5 Ways In Which 3PL Cross Docking Supports Retail Distribution

5 Ways In Which 3PL Cross Docking Supports Retail Distribution

The logistics industry plays an integral role in the smooth operations of all manner of businesses. Most companies that deliver goods have found that outsourcing logistics to a 3rd Party Logistics (3PL) company enables them to maintain a smooth and less-costly supply chain. One of the services that a logistics company offers is 3PL cross docking services.

What is 3PL Cross docking?

Cross docking is a distribution service that involves minimal to no storage and handling of goods before they reach the final consumer.  When good arrive in a 3PL warehouse, warehouse staff unload, sort, and repackage them before putting them in an outbound truck.

At times, the warehouse will send out goods on the same day. At other times, the warehouse will store them for a few hours or days as they await their delivery time or an outbound truck.

Cross docking is a popular distribution strategy for most businesses. It helps them to save costs by eliminating storage, minimize losses which can result from too much handling of goods, and meet customer orders in time. Cross docking is based on the principle of producing optimum levels of a product based on actual demand.

How Can 3PLS Support Retail Cross Docking?

As a retailer, you can also gain from the efficiency of cross docking services. These services can help you optimize your supply chain operations and make more sales because you will never run short of stock.

A dependable 3PL cross docking company can help you streamline your retail distribution in the following ways:

  • Arrival of goods ahead of time

Often, retailers will refuse to accept goods delivered earlier than expected. When you are in such a situation, you may not be in a position to wait until the time the retailer will be ready to receive the goods.

In this case, cross docking services can come in handy. A 3PL warehouse will unload your truck and store your goods in ideal conditions, keeping them safe from damage or environmental harm. When the delivery time comes, the company will help get your goods to the customer in time.

  • When the retailer does not accept the shipment

It is not all the time that a retailer will accept the goods you have delivered. At times, they will reject them for several reasons. That may be because the goods do not meet the required quality standards. This can include improper packaging, positioning in that some have toppled over, or wrongful segregation of goods not considering retailer specifications.

If your delivery is rejected, you can take your goods to a cross docking company for rework services which include quality checks, re-packaging, repair, sorting, kitting, labelling, and barcoding.

After you have prepared the goods, you can either make the final delivery or the 3PL company will do that for you.

  • Rescheduled retailer deliveries

At times, you may experience some delays while delivering your goods to a retailer. Delays can be due to mechanical problems with your truck or logistics system, traffic, and the like. When you experience delays when you are on your way to deliver goods, you may need to reschedule delivery to a day or two later.

Since going back with the goods would be uneconomical, a warehouse company is an excellent option. They will safely store your goods and deliver them to the retailer at the scheduled time.

  • When the retailer has particular logistics preferences

Some retailers prefer that their goods be delivered by particular logistics providers. These preferred providers can have preferential treatment. For example, retailers may accept goods from them without an appointment.

If you are an unpreferred provider who wants to employ the privileges of a preferred provider, you can temporarily use the services of a 3PL cross docking company. The preferred logistics provider will pick the goods from the warehouse and transport them to the retailer.

  • When the shipments are loaded in the wrong order

During the loading process, errors may occur in the order of loading. As expected, shipments that are being delivered to nearer destinations should be loaded last. Those which will be taken to the furthest place should be loaded first.

When there is a mix up in loading, it will be inconvenient for you to deliver goods as they are. You may have to keep loading and unloading severally which is time-consuming. You can, instead, drive to the nearest cross docking warehouse. The staff will unload your goods, and reload them according to the order of delivery so that you can proceed to deliver to retailers.


More retail distributors are using 3PL cross docking services to help them handle the inconveniences named above. 3PLs have competitive rates as well as innovative solutions to meet clients’ needs.

At XoLogistic, we provide cross docking services to meet the custom needs of retail distributors. We can handle small to extra- large shipments and all functions to ensure that retailers receive their preferred goods in time.

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