I’m sure there are days when your warehouse feels like a call center. Whether it’s the busy season or the promotion of the month, carriers seem to be constantly calling to negotiate appointment times. What was a manageable situation a few years ago has morphed into a full time job for several of your key warehouse staff.
Product has to Ship
Carriers and suppliers are under pressure from the buyers to make sure their product gets to the warehouse on time. So not only are you taking the carriers calls but that frazzled purchaser is calling to see if the carriers have made their appointments – it goes on and on. I won’t even mention those last minute changes that get made to the schedule and need to be communicated to everyone.
So what do you do? Senior management doesn’t believe the problem warrants the attention of IT, but yet we all know if the product doesn’t ship you have a major problem.
Dock Scheduling - It's a Tough Job
Managing warehouse arrivals and departures is not as easy as it sounds. The business needs the product (certain products more than others), the suppliers need to ship their product (so they can get paid) and the carriers want to make sure that you don’t un-necessarily delay their drivers (so that they can generate revenue by driving). So while it makes sense that all of these competing needs generate a lot of phone calls, emails and faxes, all parties would agree they have better things to do.
There is a Better Way
The good news is there are solutions out there that can make your life easier. Obviously if you can book a flight, a rental car and a hotel room without ever speaking with someone you would like to think that a carrier can book an appointment at a warehouse via the internet – well they can.
On-demand appointment scheduling systems exist that allow your business to provide a web portal to your carriers and suppliers that will eliminate all of the phone calls, emails and faxes. Carriers can be offered time slots that respect the buyers requested date, fulfill the businesses need for the product and respect particular constraints that the warehouse might have. Even better news is that this can be all done without any IT involvement and at a budget that makes sense.
Now if your not ready to implement a full blown system there are some simple techniques that might help to reduce your number of calls. Have your IT department create an email address such as email@example.com and make sure that you, and everyone handling appointments, receive emails sent to this address. Advise carriers and vendors that all correspondence regarding appointments will be done using your email address and stop answering the phone. Obviously this won't eliminate emails, however, by focusing all correspondence to email will definitely help.
Find Out More
So while maintaining an open dialogue with your carriers and suppliers is important let’s not have too much of a good thing. If you would like to get a hands-on demonstration of how a Dock Scheduling System can help improve your communications with carriers and suppliers contact us for a web demonstration of our C3 Reservations product.