What is cross-docking?

Cross-docking is a type of goods handling in logistics that has become increasingly important in recent years. The aim of the cross-docking concept is no longer to store goods, but to transship them directly and send them on to customers. This system can reduce warehousing 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 predictable quantities. The individual storage points become cross-docking points. Such a point is usually the central warehouse of a retailer or logistics service provider.

In practice, cross-docking is used in three different ways:

  • 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. The sender or supplier must note the recipient's address details 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 transshipment point. From this point, picking is carried out for new units of goods and delivery to the final recipient.
  • Multi-level system: Multi-level cross-docking is the third variant. Compared to the transhipment system, this variant requires additional process steps. Further steps can include packaging or labeling, for example.

Cross-docking offers the following advantages:

  • Reduced throughput times
  • Timely delivery
  • Minimization of storage space requirements
  • Reduction in warehousing costs
  • Reduction of the portfolio



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What is cross-docking?


Logistik-Lexikon Crossdocking

Picture: Michal Chmurski / Shutterstock

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