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Looking at Dock & Yard Management Technology to Stem Supply Chain Chaos

This blog was originally posted on the Let's Talk Supply Chain blog.

Greg Braun, Chief Revenue Officer at C3 Solutions, recently had a chance to discuss the history of dock and yard management at C3 Solutions and how those innovations are giving rise to a new age of logistics efficiency on the Let’s Talk Supply Chain Podcast. 

C3 Solutions is not a new company by far, but their innovations are driving a new standard for efficiency in dock and yard management without the high costs of building an in-house platform and leveraging APIs and technology to calm the supply chain storm. Plus, he shared some great news regarding future developments for driver-enabled, proactive controls that will further the causes of efficient dock and yard management too. Here are some of the highlights from that conversation. 

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C3 Solutions’ Products for Dock and Yard Management Technology Live Within the Same Platform.

Braun explained how much of the value of C3 Solutions and the innovations driving the industry come from a unified system infrastructure. For example, some customers may not need much dock scheduling, but they may rely heavily on drop-and-hook programs, creating complexity and confusion in their yards. That’s where C3 Solutions can bring order to chaos by optimizing the yard drivers, planning trailer moves, and continuing to create an orchestra of in-yard moves.

C3 Dock Scheduling Helps Leaders Throttle Docks When Necessary.

Part of the benefit of C3 Solutions Dock Management is the ability to set a maximum number of appointments based on different rulesets. For instance, setting a specific number of appointments on Monday versus fewer on Wednesday when staff are otherwise busy. Once that plan has been added to the software, the system becomes automatic, giving carriers and suppliers the ability to self-schedule appointments and lessening the workload of dock teams and management. If the schedule does get out of hand, such as an unplanned supplier’s arrival, or an error on the part of the carrier, managers could also use the software to throttle new bookings to ensure staff can safely unload and put away freight. 

Now, the software alleviates the concerns over miscommunications in appointment scheduling, and even if something is overlooked, users can set alerts to help everyone stay informed and ready when appointments draw near. The same capabilities can be applied to improve transparency into warehouse receiving, eliminating manual status calls to find out if freight has arrived, which leads naturally to improved inventory transparency for e-commerce and omnichannel customers. 

Late arrival - driver wait timeBut going back to that unexpected or late arrival. If the driver’s going to be late, the software is evolving to give drivers a way to check-in in advance. This includes sharing the GPS location in real-time, which will reduce delays at the gate and help avoid issues with flexing the dock schedule to accommodate changes.

However, that advancement is really the tip of the iceberg. If drivers have a way to inform warehouses of potential changes in ETA automatically, the warehouse could conceivably increase appointments to fill blank slots, and drivers can avoid excess wait time. This becomes a win-win scenario for both drivers and warehouses.

What About Innovation in the Yard?

The yard management solution at C3 Solutions was designed for scalability, and it’s that scalability that helps companies go from an SMB to a competitor to Amazon and major companies. This is also true in managing shipments that are not necessarily full truckload, for instance, allowing companies to plan partial truckload loading/unloading and turning more locations into hub-like centers. But yard management and dock management go hand-in-hand, and ironically, many yard management users at C3 Solutions don’t necessarily rely on the dock scheduling software. 

The integration between that user’s TMS and the C3 platform itself can be used to naturally improve dock management by reducing confusion in the yard, even if that means parking at the dock itself. In this fashion, yard management blends seamlessly into dock management.

C3 Solutions has also used its technology to help reduce empty backhauls by giving shippers insight into their total moves, including those where dunnage, supplier equipment, such as pallets and crates, can be tracked in the trailer and accounted for in the movement of goods. Thus, the whole process grows in transparency and is able to be completed faster. Such advances have an additional implication for managing sensitive goods, such as groceries moving in reefer or items that require a strong chain-of-custody, like pharmaceuticals.

The Big Picture

C3 Solutions started with in-house software that became a go-to solution for companies that needed a better strategy for managing the dock and yard. It’s impossible to accurately cover every detail in the podcast in such a short blog, so be sure to listen to the full podcast here.

In the interim, learn more about C3 Solutions and see their technology in action by requesting a demo today. 

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Managing your operation with integrated systems is the way forward. Learn what it means to run a truly ‘digitized’ organization!

Download our White Paper: How to Succeed in Complex World