Dock Appointment Scheduling: End Late Arrivals

Dock Appointment Scheduling Disruption

Traditional dock appointment scheduling continues to add to freight spend and leaves significant opportunities for improvement available. Supply chain executives, however, can apply these dock appointment scheduling and TMS automation steps to end late arrivals and achieve more collaboration and operational excellence.

1. Recognize Limitations of Existing Dock Appointment Scheduling Software

The limitations of existing dock scheduling software stem from a lack of transparency into the dock schedule and other key problems. Managers may rely on severely outdated paper-based schedules, whiteboards, and limited spreadsheet applications. As a result, these systems may be incapable of sharing information across dozens of supply chain partners and hundreds of drivers. Recognizing these limits is key to getting on the right path.

2. Identify Causes of Delays in Dock Appointment Scheduling

The best steps to increasing compliance in dock appointment scheduling must include a review of the problems causing delays or confusion at the dock. 

While a lack of data shareability plays a role, other issues—such as lack of communication within internal organizations and limited access to drivers—can contribute to added problems. Knowing the causes of problems is key to figuring out what systems will have the greatest impact on dock efficiency.

3. Reduce the Rate of Dwell Time by Moving Freight Efficiently

Reduce the rate of dwell time by using connected systems and automation to communicate with drivers and mitigate late arrivals. In addition, the value of dock scheduling software, embedded within TMS automation functions, will further reduce dwell time by helping to prevent drivers from arriving too early as well. 

As further reiterated by Supply Chain Brain:

“Digitization through automating key processes can help make that [dock scheduling] process significantly more efficient. Transportation and logistics providers are keen on using technology such as application programming interfaces to streamline operations and do a better job of allocating labor when orders arrive for processing.”

4. Hold Carriers Accountable for Late Arrivals by Tracking Data

Tracking carrier and driver data allow shippers to improve driver accountability. 

Data-driven decision-making and scorecard capabilities also help companies make scheduling decisions—as well as consider how a specific carrier or logistics service provider (LSP) performs for high-priority shipments. 

Of course, an added opportunity to automate the dock appointment scheduling process lies in putting the power to select dock slots for delivery and pickup in the hands of drivers and carriers. Meanwhile, robotics process automation (RPA) could solve the issues with smaller fleets and owner-operator drivers that lack advanced systems and rely on email for scheduling.

5. Reduce Paperwork Issues With Digitized Document Management

Less paperwork through digital dock appointment scheduling alleviates late arrivals by reducing the time drivers spend preparing documents prior to arrival. 

Instead, drivers can focus more on driving and not on back-office processes. This capability further enhances value as companies gain access to real-time data and document storage options — ensuring they can intervene as soon as problems arise and avoid possible delays or other late arrivals.

Gain Control Over Dock Appointment Scheduling With the Right TMS

Managing supply chain operations depends on effective control over dock management. You can improve dock appointment scheduling with these “do’s and don’ts.”

Take the time to consider the ways in which advancement in technology can overcome traditional hurdles in dock appointment scheduling by rethinking your use of a TMS today.

See How MercuryGate Helps Dock Appointment Scheduling


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