Cross Dock Services in Houston: What to Look for in a Provider

White Truck over map

Evolving distribution models within the retail sector are putting more emphasis on reducing shipping costs. For some companies, this means investing in cross docking. Whether handling it in-house or outsourcing it to a logistics provider, cross docking reduces shipping costs by consolidating loads and integrating deliveries.

Cross docking should not be confused with transloading. In a transloading scenario, freight from a shipping crate is transferred directly to another vehicle for transport. In a cross-dock scenario, multiple loads are received at a terminal where they are offloaded, sorted, and loaded onto new vehicles for distribution.

Companies looking to outsource cross dock services in Houston should look for some specific things. Cross dock services can play an integral role in increasing efficiency and reducing shipping costs. However, an outsourcing partner not up to the task could actually be more inefficient and costly to work with.

Attention to Detail

What should a company look for in cross dock services? For starters, how about an outsourcing partner with a reputation for attention to detail? Because cross docking typically involves fast turnaround times, terminal personnel need to be able to accurately sort and load freight onto outgoing vehicles. They have to be capable of making sure freight reaches the correct destination.

In addition to the freight itself, there is paperwork to manage. With every piece of paperwork are more details that must be checked and double checked. Any service provider who cannot seem to get the details right becomes a liability.

Fast Turnaround Times

A fundamental tenet of cross docking is avoiding long-term storage. As a general rule, cross docking services are designed to turn loads around in under 24 hours. If a service provider can’t do that, freight gets delayed and storage charges come into play. Efficiency is reduced and costs go up.

Speed is key to cross docking. Even when incoming freight has to be separated and loaded onto different outgoing vehicles, the service provider has to be able to move quickly. Freight needs to get in the door and then out the door as quickly as possible.

Real-Time Tracking Capabilities

Tracking is a big part of modern shipping. Logistics companies pride themselves on the ability to track freight from start to finish. Needless to say, real-time tracking capabilities are an important part of cross docking. Companies need to know where their freight is at all times, otherwise they cannot properly plan on either end of the logistics equation.

Advantageous Geographic Locations

The need for fast turnaround times is all about speed. Companies do not want the supply chain interrupted by unnecessary delays. Along those same lines, service providers influence speed by way of their geographic locations.

Simply put, companies need cross docking services located in close proximity to logistic lanes. A service provider with a terminal just off a major interstate is the perfect example. The interstate provides easy access to trucks coming and going. And if the terminal is located centrally within a larger geographic region, that is even better.

In our case, our Sugar Land location offers us excellent access to Beltway 8, Highway 69, and Highway 90. Our other locations in Jacksonville, FL, Rocky Mount, NC, and Elm City, NC offer easy access to major interstates, rail lines, and even ports (Jacksonville).

Cross docking is a useful tool for reducing shipping costs by increasing efficiency. But like anything else in logistics, cross docking services don’t help if they aren’t handled the right way. For more information about our cross docking services, feel free to contact us. We believe we offer exactly what you’re looking for.