A cross-dock is a location that will take material from one shipping container and separate it into multiple shipping containers. These shipping containers can be a railroad car, semi-truck, or vendor shipment. The time the material would stay at a cross-dock is typically less than 2 weeks. Material should flow into and out of the cross-dock smoothly to ensure the final destination is receiving the material in a timely manner.
There are both advantages and disadvantages to cross-dock operations, such as -
1. Full truckload shipments can be purchased from the vendor and shipped to one location.
2. Less handling of material at your distribution center, assuming vendor direct shipping.
3. Reduces the amount of stock required to be maintained at your DC.
1. Transportation fleet needs to meet the demand at the cross-dock.
2. Additional handling and transportation costs associated with the cross-dock, potentially offset by #2 in advantages.
3. Vendor delivery performance can impact final destination.
The goal should be to ensure the final destination is being supported in the most efficient manner to ensure that all of your customers needs are being met.
If you would like to discuss the opportunity of utilizing a cross-dock for your business model, we would be more than pleased to talk to you. We have creative ways to establish and manage a cross-dock operation in the location your business requires to best suite your operational needs.