The supply chain has become one of the key factors in improving and enhancing the performance and productivity of a logistics process.

A supply chain integrates all stages of the process of manufacturing and selling a good or service.

Applying greater speed and productivity to supply chains has become an important growth driver for companies.

One of the best strategies that can be applied to achieve a better competitive advantage in the supply chain is the so-called cross docking.

Do you know what cross docking is? Don’t worry! We tell you everything you need to know about this efficient logistics procedure. Take note!


What is cross docking and what is it for?

Cross docking is a strategy within the logistics industry whereby products from a supplier or company are distributed directly to a customer with little or no time spent on handling and warehousing.

The main idea is that the goods do not go through a storage stage that slows down the shipping process. With cross docking, the goods are not placed on the shelves, and therefore picking is not necessary.


How cross docking works

The operation of cross docking is very simple, the incoming products arrive via the relevant transport (trucks, trailers, etc…) and are assigned to a cross docking receiving dock.

Once there, the products go through a quick unloading and sorting process to control and identify their destinations.

Once the goods are sorted, they are taken to the departure terminal, where they are loaded onto the relevant means of transport and sent to their destinations.

This avoids the need to store the products for subsequent sorting and shipping of the goods, thus significantly accelerating this stage of the supply chain process.


Advantages of cross docking

Integrating cross docking into a company’s supply chain is a very good idea to consider, as it offers a number of very interesting advantages:

  • Minimizes the need to store products.
  • Reduces handling of goods.
  • Faster delivery to the customer.
  • Elimination of processes such as pick-location and order picking.
  • The transport has fuller loads on each trip, resulting in cost savings.
  • High product turnover, as everything moves quickly through the cross docking terminal.


Phases of cross docking operations

In order to develop a good cross-docking process, it is necessary to know and apply correctly the phases that make up this strategy:

  • Survey and scheduling of shipment by suppliers.
  • Receipt of goods.
  • Registration and review, plus quality control of the goods.
  • Preparation and dispatch of goods.


Types of cross docking

The application of cross docking, both organizationally and functionally, leads us to find three different ways of carrying out this type of goods receiving and shipping strategy.


Predistributed cross docking

This is arguably the most basic and simplest cross docking model. It stands out for offering unit loads already prepared and organized by the supplier.

Cross docking operations are therefore reduced to the reception of the goods and their shipment to the end customer.

Consolidated cross docking

In this case, several smaller unit loads are received separately from one or more suppliers.

These are temporarily set aside to consolidate a single, larger shipment and minimize costs.

Hybrid Cross Docking

It is a slightly more complex process that requires greater organization and efficiency to achieve the desired results.

This is arguably a more flexible method, as it involves preparing orders received in the so-called packaging area and combining them with products already in stock.


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When to use cross docking in logistics

Almost any type of company can adopt this process if it fits with their supply chain strategy and infrastructure. It is necessary to keep in mind that cross docking is not a system that can be adapted to the needs of all warehouses.

Especially if companies deal with high-demand core products or perishable items with a shorter shelf life, cross docking is a great idea.

It is also highly recommended for companies that work with several suppliers. This method allows to efficiently and quickly receive, sort, combine and ship cargo from different suppliers to keep transportation and storage costs to a minimum.

There is no doubt that cross docking is a good resource to speed up the shipping process of certain goods, improving the robustness and quality of a company’s supply chain.


Across Logistics, leaders in logistics solutions

At Across Logistics we have a firm commitment to excellence in all the projects we undertake to meet our customer’s expectations and needs.

We offer integrated logistics solutions to meet the most stringent requirements in terms of time, cost and sustainability.

You can contact our specialists for personalized advice without obligation, Contact us!