The performance of a shipping dock can be a great indicator of the overall health of a company’s logistics operation. And, as we all know, the ability to evaluate the performance of any function in quantifiable ways starts with looking at as much relevant data as possible.
This means creating a way to track and measure the performance of your dock is an important first step. But, companies can’t stop there. Getting the full benefits comes when it’s considered as part of the broader logistics picture, including connecting it to other key logistics data such as carrier KPI’s (like on-time pickup percentage) and other touchpoints throughout the supply chain process.
We all know the right use of data can fix a lot of things, but that doesn’t mean the process of identifying opportunities for improvement on the dock can’t start with more qualitative questions that have Yes or No answers. These can include:
- Is the process of scheduling and loading trucks cumbersome for your team or carriers?
- Is paperwork frequently lost or incomplete?
- Are loading times too long?
- Are carriers frequently showing up late for pick up?
- Is product frequently unavailable when carriers show up due to production delays?
- Is your company frequently missing delivery-due dates as a result of either?
Most companies know the answer to these questions anecdotally, but it’s more of a feeling than a fact supported with data. When a busy shipping dock is managed with manual tools or disconnected from the organization’s other supply chain systems, that’s unavoidable.
However, using technology to manage a process like carrier appointment setting is a way to get a definitive answer. In fact, what happens on the shipping dock, good or bad, your company’s fault or not, creates data that is a lynchpin of the big picture thinking that companies can use to identify and find solutions to logistics inefficiencies.
With dock scheduling technology, things will improve in many ways.
For example, the complete visibility that most companies are striving for in their logistics operation needs to include a view of dock operations. The value of such clarity and up-to-the-minute knowledge of what’s happening to your entire organization is self-evident.
And with better-timed loading, other benefits follow. Production has a buffer to be more efficient, the amount of space needed to store product is reduced, and staffing levels can be optimized. All because things happen in more predictable ways.
The quantified and combined knowledge of how your shipping dock and carriers perform can lead to targeted improvements and benefits.
Other examples are that with better metrics and data, companies can identify the specific products that are causing the most delays, which will lead to opportunities. Similarly, connecting carriers or products with patterns of OS&D issues enables shippers to deal with the problems more directly.
Armed with data, shippers are able to cut back on costly problems. And with time-verified check-in and loading times, the case for disputing detention and other claims becomes much stronger. It’s not all about fixing the negative, either. Many carriers like the self-serve model that scheduling technology offers, which adds to any company’s credibility as a shipper of choice.
These are all ways that gathering and using data from your dock can contribute to a better overall logistics operation and improve vendor performance.