Cross-docking: How to achieve speed in order preparation

Cross-docking solutions help increase the speed of the supply chain by avoiding the process of receiving and storing products and the costs associated with handling obsolete inventory.

Getting the goods to work with WMS software with cross-docking is the goal of any distribution centre. Do you want to know what it is, what it consists of and all the advantages it can bring to your distribution centre? We bring you all the information you need to know to convince you of the need for its deployment.


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What is cross-docking?

Cross-docking is fundamentally a physical distribution technique based on the deconsolidation of goods and the rapid consolidation of orders without the need for intermediate storage between both processes.


Why avoid storage?

The whole time a product remains in storage it is not creating value for the company or the customer. In addition, the storage time brings a series of additional risks. These are some of the reasons why a company should avoid storing products, by using cross-docking:

  • Decrease in Value: The longer you keep the product stored, the possibility that its value is minimised is very high.
  • Changes in demand: The life cycle of products tends to be increasingly shorter. Therefore, the longer the stored time the higher the probability of obsolescence.
  • Breakages, losses and/or thefts: The risk of losses, breakages and thefts is directly proportional to the time the goods remain stored.

Benefits of cross-docking

The benefits of using solutions that facilitate cross-docking in order preparation are the following:

  • Increase in delivery speed.
  • Reduction of required storage space.
  • Reduction of inventory management costs.
  • Reduction of warehouse personnel costs.
  • Reduction of material handling needs.
  • Improvement in the quality of the product: the team can more easily check if there have been issues during the transit of the product to your warehouse.
  • Reduction of the risks of breakage, loss or theft in the passage of the merchandise through the warehouse.
  • Improvement in the level of customer service: because it offers more speed in deliveries, thus allowing the customer service team to devote more time to loyalty creation and recruitment of new customers.
  • Decrease in the number of obsolete products: orders managed as cross-docking have no risk of obsolescence.
  • Decrease of money stalled in stock material investments: orders managed as cross-docking are sales that have already been made.
Benefits of cross-docking (infographic)

How does the cross-docking process work?

Phase 1
The suppliers send their transports full of containers and/or pallets with large quantities of the same product to the distribution centre.

Phase 2
In the distribution centre, the vehicles are received (in the different unloading docks) and subsequently, the products and goods found in the cargo units are extracted. At this time, the operation of sorting received goods begins in order to proceed to the preparation of the assortment of the particular order of each final customer. This assortment will constitute the order that will be composed of different goods, from different suppliers.

It must be noted in a correct cross-docking process, no storage is allowed between the sorting operations of goods and the development of the order assortment. The distribution centres are not storage centres or facilities, so most of them are not ready for storage. Once the customer's order has been consolidated, it can be transported to the departure pier, where it will be shipped.

Phase 3
Once the vehicle picks up the consolidated order, it transports it to the final customer as a capillary distribution, that is, taking the products to the final point of consumption.



Compare and find the perfect WMS software with cross- docking for your distribution centre

As you can see, cross-docking software is an essential tool to reduce the costs of storage, handling and the transportation of goods.

If you still don’t know what solution you should choose, and you want to find out which is the best for your company, just fill in the questions in the software comparator. Tell us your needs and preferences and you will receive a totally personalised and free comparison with the best options. SoftDoit compares over 400 software providers based on the characteristics and requirements of your business to help you make the best decision. Go ahead and try our service now: it's fast, neutral and free!