Are You Ready For Cross Docking

All about cross docking


Cargo Cross Docking Solutions usage

There is no doubt that cross docking can increase productivity and customer satisfaction for the business because the client can receive goods faster through the system. Some of the major solutions that come from the usage of this system include:

  • Provision of a central docking area
  • Break down of large loads into smaller ones
  • Combination of various loads into one transportation method

The provision of a central docking site is one that cannot be overlooked. As we explained earlier, the site is used to process the goods and categorize them for delivery to multiple locations in faster process. This process is known as the ‘hub and spoke’ arrangement. If for example you have a large load, this could be broken down into more manageable loads making it easier to deliver the products to their destination.

This process is often termed deconsolidation arrangements. Lastly, you can use this service to save on costs that come with delivering small loads. This is because the small loads are all combined into a larger shipment making the process more economical. This application is referred to as consolidation arrangements.


How Can You Benefit From A Cross Dock Facility?

Cross docking facilities are increasingly becoming popular and it’s safe to say that this is one industry that is much sought after, as far as retail efficiency is concerned.

One of the major reasons behind the surge of cross docking services is the collaboration between retailers and service providers. These service providers are experts when it comes to various geographical location and various services as well.

Today, we will be giving you some of the benefits you could realize with the various services that these docking facilities provide and these include: truck reloading, pallet storage and other cargo cross docking solutions.

Why You Need Cross Docking

Below is a list of some of the things that cross docking can do for your business.

  • It can save costs associated with transportation
  • Your business will not need to invest in a company warehouse
  • You will enjoy a reduction in the number of damaged goods and claims
  • Less labor will be required

To begin with, you can enjoy the fact that your business will have lower overhead costs because you do not need to invest heavily in a company warehouse. Still on cost savings, since you will not really require warehouse handling you don’t have to hire extra hands for handling.

The cargo redelivery and any other services you may require are handled by the docking facility. They will unload your truck, sort the goods and proceed to carry out truck loading in the outward bound truck fast. The fact that fewer touches are required also does a great job of reducing the claims and damages you receive.


Effective Business Management with Cross Docking

Since the inception of this logistics practice which first begun being used in the 1930s, cross docking has come a long way and is proving to be one of the most effective transport and shipping management processes as far as cargo handling is concerned.

Good examples of just how effective these solutions are is the US military, which has been utilizing cross dock services since the 1950s, and Wal-Mart as well which has benefited from cross docking for over 20 years.

In the retail sector, the service is particularly proving to be useful as the operations sort, consolidate and store the products for shipment. This therefore goes to show that these solutions could come in handy to streamline the supply chain and even make transportation of products from buyer to seller a more efficient one.

The Impact of Cross Docks in the Chain of Supply

While the idea of cargo redelivery is one that has led many to question the relevance of warehouses, it’s safe to say that it really does eliminate the need to store and pick up goods from a warehouse.

This process has had a major impact in the supply chain in these two areas:

  • Inventory
  • Operations

One of the most beneficial aspects of cross docking is the fact that products do not really need storage and this means that there is higher efficiency in inventory. Inventory is directly moved from the truck loading dock with minimum handling and no storage as well for the cross docked products. This proves to be more effective for a retail chain as it reduces the supply chain’s inventory system. When it comes to efficiency on the operational front, this is realized again because there is no need for storage. This is a point that comes out predominantly in cross docking and this is largely because the supply chain is enhanced to become free flowing.

In other words, there is more efficiency on the operations as cargo reloading is carried out from the receiving dock to the staging area for faster delivery. Your business could leverage when it comes to these two variants and the two points address different scenarios which require precise system capabilities yet gain similar advantages.

Planned Cross-Docking for Supply Chain

For those who are new to the term planned cross docking, this as the name suggests is a planned supply chain strategy. With planned cross docking, you determine the most suitable products for the system and set up demand and supply process that leverages on this system. These products would ideally have:

  • Consistent demand
  • Good handling capability

Products with consistent demand could be seasonal so long as they have stable orders and cross docking could come in to meet high demand and supply fast. As we all know, not all goods can go through this kind of handling and they need to have characteristics that allow staging, sorting, repackaging and reloading.

Cross docking can therefore be an asset to your business management, particularly in the supply chain for retailers that generally increase the flow of your business processes.


What to Look For in a Cross Docking Service Provider

Cross docking services are quite popular, and while their benefits cannot be overlooked, it’s becoming increasingly hard to identify a great service provider.

The fact that there are so many service providers in this industry indicates the increase in demand for these services. This is now bringing about a new problem when it comes to identifying a good company to work with and with so many cross dock and cross docking companies, finding a good service provider is like looking for a needle in a hay stack.

How to Measure Cross Docking Effectiveness

You first need to have a great understanding on the services provided in this industry because that’s what you will use to gauge their services.

When measuring effectiveness, you need to look at factors such the service provider’s

  • Weight or cube efficiency
  • Flow of services
  • Freight time

The difference between warehouse services and cross docking is that with a warehouse, your goods could be stored for a month before they can be shipped. On the other hand, cross docking is efficient and freight time is often really quick since they are handled immediately.

Pallet storage and reloading could take only a day or two and this significantly increases the turn time involved in shipping. Weight efficiency matters as well and you will need to look at the providers efficiency as far as weight or cubes is concerned. For example how they pair their products is essential and techniques such as pairing heavy duty products like bottled beverages with paper towels enables the company to have more outbound loads and better transport control as well.

This is just an example on what we mean by weight efficiency. Finally, on this point we have flow of services which can be measured by looking at the entire process. Usually, cross docking shaves off a day or two with delivery when you compare it with traditional shipment processes. You need to establish the timelines your cross docking facility has in place to identify how effective their services are

Cross Dock Considerations

 Above and beyond the efficiency factors you need to look for, we give you three important considerations to keep in mind when looking for a great service provider

  • Facility
  • Product handling
  • Order placement

Cross dock facilities have trucks and dock doors. The facilities are ideally designed to facilitate product movement such as semi-trailer reloading and others. Ensure that you visit the facility to identify if it can meet your needs. How do they handle product? And by this we mean how many touches a product will undergo.

The less handling the docking facility has, the more efficient their services. Before you can sign that contract, find out their order placement procedure. What is their order placement process? Usually products are transported in bulk but sometimes pool distribution is used and this is usually a less flexible order handling process.

So there you have it, some points to help you identify a suitable service provider. Ensure that you only go for recognized companies and be sure to ask for referrals before you can hire any cross docking service provider.