise and/or perishables, or need to distribute inventory around to several outlets within 24 hours. Business owners understand the benefits of cross-docking, since merchandise or produce in storage isn’t making money for them. It needs to get into the hands of their retail outlets as soon as possible in order to be sold.

To Learn More

At American Warehouse, Inc., we have decades of experience in logistics and specifically with cross-docking. If you believe your business might benefit from our cross-docking services in New Hampshire, we’d be delighted to discuss your needs. Please feel free to contact us.