Peak shipping season is now upon us and, as a shipper, your goods need to flow quickly to your retail partners. As we all know, however, “quickly” isn’t always possible in 2020. Truck capacity is tight due to COVID-19 and other factors, making it an especially challenging year to meet your retailer requirements. Fortunately, third-party logistics (3PL) companies that offer cross dock freight solutions can help you keep your product moving throughout peak season and beyond. In this article, we’ll examine some of the key benefits of 3PL cross docking.
What are 3PL cross dock freight solutions?
With traditional retail arrangements, your trucks pick up product from a warehouse and transport the product to a retailer DC at a designated appointment time. Sounds pretty simple. But what if your driver is ready to make the delivery earlier – like days earlier – than the appointment? From your perspective, and the driver’s, it would be ideal to make the delivery early and then get to the next loads on the docket. From the retailer’s perspective, however, that’s not going to happen. The appointment is set, and your delivery is limited to that precise window.
This is where cross docking comes in. With 3PL cross dock freight solutions, your driver can unload your product with a 3PL located near your destination. The 3PL stores the product temporarily and then handles the final delivery to the retailer on your behalf. This frees up your driver to get to additional loads instead of tying up his or her time and equipment.
For example, Kanban Logistics offers North Carolina cross docking services at our warehouse campuses east of Raleigh. These facilities are located near the distribution center of a major television shopping network. Shippers that have appointments with the network’s DC can offload their product at our facilities and move on to their next loads. We store the product and deliver it in the designated appointment window on their behalf.
Cross docking is common all year round but is especially useful closer to the holidays where shippers have lots of product heading to retailers and they can’t afford to have trucks sitting idle.
Other benefits of cross dock freight solutions
In addition to the time savings for drivers that may be early to an appointment, the following are additional benefits of cross docking services.
Cross docking helps with late appointments. Cross docking can also pay dividends when a driver is late to an appointment. When that happens, the appointment will likely need to be rescheduled – often several days after the original one. Instead of tying up the driver and truck while waiting for that new appointment time, the driver can offload the product with a 3PL and come back for it later or let the 3PL handle the delivery.
Cross docking helps when problems arise. If items are loaded onto a trailer in such a way that the driver can’t reach the product he or she needs (e.g., items at the front of the trailer need to be unloaded first), the driver can turn to a 3PL to unload, organize, reload, and/or palletize product. Or, if the delivery isn’t up to retailer’s standards (e.g., product is leaning in the trailer or not segregated properly), the driver can take the trailer to a 3PL for rework services and final delivery.
Cross docking helps to avoid demurrage for imports. 3PL cross dock freight solutions can help importers avoid demurrage penalties if the container is not returned to the port on time. With cross docking, your drayage carrier can bring the container to a 3PL facility for unloading and temporary storage and then quickly return the container to the port. You can then work out the final delivery details of the product without worrying about demurrage charges.
Lean on Kanban Logistics for North Carolina cross dock freight solutions
If you’re distributing products within North Carolina and are interested in the benefits of cross docking for your products, let Kanban show you the ropes. Cross docking has long been a key logistics service offering of ours, and we have the space and the expertise to make it happen for your company. We also have strong relationships with retailers in the area, including ‘preferred status’ with some which allows us to drop trailers at DC facilities. To learn more about our North Carolina cross dock services, contact us today.