As the largest retailing company in the world, Wal-Mart provides us with a valuable example of how supply chain solutions can increase business. One of the major components to its success is Wal-Mart’s implementation of cross-docking. The efficiency, cost-savings and logistical advantages of cross-docking have been instrumental in making them the world’s #1 retailer.
Cross-docking is a distribution method whereby a company can load and unload goods for redistribution in one location with minimal handling and storage. The result is that product moves more quickly and efficiently, storage space is reduced and deliveries are performed more rapidly, thanks to pick and pack warehousing. This translates to fewer losses due to spoilage or excessive handling as well.
Due to these advantages that cross-docking provides, Wal-Mart has been able to increase the volume of its inventory, and with that, negotiate better pricing margins with its vendors. Less storage space requirements due to cross-docking also translates to more area being available for shelf space. As any retailer knows, when you can offer more shelf space to a vendor, you’re better able to increase your profit margin through volume sales.
So through a combination of advantages that cross-docking services afford – efficient loading and distribution, reduction in required storage space, computerized inventory system, and the resultant shorter turnaround times – Wal-Mart has managed to keep more products moving, at a substantially reduced cost.