Over the past five years we’ve written a lot regarding the importance of automating your dock scheduling operation. In the past we’ve tried to share with you what we have learned in working with our existing customers and we’ve emphasized what some of the key benefits are that you could expect by implementing a dock scheduling system. At the risk of repeating ourselves the key benefits can be summarized as follows:
- Reduce the administrative effort necessary to manage appointment requests up to 80-95%.
- Improve your dock productivity by smoothing out your workload across the shift and eliminating overtime hours.
- Reduce or eliminate completely driver detention charges.
In addition, we’ve emphasized that a well organized schedule, with proper follow-up, can make vendors and carriers more accountable to your operation. We know from our customer experiences that when you hold suppliers and carriers accountable they will respect the appointment times you provide them. What we didn’t know is the quantifiable value of supplier on-time delivery - well thanks to the Wall Street Journal we now have a better idea of the value of dock scheduling as it pertains to sales opportunity costs.
“Produce or Else: Wal-Mart and Kroger Get Tough With Food Suppliers on Delays'' (published in the Wall Street Journal on November 27th, 2017) documents the tough measures that certain retailers are taking towards delinquent suppliers. The reason suppliers are being made more accountable is that retailers now recognize the enormous costs associated with out of stock products. If ever you needed an additional reason to justify improving your scheduling operation, now you have it. As online giants such as Amazon increase their market share, reducing costs and improving customer service has never been more important. If you want an insight into how the massive traditional retailers are managing this problem I strongly suggest you read this article.
Here are some of the more interesting points:
“.... sales of some $75 billion a year are lost because products are out of stock or unsalable for other reasons, according to the Food Marketing Institute, a trade organization. That is about 10% of annual grocery sales industry wide at a time when margins are squeezed and sales growth is hard to come by.”
“An out-of-stock on an important product can lead to thousands of lost consumers in a given day,” said J.P. Morgan food analyst Ken Goldman.
Wal-Mart executives say a more-precise delivery window keeps shelves stocked and the flow of products more predictable, while reducing inventory…. “the change could create $1 billion in additional sales over time”, they said.
The good news is taking control of your scheduling operation is not an insurmountable task. There are many cloud based scheduling solutions out there that will allow you to optimize your inbound scheduling while encouraging suppliers to tighten their delivery windows.
I encourage you to further explore how you can begin a process to help your organization benefit from improved scheduling.