Avoid Spoilage: The Role of Cross-Docking in Food Transport

Avoid Spoilage: The Role of Cross-Docking in Food Transport

Unfortunately, 14% of the world’s food disappears between harvesting and retail. A portion of this food loss occurs during the transportation, storage, and delivery stages of the food supply chain. Overstored food can spoil sitting in a warehouse.

Cross-docking can help solve these problems. To learn more about cross-docking and how it can revolutionize food transport, continue reading below.

What is Cross-Docking?

Cross-docking is an efficient and streamlined distribution system that eliminates the need for storage. Products or food items are unloaded from inbound trucks, trains, or freight and immediately sent to outbound transport. In some cases, the products move directly from one truck to the next.

Warehouse distribution centers usually have four functions. These include receiving, storing, collecting orders, and shipping. The cross-docking method removes the need for storing, saving time and money.

Types of Cross-Docking

There are a few different types of cross-docking. Some kinds of cross-docking work better for specific products. Remember, all cross-docking is quick and cost-effective.

Manufacturing Cross-Docking

The manufacturing cross-docking procedure involves receiving all the different pieces needed to assemble a finished product. These pieces are loaded onto outbound transportation and shipped to the manufacturing location.

For example, all the pieces of a duffle bag, clasps, cloth, and zippers would be shipped from different suppliers to the same warehouse. There they would be loaded together and sent to the manufacturer.

Distributor Cross-Docking

This method combines items from multiple suppliers into a mixed product pallet that ships once every item is received. Once every item is in place, the shipment goes straight to the customer.

Retail Cross-Docking

Used by Wal-Mart to great success, retail cross-docking involves receiving products from multiple vendors and sorting them into outbound transport. Items are sorted into numerous outbound trucks that go to many retail stores.

Opportunistic Cross-Docking

Opportunistic cross-docking can happen in any warehouse, even one not set up specifically for cross-docking. As long as items are moved directly from the inbound dock to the outbound dock, cross-docking occurs.

Does cross-docking Work for Food Transport?

Cross-docking works best for products that have a stable and high demand. Food fits this description. Cross-docking is ideal for transporting food, including produce, dairy, and dry goods. Likewise, cross-docking is perfect for perishable items or anything with strict on-time commitments.

How Does Cross-Docking Prevent Spoilage?

Cross-docking can change the way farmers get their food out to customers. The most significant advantage of cross-docking is the reduced or non-existent storage times. Food can be transferred from incoming to outcoming docks without sitting in a storage warehouse where it could spoil.

Additionally, cross-docking reduces the handling of products. The fewer people moving and handling food products, the less likely they will break or be contaminated. Food transportation companies can use cross-docking to improve food quality.

Getting Started

Cross-docking moves goods from incoming to outcoming transport without the need for storage. This distribution method saves costs on storage and reduces fuel and transport expenses. Not only that, cross-docking gets products to customers faster and more efficiently. Cross-docking is best for food transport getting products quickly from farm to table. To upgrade your distribution method, call us at Yep! Commerce today!

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