Guest Commentary: How Companies Can Leverage Technology to Manage Transportation Scheduling

Scheduling and managing freight has never been more complex or costly than it is today. A shortage of drivers, high fuel costs and limited reinvestment in equipment have significantly reduced carrier and capacity options. When combined with customer demands for quicker response, smaller deliveries and shorter allocation windows, the situation becomes even more difficult to manage.

Many companies are still managing these complexities using manual processes and spreadsheets. Even companies with programs and SOPs find it difficult to communicate the transportation schedule with all involved supply chain parties — from simply making dock locations available at the scheduled times to mapping the right trucks to the appropriate doors to ensure there’s enough manpower available to manage the workload. An overarching lack of visibility into a company’s shipping schedule can cause internal and external frustration, idle time for workers, and customer service issues.

Some companies attempt to manage these issues by adding more personnel to the transportation department. This increases costs and creates opportunity for errors through profound decentralization of this important logistics function. What if companies could easily share their schedules with internal and external parties, have access to carrier requests and exceptions while seeing real-time performance metrics that help optimize transportation?

Web-based appointment scheduling solutions are a carrier-friendly, easy way of organizing a company’s transportation schedules. Companies no longer have to rely on spreadsheets or whiteboards to manage the transportation schedule. Everything is visible and manageable through an online application created to provide greater visibility and insight into carrier and company performance.

As the transportation industry increases in complexity, there is an opportunity to stand out from the competition by offering better service. Transportation appointment scheduling technology provides the mechanism to:

  • Manage docks by exception using automated processes to drive standardization
  • Reduce safety stock with inbound inventory and timeline visibility
  • Increase visibility to all activity including non-managed (pre-paid) freight
  • Optimize employee productivity through better time management and trailer placement
  • Reduce carrier dwell time and save money through lower detention fees
  • Satisfy more customers and partners with on-time and accurate order delivery
  • Become “Shipper of Choice” in the carrier community, which indirectly impacts rates

Transportation is traditionally viewed as a necessary cost of doing business. What if a company could decrease shipping and receiving costs while transforming a transportation department into a competitive advantage? Web-based transportation appointment scheduling is one way to materially impact the bottom line while increasing performance and visibility across the supply chain. It’s time to stop thinking of transportation as a necessary evil and start thinking of it as an opportunity.

Jon Kuerschner oversees sales and marketing at LeanLogistics and he has nearly 20 years experience in defining, building, marketing and selling innovative supply chain solutions.

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