Warehousing and storage costs can put a significant dent in any business’s bottom line, but long-term product storage can be particularly troublesome for businesses that deal with industrial chemicals. Storing bulk quantities of toxic, flammable, or explosive industrial chemicals can quickly send warehousing costs spiraling out of control, especially during periods of low demand.
However, there is an alternative to conventional storage and warehousing practices — cross-docking. A wide variety of industries can benefit from cross-docking, and this logistical shortcut can be particularly advantageous for industrial chemical suppliers and manufacturers.
What Is Cross-Docking?
Transporting goods from freight terminals (such as commercial docks and rail freight stations) to your clients is ordinarily a three-step process; once your goods have been unloaded, they are shipped to warehouse storage. They are subsequently picked, packaged, and delivered to consumers on demand.
Cross-docking allows you to partially or completely eliminate the middle warehousing stage of this process. During cross-docking operations, goods are sorted and packaged for overland transportation as soon as they reach your warehouse or distribution center, and can be shipped to your clients almost immediately.
How Can Cross-Docking Benefit Industrial Chemical Businesses?
Cross-docking services have revolutionized the modern logistics industry, and many manufacturing and distribution businesses now rely solely on cross-docking instead of more traditional warehousing operations. Industrial chemical companies can benefit from cross-docking services in a number of ways:
Reduced Storage and Inventory Expenses
Storing goods in a warehouse or distribution center for long periods is always expensive, but industrial chemical storage costs can be particularly eye-watering. Industrial chemical containers cannot be stacked above a certain height, and toxic or flammable chemicals must be stored in specialized hazard containment cabinets. This can severely limit usable storage space.
Inventory management costs can also be more expensive for industrial chemical companies since all your hazardous chemicals must be constantly tracked and secured to prevent theft or malicious usage. Insuring your chemical inventory against theft and accidents will also add to your long-term storage costs.
Cross-docking operations allow you to maximize your usable storage space. You will still need to set aside space inside your warehouse for picking and packaging procedures, but this space will only be in use for a few hours or days while cross-docking is completed. This will keep most of your core storage space free and makes long-term inventory management measures unnecessary.
Reduced Material Handling
Handling industrial chemicals also requires a wide variety of expensive safety measures, even when it comes to basic tasks such as order picking. Moreover, the more your chemicals are handled during the distribution process, the more likely they are to be mishandled. Product damage caused by handling accidents can be catastrophic if the product happens to be a toxic or explosive chemical.
By engaging a cross-docking service, you effectively eliminate several stages of the handling process; chemicals will not need to be transported to long-term storage bays, or picked and packaged once a suitable buyer has been found. When it comes to industrial chemicals, minimal handling is always the safest option, and cross-docking can dramatically reduce the risk of accidents.
Improved Distribution Efficiency
Skipping the storage phase of industrial chemical distribution allows you to ship vital chemicals to clients more quickly. This makes cross-docking ideal for industrial chemical businesses that practice just-in-time logistics.
If your business has a number of long-term clients with consistent product demands (such as oil refineries or open-cast mining operations), cross-docking will ensure that your chemicals are delivered regularly and on time. You can also pass the savings you make on storage and inventory costs on to your customers, making your business more competitive.
If your cross-docking facility is located close to your delivery destinations, you can also consolidate different chemical orders and load them onto the same truck or transport vehicle, which will then deliver chemicals to each client in sequence. This can dramatically reduce product transportation costs, and simplify fleet management.
These are just some of the ways industrial chemical companies can benefit from cross-docking services. If you have any more questions about cross-docking procedures, contact the freight transportation professionals at Tri Star Freight System, Inc.