Cross-docking Definition for the Freight Industry presented by Apparel Search 

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Cross-docking is a practice in logistics of unloading materials from an incoming truck trailer or rail car and loading these materials in outbound trailers or rail cars. This may be done to change type of conveyance, or to sort material intended for different destinations, or to combine material from different origins.

In purest form this is done directly, with minimal or no warehousing (warehouse directory). In practice many "cross-docking" operations require large staging areas where inbound materials are sorted, consolidated, and stored until the outbound shipment is complete and ready to ship. If the staging takes hours or a day the operation is usually referred to as a "cross-dock" distribution center. If it takes several days or even weeks the operation is usually considered a warehouse.

Typical applications

  • "Hub and spoke" arrangements, where materials are brought in to one central location and then sorted for delivery to a variety of destinations
  • Consolidation arrangements, where a variety of smaller shipments are combined into one larger shipment for economy of transport
  • Deconsolidation arrangements, where large shipments (e.g. railcar lots) are broken down into smaller lots for ease of delivery.

Factors influencing the use of cross-docks

  • Customer and supplier geography -- particularly when a single corporate customer has many multiple branches or using points
  • Freight costs for the commodities being transported
  • Cost of inventory in transit
  • Complexity of loads
  • Handling methods

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The above article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross-docking).  6/6/05 Modified by Apparel Search

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