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An Overview of Cross-Docking

In the industry of trucking and logistics, cross-docking is the term referring to the practice of unloading goods or materials from an inbound tractor-trailer or rail car and loading these goods or items directly into an outbound tractor-trailer or rail car without storage of the merchandise in a warehouse in between the receipt of the products and shipping the items. The primary reasons for this type of transfer of assets are many. Firstly, sorting goods meant to be taken to several destinations. The other reason is to combine the materials received from multiple points of origin for transit to a single destination or different destinations along a single route. Also, transferring goods from one form of transport to another, for example, switching from a rail car to truck or vice versa, or changing between tractor-trailers and smaller vehicles.

Cross-dock procedures were first developed in the 1930s by the U.S trucking industry, and it is still used in the less than truckload (LTL) segment of this trucking business up to today. The U.S military started using the cross-dock methodology in the 1950s. Cross-docking was adopted in the retail industry in the 1980s when Walmart pioneered its use. In LTL trucking, cross-dock operations involve the transfer of merchandise from one truck trailer directly to another truck trailer without warehousing the goods however, the cross-dock operations can use staging areas next to the loading docks in a warehouse where inbound products can be sorted, consolidated and kept until the outbound shipment is fully assembled and ready to ship.

In this situation, the goods are not received in a warehouse and held there, and rather they are kept in a staging area for transfer from the inbound loading dock to the outbound loading dock. Cross-docking has various advantages. For starters, it streamlines the supply chain from the point of origin to the end destination which is the consumer. This has led to products moving from the manufacturer to the distributor to the end user quickly. It has lessened handling and operation costs. There is also a reduction in the storage of inventory and warehousing expenses. Also, fuel expenses that are incurred when consolidating shipments into full loads are significantly reduced. In the retail sector, it might increase available retail sales space in a brick and mortar stores. By eliminating warehousing inventory levels and warehousing requirements are lessened. Consolidation of the freight lowers the expenses of transportation and enhances product availability so visit website.

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