It’s the same old story over and over again. Carriers, suppliers and distribution centers are always pointing fingers at each other for missing pickups or deliveries. Inventory is not available for shipment. Overtime is being paid to employees, who have to stay late, to manage shipping or receiving. Shipment arrivals are not being prioritized. Drivers are spending unnecessary time waiting for dock doors to become available potentially affecting hours of service. Sound familiar?

Many organizations, with distribution centers or warehouses, have taken the time to implement outbound shipping solutions that improve resource utilization, reduce or eliminate unnecessary paperwork, and create efficiencies within their facilities. But, why stop there? Isn’t it time to start taking control of your inbound supply chain as well? Whether inbound or outbound, reducing supply chain costs and increasing operational efficiency, in the distribution center or warehouse, comes down to visibility, reliability and effective planning.

One of the most effective ways to plan is to get all parties involved in the planning process. And, one of the most efficient ways to involve everyone is through the use of technology; more importantly, the use of web-based technology. For example, wouldn’t it be more productive if your dock personnel no longer had to make or receive phone calls to schedule or confirm carrier arrival times?

Descartes Dock Appointment Scheduling™ is a web-based solution that enables shippers, carriers, and consignees to schedule dock door appointments online. Appointments can be automatically scheduled based on facility, orders, or business constraints, streamlining your operations by distributing the responsibility for scheduling from your warehouse staff to carriers and suppliers. You can even receive automatic notifications online via the application and/or by selecting e-mail alerts to confirm scheduled or rescheduled dock appointments.

By ensuring all supply chain partners are involved in the process and have visibility into requested, scheduled and rescheduled dock appointments, the Descartes Dock Appointment Scheduling solution and other Transportation Management solutions can help optimize your inbound and outbound operations.

Written by Alan Dunkerley

VP Product Management, Logistics Flow Control at Descartes