Thursday, June 18, 2009

Cross docking

Cross docking

Cross docking means to take a finished good from the manufacturing plant and deliver it directly to the customer with little or no handling in between. Cross docking reduces handling and storage of inventory, the step of filling a warehouse with inventory before shipping it out is virtually eliminated [1].>

Simply, stated cross-docking, means receiving goods at one door and shipping out through the other door almost immediately without putting them in storage [2].

Cross docking shift the focus from "supply chain" to "demand chain". For example stock coming into cross docking center has already been pre-allocated against a replenishment order generated by a retailer in the supply chain [2].

Cross docking helps retailers streamline the supply chain from point of origin to point of sale [3].

It serves number of objectives. It helps reduce operating costs, increase throughput, reduces inventory levels, and helps in increase of sales space [2].

Cross docking helps reduce direct cost associated with excess inventory by eliminating unnecessary handling and storage of product. Less inventory means less space and equipment required for handling and storing the products. This also means reduced product damages and product obsolescence [3].

Cross docking also encourages electronic communications between retailers and their suppliers thus creating further opportunities for gains in efficiency [3].

How cross-docking works?

On receiving goods workers put pallets in lanes corresponding to the receiving doors, a second team or workers sorts pallets into shipping lanes, from which a final team loads them into outbound trailers [4].

The following figure illustrates this:

Cross Docking at work

Please note that this is a simplistic illustration of how cross docking works. Cross docking can take many forms like manufacturing cross docking, distributor cross docking, transportation cross docking, retail cross docking ( Wal-Mart uses this type) and opportunistic cross docking. Based on different classification exact execution of cross docking may vary. This discussion is beyond the scope of this text [4]. Please refer to for more details.

To read about cross docking in detail and understand how cross docking works refer to K-mart first off the mark with new automated cross docking system

Another interesting article is: Supply Chain Management the Wal-Mart Way A look at Wal-Mart's new mega-distribution centre in Cornwall, Ontario By Alexandre Daudelin An article originally published in the November 2000 issue of Gestion Logistique.

To read more about cross docking please go to Cross-docking: A common practice today, sure to grow tomorrow Modern Materials Handling; Boston; Mid-May 1998; Anonymous9


1. Cross docking: A common practice today, sure to grow tomorrow -- Modern Materials Handling; Boston; Mid-May 1998; Anonymous; Volume: 53 Issue: 6 Start Page: 19-21 ISSN: 00268038



4. CrossdockingL Just-In-Time for Distribution Kevin R. Gue Graduate School of Business & Public Policy Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA 93943 May 8, 2001