What is Cross Docking?
Cross-docking is an order fulfillment strategy where products from a supplier or manufacturing unit are shipped directly to a customer or retail chain without any need for mid storage of goods in the warehouse. It is a process of receiving products through an inbound dock and then transferring them across the dock to the outbound transportation dock. It consists of trucks and dock doors in inbound and outbound sides with minimal storage space. The process starts when inbound products are arrived through transportation such as trucks/trailers and are assigned to receiving dock on one side of the cross dock terminal. The goods are sorted and screened to identify their end destinations and moved to the other end of cross dock terminal with the help of a forklift, pallet truck, and any other transportation medium. After completing the loading of goods at the outbound dock, the products delivered to the end customers.
Major Risks Related to Cross Docking
1. Implementing the cross-docking strategy in the warehouse required capital investment. This can translate into a warehouse redesign to save space for a conditioning area and/or the adoption or designing of a warehouse management system to assist with cross-docking tasks.
2. Cross-docking fully relies on a team to transfer items from inbound to the outbound dock, organizations need to be trustworthy of their suppliers’ ability to deliver the right products in right condition on time to the cross-docking terminal.
3. A number of Transport Carriers needed to take full benefits of the cross-docking system. A sufficient number of transport carriers will be needed for the delivery of goods. Since the operation is mainly dependant on trucking, there is an increased cost, need for parking space for trucks in the warehouse, and need for enough docks to implement the system.
4. It requires time for proper planning and execution: without coordination between supply and demand and proper planning, cross-docking is not suggested in the warehouse. Therefore, in the global computation, cross-docking should save enough time to cover its application in operational planning.
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