Know the Difference: Cross-Docking vs. Traditional Warehousing

Know the Difference: Cross-Docking vs. Traditional Warehousing

Great businesses have a really good handle on their shipping situation.

Understanding the best way to get your products to your customers in a timely manner is an art form. Doing it with minimal damage at a low cost is even harder. Specifically, whether to use cross-docking or traditional warehousing is a popular topic because one might make a lot more sense for your business than the other.

Today, we’re going to discuss the differences between them and help you decide which is going to be best for your shipping practices.

What Is Cross-Docking?

Cross-docking is relatively simple to explain. But, it becomes a complex process in practice. Basically, cross-docking is when you unload goods from one shipment and place it directly into another with no storage in between.

It’s meant to increase efficiency in the supply chain. The complexity varies with different industries. There are a few common instances where cross-docking becomes an important part of the shipping process.

  • When the demand for a given inventory item is consistent, they’re placed in a recurring fulfillment schedule. There’s no need for surplus inventory, so cross-docking makes more sense.
  • With time-sensitive or perishable items, It’s important for items to arrive at their destination in a timely manner rather than sit in a warehouse.
  • For companies that don’t require the specific stock to be on hand. With discount clothing retailers, for example, bulk shipments of random items can be sent via cross-docking.

Is Cross-Docking Better Than Warehousing?

Cross-docking and warehousing are simply two different methods of dealing with shipping. One isn’t better than the other. Warehousing is necessary when you need the distributor to have a large amount of stock on hand to fulfill orders.

Having that centralized location where you keep everything makes it easy to ensure that you have the stock to fulfill your customers’ needs. There are numerous benefits to cross-docking, which we’ll talk about, but it requires solid coordination.

In short, cross-docking makes things more efficient, but it’s harder to do.

Which Should You Use?

Choosing between warehousing and cross-docking really depends on how you want to run the shipping side of your business. For small businesses, there are a lot of things about cross-docking that make it pretty enticing.

It costs money to store your items in a warehouse, so cross-docking often becomes the cheaper option. It also simplifies your shipping relationships, as warehousing requires you to involve several parties (distributor, logistics, courier, etc.).

Shipping times are generally a bit faster with cross-docking. This is because products are constantly on the move.

It’s also less likely for items to get damaged as they’re taken from one truck and put on another. Warehouse items are constantly shifted around in order to optimize space, which can occasionally result in damages.

Do What’s Best For You

To discuss all of your warehousing and cross-docking needs, contact us at GENEX. Our 24/7 services include both methods, as well as dry storage, refrigerated storage, packaging, and trailer storage, among other things.

If you enjoyed this post and want to learn more about warehousing, cross-docking, and other shipping tidbits, come back and visit our blog again soon.

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