Cross-docking what is it, types and advantages

Cross-docking: what is it, types and advantages

Cross-docking is a logistics technique where storage time is non-existent or very limited.

As we know, cross-docking allows us to reduce time and costs, how is it possible? All you have to do is transfer shipments from the means of transport in which they arrive at the means of transport in which they leave without intermediate storage.

This distribution technique seeks greater efficiency in the entire supply chain, involving customers and suppliers.

For this reason and to carry out cross-docking, it is important to synchronize the storage and distribution of the merchandise through the following activities:

  1. Pre-distribution. Suppliers prepare the goods to be distributed.
  2. Receipt of the merchandise.
  3. Information capture. Necessary for good control over the merchandise.
  4. Re-packing, cargo consolidation, and merchandise delivery.

Types of Cross Docking

Within this process, there are two variants, pre-distributed cross-docking and consolidated.

Predistributed cross-docking

In predistributed cross-docking, the units to be marketed are already organized by the provider according to their delivery points, therefore they are received and moved to the exit points, (the place where they are with units similar to different suppliers) ready to be shipped.

This model is the most basic to apply since the units do not require any additional handling.


In consolidated cross-docking, the logistics units are received and immediately sent to a conditioning area within the CEDI (Distribution Center), in which they will be organized into new logistics marketing units to be sent to their respective points of sale. destination.

This strategy is frequently used to put together offers for products that will be sent to chain stores or department stores.

Finally, it is important to note that both types of cross-docking provide great benefits: increasing the speed of product flow, reducing handling costs, promoting productivity, and reducing space requirements.

Advantages of cross-docking

Cross-docking has many advantages, among which are:

  • It’s one of the strategies that can be framed within the Efficient Consumer Response philosophy.
  • It manages to improve efficiency and productivity within the supply chain.
  • It is an especially fast and profitable distribution model.
  • allows having an interesting cost reduction in storage, distribution, inventory, and personnel.
  • By reducing stocks, facilitates the task of handling and relocating merchandise, achieving fewer errors.
  • Get a greater freshness of the merchandise and increase its availability.
  • Facilitates meeting deadlines, which is a great advantage for the client.