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Knowing What You Need - Appointment Management or Dock Scheduling?

So you have reached the conclusion that you need some help to optimize your appointment process? You are now searching for possible solutions that will streamline scheduling operations between your business and your vendors as well as your carriers. Which system out there will meet your needs?

But wait…do you know what you need? Various solutions can be found. They usually can be divided in two main categories: appointment management and dock scheduling.

 

What Is An Appointment Management System?

An appointment management system most often consists of a spreadsheet or some calendar tool that allows your business users to fill in time slots as they are booked. Useful color codes can provide visibility on the appointment status, although providing visibility to people across all your divisions may be complicated. Certainly any basic appointment management system will prevent bottlenecks and reduce carrier driver wait times; which can result in important savings. A simple appointment scheduling system can be made efficient when managed by an excellent scheduler; one who’s constantly on top of things and available to manage exceptions and problems. In summary, a basic appointment management system is a tool by which an experienced scheduler may record appointment times in order manage inbound flow and maximize the labor utilization rate in the facility.

 

What Is A Dock Scheduling System?

A true dock scheduling system distinguishes itself from basic appointment scheduling by its ability to prioritize the traffic based on constraints related to suppliers, carriers, customers, load types, product types and other business priorities (such as promotions). Certainly an experienced scheduler who has an in-depth understanding of your business can make those judgement calls currently. If you’re about to implement a scheduling system and that person doesn’t yet exist, or you now realize that your scheduling operations are at the mercy of one or two individuals who have the quality of owning all the information in their head; then you’ll benefit from implementing a true dock scheduling system.
Dock scheduling systems should also feature external web portals, resulting in nearly eliminating the need for phone calls, emails and faxes. Your business team, as well as carriers and suppliers will benefit from real time visibility on appointment statuses through their respective web portal.
Advanced reporting capabilities that the basic appointment scheduling system can only dream of, a true dock scheduling system may also provide the ability to perform audits on delivered loads. Audit and compliance metrics feedback is then instantly communicated to the concerned parties, giving you the necessary tools to improve service, quality and partner relationships.
When you decide to move on to the next level and leave manual appointment booking behind, the key is to know what you need in order to pick the solution that’s right for you.

 

Now, you might have the following questions:

  • How to determine whether you need a dock scheduling system?
  • What are your potential cost savings?
  • Where should you start?
  • Which solution is best for your business?
  • What are other businesses doing?

 

These are all questions addressed in our white paper 'A guide to better understanding the value of automated dock scheduling'. Download it today, no registration required!

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