Cross-docking is on the rise, according to a new study from Saddle Creek Corp., a nationwide third-party logistics provider. The 2011 Cross-Docking Trends Report indicates that more and more companies are finding value in the practice’s ability to take costs out of the system, manage inventory levels, increase efficiencies and accommodate unpredictable customer demand.
The report is based on online survey responses from more than 200 logistics industry decision makers. Respondents represent a cross-section of the logistics industry with backgrounds in warehousing, distribution and transportation.
Research highlights include:
● Cross-docking has increased significantly in the past three years. More than two thirds of survey respondents (68.5%) currently cross dock – up from 52% of respondents in a previous 2008 study.
● Cross-docking is a viable strategy for adapting to challenging economic times for many respondents. Of those who have been cross-docking for four or more years, 40.3% say that recent challenging economic conditions have prompted them to increase cross-docking somewhat or substantially.
● The biggest benefits of cross-docking are improving service levels (37.9%), reducing transportation costs (32.4%) and consolidating shipments to destination (32.4%).
● More companies are recognizing the value of outsourcing cross-docking. In fact, a significantly larger percentage of today’s cross-dock practitioners (40.4%) use a 3PL either exclusively or in addition to in-house resources than in 2008 when just 32% of respondents who cross-docked reported tapping a third-party.
“Survey results support what we’re seeing firsthand in the marketplace today,” says Tom Patterson, senior vice president of warehouse operations at Saddle Creek. “Companies are realizing that cross-docking can help them to increase speed to market and improve service levels while reducing warehousing and transportation costs. Outsourcing the function allows companies to leverage outside expertise and integrated logistics capabilities without making an overhead investment.”