Cross-docking can be a terrific way to improve warehouse efficiency and reduce overall running costs. Immediately loading one truck after unloading the items from another can drastically improve your overall efficiency. And the fact that you don't have to store goods for prolonged times can reduce the cost, especially if the goods require climate-controlled storage. But, while cross-docking holds tremendous benefits, it does require a certain amount of preparation. So, let's see how you should prepare your warehouse for cross-docking.
Prepare your warehouse for cross-docking
To properly set up your warehouse for cross-docking, you need to understand what the process of cross-docking will look like. Depending on the size of the warehouse and the foreseeable traffic, you need to find ways to make loading, unloading, and maneuverability as easy as possible. So, if you are unsure how to do so, try to find a warehouse manager with cross-docking experience. With a single consultation, they can give you all the essential info on how to step up your warehouse for maximum cross-docking efficiency. And before you do so, here are the most important aspects to remember.
Create the necessary space
The space you will allocate for cross-docking needs to be just right. On the one hand, it needs to be large enough so trucks can easily maneuver. On the other hand, it needs to be small enough, so your workers don't have to walk considerable distances during loading and unloading. So, make sure that you factor in both aspects when allocating space. At the bare minimum, you should have an experienced driver and the workforce manager by your side so that you can hear their input.
How efficient your cross-docking will largely depend on how organized your staff is. So, it is in your best interest to educate your team on the goals of cross-docking and help them establish their workplace to be as effective as possible. Your staff needs to keep close track of incoming and ongoing shipments and the time required for unloading and loading. The weight difference between loads and truck capacities is also a significant factor that needs constant surveillance. One misjudgment from a staff member can quickly clutter up your cross-docking area and make the whole process needlessly slow. So, make sure that your staff is up to the task.
Modify your FMS
Every modern warehouse relies heavily on its Fleet Management System to organize its warehouse staff and drivers. Therefore, if you plan on introducing cross-docking, you need to update your FMS to handle it. The FMS system needs to be responsive enough to handle sudden changes and robust enough to contact all the important data about various loads. The better your system is, the more efficient your warehouse will be. So, don't skimp on getting the more high-end stuff.
Cross-docking speed may motivate your workers to forgo or lower quality control. But, as a warehouse manager, you must ensure this doesn't happen. Companies like Centennial Moving always highlight that item safety is paramount. And the moment you forgo quality control, you risk item damage or workplace accidents. So, ensure that goods arrive safely, are adequately packed, and have the necessary paperwork. Over time you will find ways to make quality control efficient. But, it is paramount that you don't drop your standards to make cross-docking faster.
As you can see, if you have a well-organized staff, there isn't much to do to prepare your warehouse for cross-docking. But don't forget that besides the overall preparations, there can be smaller issues that you will need to tackle. To make cross-docking possible, you may need to expand your warehouse, hire extra staff or teach current staff how to be more effective. So, know that every warehouse has its own tasks for cross-docking. This is why it is a good idea to consult with experienced professionals and avoid rookie mistakes and oversights.
For over 30 years, 18 Wheels Logistics has strived to be the most customer-centric trucking, warehousing, and logistics company around. Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 18 Wheels relies on experience and integrity to make customers happy and remain on the cutting edge of shipping and logistics management.
If you have any questions about this article or you would like to talk to us about your shipping needs, please call us at (604) 439-8938.