Cross Docking 101: How to Create a Cross Docking Strategy

Cross Docking 101: How to Create a Cross Docking Strategy

Did you know that more than 70 percent of all U.S. freight is moved by trucks?

With volume like that, efficient logistics and supply chain management are essential to keep inventory moving. Cross docking provides a method for streamlining the distribution process. Read on to learn more about cross docking and why it might be right for you.

What Is Cross Docking?

Cross docking is the logistical practice of unloading goods from inbound delivery vehicles and quickly loading them onto outbound vehicles. The goods are then delivered directly to suppliers or customers. The benefit is that freight spends minimal time in the warehouse.

What Are the Different Types of Cross Docking?

The type of cross docking depends on the docking terminal used to transfer freight and to whom the outbound trucks are delivering. There are three main types:

Continuous Cross Docking

This type is the fastest and the most simple. Inbound trucks bring in the goods and they are immediately transferred to the outbound trucks with no layover.

Consolidation Cross Docking

This process starts with smaller inbound loads that are combined into a larger shipment, or consolidated. As a result, the outbound truck is a full load. This method is common when the outbound truck is supplying a retailer.

Deconsolidation Cross Docking

The opposite of the consolidation method, deconsolidation is when a large shipment arrives at the docking center and leaves in multiple smaller shipments. This type of cross docking is common when the outbound destination is a customer.

What Considerations Come With Cross Docking?

Cross docking isn’t right for every supply chain. There are some parameters you should consider before deciding to integrate it. These considerations include:


Cross docking requires significantly more planning when compared to other supply chain methods. For successful implementation, you must change your organizational structure and have managers who understand performance metrics.

Truck Availablity

This is especially significant with continuous cross docking. To maintain the supply chain, you must have enough trucks to keep up with the inbound/outbound flow.

Supply Chain Issues

Cross docking is not immune to issues that affect the supply chain as a whole. The pandemic has caused a massive backlog of goods and materials that will persist into next year. Issues with immediate goods, which are goods used to make other products, can affect inbound and outbound routing in cross docking.

Goods Transported

The goods in transit must be transitioned from inbound to outbound quickly. Items that are sensitive to temperature or are ordered in pre-set quantities are ideal for cross docking because the special storage considerations are expensive.

Is It Time For You To Start Cross Docking?

Now that you know what cross docking is, are you ready to make the change? You have multiple methods to choose from, as long as you consider all the parameters.

Contact us for more information on cross docking strategies.

Join Our Waitlist

Be notified when the Yep! Metal Debit Card launches!