The fundamentals of cross-docking are pre-distribution and post-distribution. Pre-distribution starts from the supplier’s warehouse by sorting and preparing products based on predetermined instructions, including details about the final destination. Post-distribution involves re-sorting and combining products from different origins heading to the same destination without needing storage. The next step is loading the products onto a transport vehicle for delivery.

Wine is a delicate product that requires specific temperature conditions to ensure it doesn’t spoil or decline in quality. Cross-docking facilities must have the necessary equipment and processes to maintain ideal temperatures. Because peak temperatures during a cross-dock operation can damage wine, temperature control is necessary throughout the process, even when there’s no need for storage.

Compared to traditional warehousing and storage methods, cross-docking helps carriers stay compliant with regulations for shipping temperature-sensitive products by reducing product handling, which lowers the risk of contamination or damage. It also allows for more efficient documentation and tracking of shipments.

Compared to other industries, cross-docking has become increasingly common as more wineries and distributors seek cost-effective, efficient shipping methods. A 2020 survey found that more than 40% of food and beverage logistics executives increased their use of cross-docking in the past five years.