How Do I Know If I Need Dock Scheduling Software?

The need to improve the shipping technology you’re using can sneak up on a company. Leveraging specialized solutions that are built to perform specific functions well is what today’s leading-edge companies are using.

The need to improve the shipping technology you’re using can sneak up on a company. A few years ago, just having the technology to help with any part of the logistics process was considered progressive. However, leveraging specialized solutions that are built to perform specific functions REALLY well are what today’s leading-edge companies are using.

Dock scheduling is a good example of how a specialized tool can provide big value to a shipper as an extension of their other systems and processes. Warehouses and other facilities may have other systems in place, including first-come-first-serve, whiteboards, Excel, or even a software module from their TMS or WMS to manage things. However, most companies will soon find those solutions are not enough. 

Knowing when you’ve reached the tipping point is what’s important. Here are a few signs:

It’s Monday morning and truck lines are wrapped around your warehouse.

Monday is usually the busiest inbound day for a warehouse and can be even busier if the warehouse is not receiving on Saturday or Sunday. Carriers will arrive throughout the weekend lining up to be unloaded first thing Monday morning in first-come-first-serve facilities. Using online appointment scheduling, carriers can now select their time and eliminate the need to arrive days early to get in the front of the line for first-come-first-serve.

iStock-182758249 (1)You’re answering tons of phone calls all day with questions about hours and open time slots.

Scheduling over the phone is one of the most wasteful and mundane activities for both warehouses and carriers. Warehouse team members have other responsibilities, so their time can be better spent on other, more value-added tasks. Meanwhile, carriers also benefit from faster and easier scheduling to plan their routes and book other shipments. unanswered calls delay the process and create frustration. It’s much easier to give your carriers a link and let them quickly and easily schedule at their convenience from a list of available appointment times.

You’re constantly paying detention fees to carriers for long wait times.

Carriers have to be compensated for excessive wait times through detention fees. Most often, detention fees are a consequence of inefficiency on the dock. Implementing a scheduling solution can ensure carriers are showing up at the appropriate times and warehouses have the resource to get them loaded or unloaded as quickly as possible.

There have been multiple safety incidents from warehouse teams playing catch-up.

There are few things worse than starting your day already behind schedule. As people, we naturally want to catch up and clear our work queue. Unfortunately, when that queue grows, we may start working too quickly or taking shortcuts in any attempt to prevent falling further behind. Warehouse teams are no different and the results of this could be unsafe practices in loading and unloading. Clear appointment times will help balance the flow of trucks and eliminate falling behind schedule.

The shipping rates you’re paying have increased because drivers do not want to come to your warehouse.

Being a ‘Shipper of Choice’ is still a thing. Carriers talk and quickly learn which facilities are the most difficult to work with. They make money being on the road—more than they are charging for detention! Make it easy for carriers by giving them an easy tool to schedule appointments online and giving them all the necessary warehouse information.

All you can offer is a blank stare when someone asks about the average dwell time at your dock.

It’s important for warehouse teams to know how long a truck will remain at your facility, on average, for loading or unloading. The saying is if you can’t measure it, then you can’t improve it, so having a clear estimate of dwell time is critical to increasing operational efficiency. Using a scheduling platform with status management will allow your team to check trucks in and out while capturing their times, allowing you to gauge performance.  

Logistics technology is always evolving and getting better. Dock scheduling software is an example of how existing technology can be greatly improved upon because legacy systems—like a TMS or WMS—usually offer an incomplete solution for docks. If you recognize any of the symptoms mentioned above, it’s time to think about a new solution.

Learn how Opendock can help! 


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