Cross Docking: Making Inventory Management Easier
People in the logistics business will surely be familiar with the term ‘Cross Docking’. It is one of the techniques through which warehouses in India and across the globe can speed-up their distributing process by transporting inventory from a manufacturing plant directly to customers, and in this whole operation, the warehouse not only reduces the material handling, but also reduces the need to store the products in the warehouse.
But how is this possible?
Customers like quick delivery and to complement that cross-docking is the valid answer. With cross-docking technique, a company achieves a competitive advantage and in the right conditions, it can offer substantial improvements in operational time and increased efficiency.
The name, Cross – Docking, easily explains the process wherein the products are received via inbound dock and then it’s immediately transferred from across the dock to the outbound transportation dock. In simple words, the word ‘storage’ is removed when cross-docking is in process in a warehouse.
How does it work?
Let’s understand the process
Cross docks are hubs that sort and group freight cars with other products and load them into outbound trucks. Consignment arrives via inbound transportation (trucks and trailers) and is allocated to the receiving dock on one side of the cross dock terminal. Now, the consignment can be moved directly to the outbound destinations. They can be unloaded, sorted and screened to identify details like end destination. After sorting, consignment is moved to the other end of the cross dock terminal, via conveyor belt, forklift, etc., whatever is convenient to the outbound block. From there the consignment makes their final journey to customers. Such shipments take only an hours’ time in the cross dock, sometimes may be a day’s time, but the operation is as quick as possible if all the information is on point and accurate.
Is cross-docking necessary for all warehouses?
The cross docking process is profitable but will it suit all kinds of warehouses? What is important is to understand that it is beneficial for temperature controlled and unpreserved items like food that has short shelf life. The use of cross-docking for packed and sorted products, ready for transportation is best suited for cross docking. Informed decision is a must when a warehouse thinks of cross docking if this process will increase the productivity, customer satisfaction and cost for the business.
Why is cross docking implemented?
- To break down large product loads into smaller loads for quick transportation and easy delivery.
- To consolidate various smaller products into one transport service to save on transportation cost
- To provide a central site for sorting and similar products combined to deliver to multiple destinations.
Benefits of cross docking
- Reduction in labour cost as there is no need of picking and putting away in the warehouse
- On-time delivery to customer increases customer satisfaction
- Warehousing space is saved and can be used for any other major requirement, complete inventory management
20cube uses cross docking in all its warehouses from Mumbai to Chennai as it helps in easy sorting and distribution and a quick delivery to customers. The company also gains on reduced cost and has control on the inventory management.