The capacity crunch is a significant issue for shippers of all sizes and throughout all industries. As Amazon marches forward and HOS regulations take hold, the ability to secure trucking space will present new challenges in supply chain management. While different tactics exist to leverage all available capacity, one area is often overlooked—dock management. Shippers need to understand the current state of the capacity crunch, how dock scheduling software reduces the impact of capacity challenges and the use cases of such software to augment capacity.
The State of the Capacity Crunch and Its Impact on Dock Management
The state of the capacity crunch today is the result of a continued evolution among retailers and the influence of e-commerce. Depending on transportation mode, capacity ebbs and flows. 2018 was among one of the worst years for the capacity crunch due to an improved economy, a growing driver shortage, changing transportation modes and capabilities, and a surge in inventory to get ahead of potential tariffs. The current state of the economy will potentially affect the likelihood of an ongoing capacity crunch this year. Although the economy is growing slightly less than the same time last year, it is still expanding, reports William B Cassidy of JOC.com.
Last December, US industrial production rose 4 percent, and retail sales from the holidays, paired with the forecast from the National Retail Federation, allude to a 2019 retail sales potential of up to $3.84 trillion. Of course, this rests on the ability of manufacturers and producers to continue cranking up production, including trucks.
Dock Scheduling Software Reduces Capacity Challenges
Another factor in considering the risk of the capacity crunch this year is the continued evolution of dock scheduling software. Consider these key ways such software reduces capacity challenges:
- Dock scheduling software is a capacity plan. Instead of filling truck appointments in a time-slot, optimizing the throughput from the warehouse to loading, as well as delivery, requires a capacity plan. With the threat of a capacity crunch hanging over warehouse leaders, they must optimize dock turnaround times and develop a scheduling strategy.
- Dock scheduling software reduces the risk of the costs of failure to secure capacity. Ensuring capacity is essential to meeting business-to-business and direct-to-consumer expectations, especially in light of Amazon’s continued development of its internal fleet.
- Dock scheduling software gives distribution centers and small businesses the ability to streamline shipping. Adaptive dock scheduling software is useful in companies of all sizes, providing managers and shippers with the ability to streamline shipping, loading, unloading and all other dock processes.
- The software provides a safety net of stabilization to operations against the threat of disruptions brought about by any potential political or market force upheaval. No matter the upheaval, whether it be capacity constraints brought on by the government or any market force change, dock scheduling software aids supply chains in smoothing out the wrinkles wrought by these forces.
- Last, but certainly not least, dock scheduling software improves your ability to gain “Shipper of Choice” status with critical carriers. Improved relationships with drivers due to the ease of doing business with shippers thanks to the benefits of dock scheduling software, increases the likelihood your freight will be picked up and delivered on time, even in times of tight capacity.
Use Cases of Dock Scheduling Software to Augment Capacity
There are additional use cases for the application of dock scheduling software to increase available capacity, including:
- Improved compliance with all applicable local, regional, state and federal regulations, decreasing the risk for out-of-service designation for truckers. Such use will be necessary to ensure compliance with new tariff laws as well.
- Management and maintenance of dock equipment, such as correcting forklift-related issues that may lead to workplace injuries, will reduce risk. Forklift-Related injuries cost more than $135 million in direct costs, notes Walt Swietlik of MHL.
- Dock managers can take advantage of back-hauling from similar retailers and other companies operating in the area
- Deployed systems may include automated notification of arrivals, exceptions, and changes to ETA. Thus, managers can account for differences and optimize trucker arrival and unloading/loading.
- The software may also increase the use of freight consolidation/deconsolidation further helping companies scale to meet changing consumer demands too.
Increase Your Capacity With Effective Dock Management
The coming year is not expected to be a rendition of the capacity crunch of 2018. However, the threat of shrinking capacity will always exist. Instead of leaving it to chance, shippers should take a proactive step by implementing a proven solution to increase capacity through effective dock management. Tap into additional capacity by calling 1-514-315-3139 or requesting a C3 Solutions’ dock scheduling software demo now.