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Cross Docking Definition


Cross docking is a logistic procedure where products and supplies from manufacturers and suppliers are distributed directly to a retail chain or a customer and the storage time is marginal and so is the handling time.

The process of cross docking takes place in a distribution docking terminal. This usually consists of trucks and dock doors on both sides and has minimal storage space.

The very name cross docking implies and explains the procedure of receiving goods through an inbound dock and then finally transferring them across the dock to the outbound transportation dock.

The Process of Cross Docking

In the process of cross docking inbound products will arrive through transportation such as trailers or trucks and then these products are allocated to the receiving dock on one side of the cross dock terminal.

When and once the inbound transportation has been docked the products in it can be moved directly or indirectly to the outbound destinations.

The products can be unloaded and sorted and screened to identify their final destinations.

Once the products are sorted they are moved to the other side of the cross dock terminal and this is done with the help of a pallet truck, forklift, conveyor belt or any other means of transportation to their destined outbound dock.

Once the outbound transportation has been finally loaded all the products can then make their way to the end customers.

When is cross-docking used?

Cross docking facility cannot be used for every business need. It will not suit every warehouse need. Thus it is critical and important to take an informed decision as to if cross-docking will help in the cost, productivity and customer satisfaction for the particular business.

Definitely cross docking warehousing can advance and improve the supply chain for a huge variety of specific products. For example temperature controlled items or unpreserved items which need to be transported fast and quick will definitely benefit from cross-docking..

Also the products which have already been sorted and packaged and are ready for transportation to a particular customer can be transported faster with the help of cross docking

Some of the most important reasons why cross-docking is implemented are:

  • Cross-docking provides a central location for products which can then be sorted and similar products can be combined and can then be delivered to multiple destinations in the most efficient and fastest ways. This method is also known as HUB AND SPOKE
  • Also cross-docking can be used to combine many smaller products into one particular method of transport and this helps save on transportation costs. This process is known as CONSOLIDATION ARRANGEMENTS.
  • Also cross docking can be used to break down large product loads into smaller ones for transportation to create a more easy delivery process for the customer. This process is also known as DECONSOLIDATION ARRANGEMENT.



With cross docking products move very quickly. As the cross docking procedure is always on there is no need to store the products in any warehouses. The products come at the entrance and then they are sorted and finally they are dispatched for their destination. This reduces time and also helps in reducing costs


The best part of cross-docking is that it reduces the need for storage and large warehouses. Products are always in transit and there is no need to store the products for a long period of time. Thus this saves time and also a lot of money. By cutting the storage costs there is a lot of cost saving and thus cross docking makes complete sense.


Cross docking also helps in reducing transportation time. Products and packages arrive and then are sorted and then packed and dispatched to the end customer. Thus the customer does not have to wait for weeks for his package and the package reaches the customer quick, fast and easy.

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