The United States takes part in more than $140 billion worth of freight shipping in North America. With so much being moved, it’s important to have a supply chain strategy so that you can hone your system as much as possible. To that end, understanding the types of cross-docking available is crucial.

If you’ve been curious about docking logistics, we’re here to help. Read on to learn about the three primary types of cross-docking and the benefits therein.

Three Primary Methods

Cross-docking is used across the world by countless companies. Companies as massive as Wal-Mart famously use the system to keep their freight moving seamlessly. Here are the three primary types of cross-docking for you to know about.

Continuous Cross-Docking

Continuous cross-docking is the most common and popular methodology. Namely, this is because it’s the simplest and requires the fewest moving parts, as well as being the most direct method.

In continuous cross-docking, shipping materials are continuously moved through a central site. It could be a cross-dock warehouse or another similar shipping facility. There are minor wait times that may occur depending on the timeline of trucks arriving and leaving.

Consolidation Arrangement

A consolidation arrangement is another popular method, though it can require a bit more foresight. Consolidation is the process of joining smaller freight loads into one larger one while at the cross-docking facility.

For this, some items may be held for longer than shippers would prefer. The reason for this is so that these items can join with another freight shipment for a full truck. Think of every truck as a puzzle, unable to leave until every piece has been put together!

Deconsolidation Arrangement

As you might guess, a deconsolidation arrangement is the opposite of a consolidation arrangement. Rather than join smaller freights into a large one, large freights are broken down into smaller ones.

The primary use for this arrangement is to make shipping easier. Simply put, shipping small things is easier than large things. It’s especially useful for shipping direct-to-consumer products where a large shipment might be more unwieldy or difficult.

Benefits of the Types of Cross-Docking

Cross-docking is a crucial technique for a steady supply chain. Without the need for a full distribution center, storage and management costs are much lower.

Product is also moved much quicker, drastically improving your efficiency. With less handling of your inventory, you’ll pay less labor costs. There’s also much less risk of human error leading to broken or lost goods!

Shipping Out

Each of the types of cross-docking will make a strong impact on the supply chain for your company. You should consider each of the three primary types and even marrying them into your own shipping strategy. With improvements to your productivity and a lowering of your labor costs, you’ll have an enormous improvement in your profits.

To learn more about shipping and cross-docking strategies, feel free to contact us for further information.