What Is a Cross-Dock? What You Need to Know

What Is a Cross-Dock? What You Need to Know

Fast shipping is in high demand. Surveys show over half of online consumers expect same-day shipping and an even greater number are willing to pay for more immediate arrivals of products.

If your company moves freight, you need to make the process as efficient as possible to meet customer expectations. A time-saving logistical process exists. You may have heard the term in shipping conversations but may still wonder, what is a cross-dock?

Read on to learn about the process and how cross-docking services can improve shipping.

What Is a Cross-Dock?

A cross-dock is a loading dock where goods cross from an inbound side to an outbound side. There are multiple loading bays on both the inbound and outbound sides, and each bay includes a large loading dock door.

Freight hauling trucks can dock in each of the loading bays. Inbound trucks unload their cargo on the inbound side, and outbound trucks have goods loaded on the opposite side.

In between the two sides is an area for sorting. Cross-docks utilize forklifts, pallets, shelving, and tracking or warehouse management software to organize goods in this sorting area.

Cross-Docking vs. Distribution Centers

In a cross-docking model, freight ships from suppliers to the docking terminal. At the docking terminal, workers unload goods on the inbound side of the loading dock. The items are then sorted and quickly loaded onto trucks on the outbound side of the terminal.

The process expedites the shipping time of goods because it minimizes handling, storage, and consolidates the transportation route.

Essentially a cross-dock creates a hub and spoke model for shipping. This model allows drivers to take shorter routes and stay in a centralized area since products are grouped based on the proximity of each destination.

In the traditional distribution center model, a distributor must have plenty of inventory. The stock stays in the warehouse until sold and requires shipment to the customer.

The distribution model process is point-to-point shipping. As the name implies, goods travel from one point to the next without stopping at a central hub or sorting terminal.

Why Incorporate Cross-Docking?

Cross-docking is a viable and cost-effective delivery model for numerous businesses and economic sectors. Cross-docking streamlines the process of product delivery from suppliers to customers.

Cross-docking can help:

  • Retail
  • Automotive
  • E-commerce
  • Consumer goods
  • Manufacturing
  • Businesses with high volume
  • Businesses that utilize transportation

Companies can save on storage expenses because there is no need for goods to stay in warehouses for long periods.

The process also results in simplified routes that require less travel time. It also allows the consolidation of LTL shipments into a full load with other outbound goods. Fewer trucks are used, creating lower fuel costs.

Make Cross-Docking Part of Your Model

The cross-docking method of shipping is a sensible solution for shipping logistics. Streamline your shipping process, save money, and increase customer satisfaction with faster delivery times.

Are you still thinking, what is a cross-dock going to do to enhance my business? If so, contact us today. We’ll discuss your options and share why shifting to this shipping model will benefit your business.

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