The Basics of Cross-Docking

Cross-docking is a strategy that boosts speed and productivity for logistics companies. When executed correctly, it increases efficiency and expedites delivery so that clients achieve their goals more effectively. It’s how a good logistics company provides their customers with the ultimate in flexibility and reliable cargo delivery.

What is Cross-Docking

Cross-docking is the practice of unloading freight from an incoming truck to another vehicle with little to no storage time. For example, it can involve transferring products from an incoming truck to an outbound vehicle via a distribution docking terminal. The process minimizes time spent in the terminal, which advances the supply chain for certain products while minimizing effort and costs.

Benefits of Cross-Docking

There are several benefits of this strategy—starting with reduced costs. Since there is no need for products to be put away and warehoused, an entire step is eliminated. This reduction in handling translates to less labor costs and can minimize the risk of inventory being damaged or lost. Since the cargo doesn’t need to be stored, there are no warehousing costs.

Cross-docking also provides for a single site to sort, screen or combine products. It offers an excellent solution for producers who want to split or combine products coming or going from different locations. It also allows the opportunity to switch the type of truck used for delivery.

For many customers, the greatest benefit is expedited delivery time—they can get their cargo when they want it! Since the truck travels directly from its production source to the customer, travel time is significantly reduced.

Ideal Freight

Some cargo is a better fit for cross-docking than others. Items that are ideal include perishable or temperature-controlled freight that require immediate shipping, such as food items. Many retail chains opt for cross-docking services when shipping pre-tagged, pre-packaged products that are ready for sale and staples with consistent demand levels. Other ideal products include high-quality items that do not require quality inspections, new launches and promotional items.

Since this strategy can be complex, it’s critical for freight companies to employ a reliable inventory control system and and properly train warehouse employees on all cross-docking procedures.

Click here to learn how our logistics company provides cross-docking services as a way to expedite delivery and keep our customers satisfied.


6 Tips for Palletizing Cargo

Good packaging is key to keeping cargo intact throughout its shipping journey. Using a pallet is one of the best ways to ensure your cargo arrives safely and securely at its destination. Pallets are stable transport plates made from wood, plastic or metal that are core components of modern logistical processes. Palletizing your cargo keeps it protected throughout loading, transport and unloading—and makes the entire process faster and more efficient. Pallets also make it easier to move everything from small packages to large bulky items with machinery like a forklift or pallet jack.

It’s essential to carefully prepare pallets and packages for shipping. Read on for tips on properly palletizing your freight.

1. Use Quality Materials

Using quality packaging materials can prevent shipping disasters. Start with good quality boxes that are the right size for your cargo. Get quality packing materials as well—you’ll need sturdy shrink wrap, corrugated cardboard inserts to fill voids in boxes, and either bubble wrap, Styrofoam peanuts or air pillows to cushion package contents. Be sure to seal all packages with quality packing tape.

2. Choose the Right Size

Look for a pallet that is big enough to hold your cargo without hanging over and sturdy enough to support its weight. Avoid pallets with broken boards or protruding nail heads.

3. Properly Pack Each Box

Make sure each individual box is packed well before loading it onto a pallet. Boxes should be full, with no air spaces and an even distribution of weight. The box’s contents can get crushed and damaged if there is air space and shifting can occur if weight is distributed unevenly. Use your choice of packing material, such as Styrofoam peanuts or air pillows, to fill any voids. Seal with plenty of high-quality packing tape.

4. Stack Carefully

Stack boxes together on the pallet, with weight distributed as evenly as possible. Heavier boxes should go at the bottom, with lighter ones at the top. Stagger or align the boxes to boost stability. Stacking the packages incorrectly or failing to secure them to the pallet can result in injury to the handlers or damage to the cargo.

5. Stabilize With Cardboard

Add layers of flattened cardboard to every few rows of boxes and to the top and bottom to improve stability and weight distribution. Add cardboard corner beads to protect against damage to the corner edges. This strengthens the entire pallet and helps solidify any loose boxes. It’s especially helpful when shipping several small packages rather than just a few larger ones.

6. Go Big With Shrink Wrap

Use high-quality shrink wrap to secure everything on the pallet. Wrap the pallet three to five times to keep packages from coming loose. Twist the wrap to strengthen it as you secure the boxes. Start at the bottom and work your way up, but only wrap the top partially. This ensures that your cargo won’t separate from the pallet while keeping it accessible to forklifts. Further secure your packages by strapping the load to the pallet.

Follow these tips to help ensure the safe arrival of your precious cargo. Click here to learn more about the best cargo transport company in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas.