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:
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.