1. Inbound truckloads from suppliers contain orders for all destinations.
  2. Inbound orders are deconsolidated by destination and moved to the appropriate outbound truck.
  3. Outbound orders are consolidated by destination, loaded onto the appropriate truck and dispatched on a pre-set schedule.

Complex Retail or Manufacturing transportation networks consist of multiple suppliers shipping to a customer with multiple receiving locations and can benefit significantly from employing cross-dock facilities. If suppliers send LTL shipments to each destination, it maximizes transportation costs. If suppliers ship in truckload quantities to each destination, it maximizes storage and carrying costs for the buyer.

Cross-docking allows the customer to buy just the quantities that they need for each location and minimizes the transportation costs for all parties. It allows suppliers to ship in economic quantities. A supplier consolidates the orders for all of the customer’s destinations into a truckload and sends that load to the cross-dock. The cross-dock then deconsolidates that load into individual shipments for each unique destination.

The individual shipments are moved directly from the inbound dock to the outbound dock, bypassing the need to store and replenish them in a warehouse and avoiding the putaway and picking processes. The cross-dock then consolidates the smaller shipments from multiple suppliers into full loads, then moves them on pre-appointed schedules and in truckload quantities directly to the manufacturers’ plants or the retailers’ DCs.

Both transit and scheduling are tightly-controlled. Our cross-dock facilities maintain a master dock schedule by time and dock for inbound and outbound shipments with standing “windows” for live unloading. Traffic flow paths are optimized for minimum travel time, reduced congestion and increased safety. Universal does not hold inventory in its cross-docks. All inventory that comes in during a day goes out the same day.

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