It’s always great to have the opportunity to talk about how technology can drive efficiency throughout the supply chain. This time around, it isn't about how much savings our customers obtain when implementing C3 Reservations, our online dock scheduling system – it’s about how their vendors benefit. In fact, this story is a great testimony about good practices that trickle down and help the entire supply chain.
The Old Way
This is the case of a distribution manager working for a manufacturer who supplies products to a major retailer in Canada. As you would expect, all these retailers require that appointments be booked at the DCs and at the stores for direct store deliveries (DSDs). Obviously, all suppliers have come to accept this as being part of doing business. Most retailers’ appointment process involves calling or emailing the respective warehouse or store.
This manufacturer outsources the transportation of the goods to a core of 10-12 carriers, although the total number can reach up to 50 carriers. Furthermore, they delegate the appointment taking responsibility to the carriers as part of the service but expect accountability and accuracy (ensuring that expected-delivery-dates (EDDs) are respected). Unfortunately, the carriers aren’t always able to book the appointments and deliver on time. Some of the more common causes included:
* The customer didn’t have capacity on the given day,
* The customer didn’t return the phone calls or emails early enough for them to book the appointment on time.
This more often than not results in them being late on deliveries, potentially being penalized by their customer; certainly causing negative consequences and extra work for the distribution team.
The New Way
Things changed for this distribution manager when one of his customers started using C3 Reservations. He and his respective carriers were now required to book appointments online! No more phone calls; no more emails. From that point on, a carrier could no longer use the excuse that the customer didn’t respond to their call/email. If they did, the distribution manager would immediately go online and;
* Check DC and store receiving availability in order to confirm the carrier’s statement,
* Confirm the status of the appointment request (accepted or pending) in addition to checking when the appointment request was made (its history).
By making full use of the online dock scheduling software, the distribution manager was able to enforce accountability and distinguish between valid booking delays versus misconduct on the part of the carrier. Performance reports would, on the one hand, defend the supplier against late arrivals due to the customer’s warehouse capacity and on the other hand, prove the carrier’s misconduct and make them accountable for any penalties that may have been applied by the customer.
Thus the new way of requesting appointments not only saves time, but also improves the on-time delivery rates and accountability. These are indirect benefits obtained because their customer, for reasons specific to their business reality, decided to implement an automated appointment scheduling tool.
The Underestimated Value of Automated Dock Scheduling
One of the first benefits that I emphasize on when promoting an automated appointment scheduling system is all about reducing the number of phone calls required to request, confirm, amend, and book an appointment. Without a doubt this is a major benefit, however I had never counted on providing vendors with:
* A better control over their carriers’ appointment management activities,
* A greater ‘’on time’’ delivery rate relative to the expected delivery dates.
* Improved carrier relations and communication.
A truly great example on how good technology can provide savings across the supply chain.
For more information about C3 Solutions’ Dock Appointment Scheduling Software, request a free demo.