When building your business, two of the most significant factors that will determine your success is the efficiency and speed at which your operations occur.
Within the logistic and storage industries, there are many tools you can use to increase the pace at which your business performs. One of the more common tools is cross-docking.
Cross-docking is the act of unloading freight from an inbound truck, then loading it directly into an outbound truck with very little to no storage in-between. Cross-docking makes your storage or warehouse facility function as a sorting center.
According to a study done by Benzinga, the global cross-docking services market is expected to reach $428 billion by 2030, from $250 billion in 2020. As you can see, cross-docking has become ubiquitous within the industry and can provide a competitive advantage if implemented correctly by significantly improving efficiency and handling times.
Throughout this article, we will highlight the benefits cross-docking can have on your business while touching on when it should be used and more.
Cross-docking is when products are taken from a manufacturer or distributor and transferred directly to the end-user with little to no storage time or handling of the products. This process occurs within a distribution docking terminal, usually through trucks and dock doors, both inbound and outbound, on two sides with minimal storage space. Products are then transferred from the inbound dock to the outbound dock.
After the products are moved to the outbound destination, they are unloaded, organized, screened to determine where they will be delivered. Then, the products are moved via conveyor belt, pallet truck, or forklift to their outbound dock. From here, the freight is loaded, and the delivery process to the end-user begins.
While cross-docking is an excellent logistic procedure for some businesses, it will not benefit them all. Before deciding to implement cross-docking into your warehouse, see if its benefits will increase productivity and customer satisfaction while reducing costs or if it doesn’t suit your facility’s needs.
Here are some of the main reasons cross-docking is used:
The benefits of cross-docking go beyond simply little to no storage time. Here are some of the more prominent benefits you will enjoy when using cross-docking.
The best benefit provided by crossing docking is the increased time in which shipping will occur. The minimal amount of handling and storing of your product means that it will reach the end-user as quickly and efficiently as possible.
While it may seem that the increased speed at which your product is transported may increase the risk of damage, cross-docking will lessen any potential damage that may occur. Crossing dock prevents damage as there is little to no handling of your product, cutting out steps and reducing the possibility for error. Simply put, the fewer hands your product moves through, the less chance for human error.
Storing your products will take up a large amount of room in a warehouse and, in turn, will end up costing you more. While storage is sometimes necessary, avoiding as much storage time as possible will save you a lot in the long run. As stated numerous times before, cross-docking reduces or eliminates entirely the need to store your product, saving you money in the process.
Some businesses will work with multiple logistics and storage partners and use a parcel delivery system for on-demand business. With cross-docking, you will reduce to amount of business relationships you have; this will save you money as you won’t have to use a small shipping system by doing your warehousing and shipping with the same partner.
The shipping process can take up a lot of time. With prepping the material, packing, delivering to a shipping agency, and the delivery itself, each step will take time and care to ensure the process is done efficiently. Cross-docking makes the delivery process stress-free and saves time due to the expediency and efficiency of sending out products.
There are a few different ways to cross-dock, all providing various advantages and disadvantages. Here are the three forms of cross-docking:
The easiest and quickest method of cross-docking is continuous cross-docking - this creates a central site for your products to be transferred immediately from an inbound truck to an outbound truck.
Consolidation arrangement consolidates numerous smaller loaded onto one truck or one big load in the dock facility - this allows incoming freight to combine with goods stored at the terminal to form a shipment large enough for a truckload.
Deconsolidation arrangement breaks down large product loads into smaller loads to make transportation more manageable so they can be sent directly to the end-user.
Crossing-docking will greatly increase the efficiency of your order fulfillment process while also cutting down on warehouse storage space that you will need. Faster delivery times will lead to higher customer satisfaction, ensuring repeat buys and loyalty.
At FlexSpace Logistics, we offer a vast network of warehouses across Canada, most of which are equipped to handle cross-docking and will expedite the order fulfillment process. We will handle each product with care and efficiency to ensure your orders make it to your customers as fast as possible.
If you’d like to get started, get a quote today, or contact one of our FlexSpace Logistics advisors to find the right solution for your business at 1-844-985-3539.