Cross docking: what are the advantages and disadvantages?

Perhaps you have already heard of cross docking: a process within logistics that is aimed at reducing the shipment sizes and shortening the lead times. In this article, we would like to explain more about what cross docking exactly means and what you will be dealing with. Cross docking means that the arrived goods are immediately loaded with the outgoing transport when unloading. In short: the goods are not being stored in between. The items are not included in the stock, and do not have to go through a picking process again. It is also simpler and more efficient to bundle these goods with other goods that have the same destination. This saves on transport costs, among other things.

The image below is a simplified representation of how cross docking looks like. The transport with product A and product B enters the cross dock, and the required quantities of product A and B then go to the shared destinations.

cross docking scheme

The advantages of cross docking

One of the biggest advantages of cross docking is that much more speed can be applied in the process. Further picking processes are unnecessary and the stock will be left untouched. The goods are unloaded from the incoming trailer and placed directly in the departing trailer. This means that in normal cases the goods remain (much) less than 24 hours in the cross-dock. In some cases, that time is even shorter than one hour! Cross docking not only saves more time, it also saves costs. Because the goods will not be added to the stock and they can easily be bundled with other products, less money is needed for storage, labor and transport. Shipments can be faster and more frequent, without an unnecessarily long lead time.

Are there also disadvantages?

Cross docking therefore sounds ideal, but sometimes adjustments are also needed to make cross docking effective. Appropriate equipment must be used, such as suitable vehicles. Any partners or distribution centers that are cooperating also must have these materials at their disposal and that is not always the case. It then quickly becomes more difficult to implement cross docking.

What is needed for effective cross docking?

To be able to carry out cross docking properly, it is very important that the goods with the same destination actually go the same way. Goods with a different destination must therefore be kept well apart. In addition, as mentioned above, suitable material is required. Think of vehicles that can move the goods quickly from one trailer to another. It is also wise to use a WMS system that supports cross docking activities well. For example, it is easier to combine the shipments with goods that have already been picked and have been set up. In this way the delivery address gets all the necessary goods at once, and does not need to be unnecessarily delayed. At Kolibri Logistics we make use of all the possibilities to have your goods arrive at the destination as quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. Do you want to know exactly what this means? Please feel free to contact us for a no-obligation conversation. This can be done by calling 0180-590072 or by sending a mail to [email protected].

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