The term cross-docking describes all different activities to collect and ship products quickly. However, based on the time that cross-docking assigns customers to an individual pallet, there are 2 basic types of cross-docking: pre-distribution and post-distribution.
With pre-distribution, you provide cross-docking providers with a distribution guide for loading, unloading, and packing goods. In other words, you identify customers before the goods leave suppliers.
Cross-docking categorizes goods based on your request if you choose post-distribution. It means goods spend more time in a cross docking distribution. As a result, retailers benefit from this extra time to make informed and more intelligent decisions about where to ship based on point of sale trends and in-store sales forecasts.
Related cross-docking methods
In addition to classification by receiving time of the goods, there are 5 cross-docking methods according to inventory management:
- Opportunistic cross-docking: Purchase exact quantities of products from suppliers and ship them to customers without keeping products in stock
- Flow-through cross-docking: Ensures a continuous flow of goods to and from cross docking distribution centers
- Distributor cross-docking: Delivery from manufacturers to resellers without any intermediaries
- Manufacturer cross-docking: Use the manufacturer’s factory as a warehouse or distribution center
- Pre-allocated cross-docking: Package and label products from the manufacturer, then ship to a distribution center
Now you understand, “What is cross-docking?” The following section will present the advantages and disadvantages of cross-docking so you can consider the process.