What is cross-docking?
Cross-docking or cross-coupling refers to a type of handling for goods in logistics and has become increasingly important in recent years. The concept of cross-docking has the goal of no longer storing goods, but instead handling them directly and shipping them on to customers. This system can reduce inventory costs.
Cross-docking is particularly suitable for companies that handle large quantities of goods, such as distribution networks with many incoming and outgoing goods and plannable quantities. The individual storage points become cross docking points. Such a point is usually the central warehouse of a retailer or a logistics service provider.
In practice, cross-docking is used in three different variants:
- Single-stage system: In the single-stage variant, the goods are pre-picked by the supplier in relation to the final recipient. This means that the goods are packed by the sender and sent directly to the final recipient via different handling points. For this purpose, the sender or the supplier must mark the address data of the recipient on the goods in advance.
- Two-stage system: The two-stage variant is also known as the transshipment system. With this method, the goods are shipped unchanged from the supplier to the point of transshipment. From this point, picking is carried out on new units of goods and delivery to the final recipient.
- Multi-stage system: Multi-stage cross-docking represents the third variant. Compared to the Transhipment System, this variant requires additional process steps. Further steps may include, for example, packaging or labeling.
Cross-doking offers the following advantages:
- Reduced lead times
- Timely delivery
- Minimization of storage space requirements
- Reduction of inventory costs
- Reduction of the inventory