Dynamic Appointment Management Provides for Effective Inbound Scheduling of Truck Deliveries

  2021 04 01 Time Slot Booking

Managing the movement of inventory through the supply chain requires precise coordination of all truck appointments at the distribution center (DC) to avoid scheduling conflicts. When trucks show up late or early at a DC, they create both dock and yard congestion. The same-time arrival of multiple trucks strains warehouse labor resources, impacting the efficient operation of the DC. When the DC cannot keep pace with inbound shipments, it disrupts the orderly flow of the supply chain, jeopardizing production lines or store replenishment.

Truck Appointment Scheduling Critical to Warehouse Labor Management

Coordinating the scheduling of truck arrivals to the DC is crucial to both warehouse and carrier operations. DC managers can’t afford to have dock tie-ups and yard congestion impact their operation while trucking companies can’t afford to have their route schedules impacted with truck delays at the DC. For DC managers, booking dates and times for truck deliveries allow them to plan ahead and schedule adequate labor to meet the needs for truck loading and unloading as well as other routine warehouse tasks such as putaway and retrieval.

The advent of modern dock scheduling technology enables trucking companies to avoid phone calls and emails for making delivery appointments. The motor carrier can use an online portal to find available openings at a DC and self-schedule an appointment. The self-scheduling approach saves time for the staff at both the trucking company and the DC. Unfortunately, a number of shippers and carriers still don’t use this technology to replace the time-consuming and inefficient process of manual scheduling.

Unforeseen Travel Delays Upset Truck Schedules

Although modern dock scheduling tools make it more efficient for both the carrier and receiving company to set delivery times, as often happens in today’s transportation environment, appointments can’t be kept because the incoming truck shipment encounters an unanticipated problem en-route such as traffic congestion, road work, or bad weather. These delays disrupt the functioning of the DC as it can still be faced with the problem of dock overcrowding or yard congestion that the planned appointment scheduling was intended to avoid. 

Combining Real-Time Visibility with Portal Booking

We at project44 believe the solution is the integration of real-time inbound shipment visibility with modern dock scheduling technology. This integration enables dynamic appointment management, in which schedules for truck arrivals can be automatically adjusted to reflect real-time en-route progress of incoming shipments. 

Dynamic appointment management gives the DC managers the flexibility to better manage carrier scheduling and adjust labor resources for handling incoming shipments. For example, if a truck scheduled for a specific appointment window is running late, the system can flag that development with an alert and provide an updated calculation of the estimated time of arrival (ETA.)

Dynamic Appointments Enable Operational Improvements

With dynamic appointment management, DC managers are positioned to better manage their workforce. By having updated information on inbound shipment times, they can adjust work assignments for the available on-hand staff for unloading and loading trucks and trailers at the warehouse dock. Dynamic appointment management puts the DC manager in the position to minimize dock and yard congestion. 

Improved management of carrier delivery results in increased DC efficiency and reduces costs by avoiding the need for warehouse labor overtime. By having real-time visibility to manage inbound shipments, it creates a frictionless supply chain for the timely movement and management of inventory.

SupplyStack Time-Slot Booking Integrated into project44’s VOC

project44 has teamed up with SupplyStack, a Belgian-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) company offering Transportation Management apps to offer dynamic appointment scheduling. SupplyStack’s Time-Slot Booking is now available in project44’s Visibility Operations Center (VOC).