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What is a Cross-Docking Strategy?

Cross-Docking allows retailers to distribute products to multiple destinations in the most productive and expedited manner. Within a distribution center, a Cross-Docking area is a confined space consisting of inbound and outbound docks. The strategy is to transfer incoming shipments directly to outbound transportation with little storage time in between to increase fulfillment speeds. This can save your team a vast amount of time and improve your operational efficiencies throughout your warehouse. Implementing a Cross-Docking strategy helps your merchandise get delivered to your customers faster, which gives your business a competitive advantage.

Implement a Cross-Docking Strategy

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Discover 5 Benefits of Cross-Docking

1: Operational Efficiency

Cross-Docking leads to fast-paced warehouse activities with quick turnaround times through the swift movement of products from receiving to picking processes. When receiving inventory to your DC from a purchase order or transfer, cross-docking ensures that the pieces scheduled to leave the warehouse soon are easily accessible for picking by placing them in a cross-dock location.

2. Better Customer Experience

Successful Cross-Docking processes can improve customers’ experiences with your brand. Businesses can produce faster deliveries and address unexpected events, such as production or supply chain delays, by having delivery-ready shipments sent to the Cross-Docking area to be directly routed to the customer.

3. Reduced Trucking Costs

Items with similar end destinations can be transported together, ensuring full truck loads, which can drive down transportation costs at scale. By consolidating freight, retailers are able to transport more complete orders, optimizing transportation while reducing carrying costs.

4. Minimized Storage Costs

Cross-Docking removes the need to store products for long periods of time, substantially reducing or even eliminating entirely the need for dedicated warehouse spacing for these pieces. Having an efficient Cross-Docking operation allows companies to reduce storage costs.

5. Improved Inventory Flow

Additionally, Cross-Docking decreases the time spent on storing and moving inventory as well as picking orders, since cross-dock locations are near the dock. With minimal storage time, activities such as put-away and transfers are reduced, eliminating the need to traverse the warehouse searching for pieces spread among several storage locations. This ultimately provides another means of saving time and labor.

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Types of Cross-Docking

Cross-Docking is a key solution for retailers when demand for specific products is fairly constant, highly variable, or generates backorders. In addition, large products that have a quick turnaround are ideal to store in your warehouse’s Cross-Docking area if enough space is available. There are several variations of the Cross-Docking process that allow a business to achieve a competitive edge.

Demand-Based Cross-Docking: This process utilizes Cross-Docking logic to look at merchandise being received, and based off of demand, will automatically print Cross-Dock labels. This ensures that merchandise required to meet demand will be stored in Cross-Dock storage locations.

Opportunistic Cross-Docking: This process involves transferring a product directly from inbound trucks to the outbound shipping dock to meet a given demand, such as late-arriving or back-ordered products. This method of expedited handling is vital to enhancing a business’ customer service.

Floor Sample Cross-Docking: This process involves receiving products from multiple suppliers and sorting them for outgoing deliveries to a retailer’s various store locations which can be an important practice for distributing floor sam

BONUS TIP: A Fly-By is another logistical practice that helps you deliver merchandise to your customers in the most expedited way. This process involves your delivery trucks picking up merchandise from other store locations or warehouses in addition to their primary fulfillment location along their route. Fly-Bys can eliminate additional transfers and increase your distribution efficiency.

Cross-Dock with Third-Party Logistics

Home furnishings retailers may utilize third-party logistics companies that hold and deliver products to the end consumers. Through EDI capabilities, retailers can manifest and transfer items to a third-party logistics (3PL) company. The 3PL distribution center can cross-dock this merchandise for the efficiency of their own operations. After a short period of time, these items received in the transfer are then processed and delivered to the retailer’s customer by the 3PL. This helps retailers avoid long-term storage of inventory and speed up the movement of their products to meet customer expectations.

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STORIS’ Cross-Docking solution helps retailers meet on-going supply chain challenges and streamline their logistics overall. Our real-time software enables retailers to expedite fulfillments, while reducing handling and the need for storage space in their warehouse location(s).

During implementation, our team works with you to evaluate whether cross-docking can be an efficient, cost-effective process for your business. Retailers will have the ability to determine which products and warehouse locations will be considered for cross-docking, as well as determine the duration of time, in number of days, that your system will evaluate backorder needs for Sales Orders and outbound transfers. Additionally, through STORIS’ Forms Designer, retailers can design and print Cross-Docking labels for incoming shipments that will be moved directly to your Cross-Docking area.

STORIS’ Cross-Docking process is designed to be flexible yet resourceful in order to meet our retail partners unique business’ needs. With a seamless Cross-Docking solution, provide your business opportunities to reduce warehousing costs, increase warehouse efficiency, and improve your customer service.

Optimize and maximize your Cross-Docking efforts with STORIS’ Warehouse Management technology.

Are You Ready to Give Your Business a Competitive Advantage?

Expedite Fulfillments with a Cross-Docking Strategy

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