Rarely do we engage with a prospect, wishing to implement a dock scheduling process or improve their current system, which doesn't need to build a case to justify the return on investment. Justifiably so, since implementing a dock scheduling system impacts several departments and is supposed to be, after all, a process improvement. Most often we’ll hear from customers that they justified their ROI based on one or two factors. We’ll use the shotgun approach here and throw all the factors we’ve encountered so that you may pick and choose the ones that apply to your business. You first need to recognize that building your ROI case will be different depending on whether,
- you’re not scheduling currently (i.e.you’re currently allowing trucks to arrive on a first come, first serve basis), and
- you wish to improve your current scheduling process and systems.
Graduating from the first come, first serve approach.
Typically, the direct savings are found in:
- Detention fees paid out due to drivers waiting or to trailers sitting in the yard (not being tracked and returned in time).
- Detention fees paid in overage because the business did not have the appropriate documentation (time stamps) to disprove the driver’s story.
- Overtime labor due to poor planning. Receiving unplanned goods at the end of a shift and requiring unloading and receiving personnel to stay late.
- Multiple calls and emails from internal customers (buyers, sales, CSRs) inquiring on whether the product has arrived or shipped. Estimate the number of calls/emails per day x minutes spent per communication.
- Loss of productivity due to lack of reporting on unloading/loading times. Without being a labor management software (LMS), a scheduling solution provides reports on time spent between the arrival and departure of trailers, by account, carrier, dock teams, and so forth.
- Safety and security fines due to cluttered exit doors (true story). Receiving too many pallets or breakdown loads at an inappropriate time forces staff to pile up goods anywhere they can. If inspectors arrive on site and witness infractions (blocking security exits), the business is fined.
Avoidance of detention can provide significant cost savings, however with the current transportation capacity crunch, carriers are more likely to avoid customers that waste their driver’s time. Therefore an organized scheduling process will become one of the costs of being carrier friendly.
Upgrading your scheduling process and systems
The principal reasons companies wish to upgrade their system is usually attributed to a significant volume of phone calls, emails, accentuated by duplicate data entry into various systems (including ERP, WMS, TMS, spreadsheets and home-made databases). Other reasons can be attributable to the complexity of their business operation, multiplicity of languages and security issues. In addition to the items outlined below, you may consult the Dock Scheduling ROI Calculator found on C3 Solutions’ website.
- Labor savings; eliminate 95% of emails and phone calls sent to the schedulers related to appointment requests, amendments, confirmations and cancellations.
- Labor savings; eliminate 100% of phone calls and emails from internal customers – the buyers and sales people (customer service) who contact the warehouse for status updates on shipments.
- Labor savings; schedulers wasting time entering appointment data into ERP, WMS, TMS, LMS when the appointment information and time stamps can be integrated electronically into the complementary information systems.
- Labor savings: eliminate 100% of the time spent compiling reports regarding arrival times (on time, late, unloading, etc.).
- Maximizing through flow on the docks. Reports detailing times to load/unload per appointment will provide managers the tool to maximize the productivity of their docks.
In addition to the points mentioned so far, there’s also an entire ROI case you can build around reporting, compliance, auditing and scorecarding. Also keep in mind that if you’re already considering a new dock scheduling system, it is probably because you realize your business cannot continue to operate in the same inefficient manner. As a popular advert says: Just Do It!
For more information about how C3 Solutions can help improve your dock productivity, request a free live demonstration.