Cross-docking: 5 tips to win the sprint

by | Jun 22, 2022 | Logistics

For many companies, reducing storage volumes and associated costs has become essential. Especially when it comes to omnichannel or air freight. As a result, the demand for cross-docking has soared. The goods often leave your warehouse within 24 hours. This requires a different approach than traditional storage.

With cross-docking, your logistics operation is focused on receiving and forwarding shipments. That sounds pretty simple. But the shipments are often linked to one agent but contain goods for multiple destinations/customers (houses). After a short staycation of up to 24 hours, the goods leave your warehouse again. So you have no time to lose.

Keep the handling as simple as possible and reduce the number of administrative actions to a minimum. Where can you get the first profit? We share the 5 most important points for a winning cross-docking process

1. A quick (administrative) settlement is essential for your success

Although the storage is short-lived, there are plenty of administrative tasks involved. Often accompanied by physical documents. Make the logistics process as easy as possible for your customers and yourself. With the right cross-docking software, you know precisely which administrative actions have been performed, and you can link the required documents without any problems. Whether it concerns pre-arranged or consolidated cross-docking. Or a mix of both.

Does it concern international (air freight) goods? Then the registration of a number of specific data is important. This may include, among other things:
– T1 numbers and linked data
– Air Way Bill (AWB) number
– House Air Way Bill (HAWB) number
– MRN of NCTS numbers
– ACN receipts/numbers

2. Clear procedures: more speed and higher quality

When you say cross-docking, you say speed. But that should not be at the expense of your quality. Make sure everyone knows exactly what needs to be done. Whether they have been employed for years or it is their first day of work. Clear procedures and a simple working method offer a solution. The strength lies in the expertise of your team to simplify the logistics process and optimize information flows. Register reception and movements with a simple RF scan action. As a result, the transhipment of the goods can be followed in real-time and it is known exactly where the goods are ready during loading.

The most common irritations within cross-docking:
– Amount of manual administrative actions for one shipment
– Insufficient insight into status and further processing of shipments
– Where are my shipments, no fast forwarding possible
– Cumbersome file handling
– Lack of clear procedures
– Unlabeled pallets

3. Clear communication for a clear flow of goods

Max Verstappen would not have been able to win Formula 1 without a perfect collaboration with his team. This is no different for your operation. Every day you receive goods from different suppliers. Success depends on your cooperation and communication between all parties involved. From your suppliers to employees, carriers and customers. Inform suppliers and customers about the latest status and estimated time of arrival (ETA) via EDI.

4. Keep track of the status per shipment

 Traceability is indispensable. Make sure you know exactly what the status of the shipment is. This can of course be different statuses per type of shipment. With input from logistics service providers such as VCK Logistics, IWS and Rutges Cargo, 3PL Dynamics offers you the option of linking a workflow (set of statuses) per shipment type.

Cross-docking: “Efficient distribution concept in which articles are moved directly from inbound to outbound, without having to store them first. Another term used for this is transshipment.”

5. Limit the number of administrative actions. Combine warehousing & Forwarding in one

The core of this blog is to reduce (manual) administrative actions. The next step in this is an integrated solution. WMS & 3PL forwarding in one. This creates a new entity from the inbound: the shipment. The shipment is linked to an agent and can contain one or more incomings or outgoings. Which in turn are intended for one or more customers (houses). As soon as goods are received in a shipment, an inbound or outbound entry for each customer is automatically created and booked in the background. Due to this method, the number of administrative actions is limited and it is sufficient to carry out activities in the shipment document.

Curious about the possibilities of 3PL Dynamics cross-docking functionality?

Do you want to learn more about how our cross-docking solution can help you streamline your logistic processes? Contact us here! 

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