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Modern logistics centers provide a range of services related to transportation, shipping, but also storage of goods and preparing them for shipment. These activities are centered around various models, such as cross-docking, which is increasingly being chosen by entrepreneurs operating in the e-commerce sphere, among others. What is cross-docking and when is it worth using it?

Cross-docking – what is it?

Cross-docking is one of the ways of distributing goods, thanks to which it is not necessary to store products and incur the associated additional costs. This model is also referred to as picking transshipment, in which the specified items purchased by the buyer are transported from the manufacturer or supplier to a logistics point. There, they are possibly repacked, completed and prepared for shipment to the specified address of the recipient.
Thanks to distribution such as cross-docking, individual products ordered from even distant locations reach their recipients faster, and the total cost of transportation is lower compared to traditional warehousing and shipping of goods to the buyer. The cross-docking model can be implemented both for the delivery of finished products and individual raw materials for the production of final goods.

Cross-docking and its types

In order to be able to efficiently skip the warehousing stage and implement the cross-docking model, an efficient and properly selected warehouse management system is required. It makes it possible to properly plan the receipt of goods from suppliers, register cargoes, verify their quantity, compliance and quality, or prepare them for onward movement as needed. In connection with the available cargo carriers and the management systems used, the following types of cross-docking can be distinguished:

  • picking transshipment of full loads with little handling – goods are prepared by manufacturers or suppliers in terms of the target customer already at the stage of shipment, and their warehouse handling under cross-docking is mainly limited to receipt of goods, transshipment and transfer to the carrier, which delivers the cargo to the final recipient,
  • picking transshipment with consolidation of goods – cross-docking of this type requires transshipment and personnel handling activities in the warehouse. This is done, for example, to repackage items into smaller packages in accordance with the orders of individual recipients, and requires greater involvement on the part of the logistics center,
  • indirect cross-docking – this is the consolidation of orders and the organization of individual shipments destined for target customers, to which goods stored in the warehouse in the traditional manner are also added.

Cross-docking is an increasingly popular form of distribution. Thanks to this model, it is possible to meet the expectations of buyers in an even better way, by speeding up deliveries, but also to reduce business costs thanks to the lack of need to organize storage space. It’s also a chance to efficiently organize the delivery of raw materials and finished products from distant production sites in a convenient manner, with the necessary customs formalities entrusted to logistics specialists.