Four things you never knew about Time Slot Management

09/28/2023 | 10 min

There’s an old saying: a man with one watch knows the time. A man with two is never sure.   

When it comes to keeping trucks on time at warehouses or distribution centres, keeping everything on time is more complex than checking your watch, but the effect is the same. The inherent organisational complexity of these systems requires the latest technology to keep everyone in sync and on time.   

Time Slot Management (TSM) is a tool to help organise warehouse resources by managing ETAs, setting loading or unloading times, and tracking paperwork, among other tasks.  

Using TSM has proven benefits, such as reduced waiting times by up to 40%, increased loading and unloading performance by up to 20%, savings in demurrage fees, accelerated processes and more efficient use of resources.

Here are four aspects of Time Slot Management and dock scheduling that just might transform your warehouses and distribution centres. 

1. Wait times and costs add up quicker than you think

44% of warehouses have an average wait time between 60 and 120 minutes. 

Not only that, but according to a recent survey,  7% of warehouses have an average wait of longer than 120 minutes. That is not only time lost, it’s also a waste of resources: the driver’s time, idling costs, and missed time on the road. 

So why is it so hard to predict accurate arrivals and funnel carriers swiftly through loading and unloading?   

The most common cause is drivers arriving at unexpected times, leading to unexpected peaks and warehouse congestion. There are many reasons a truck may arrive late — traffic on the road, construction, and a myriad of other factors affect arrival times — but with proper planning and up-to-date ETAs, yard managers can better plan resources to mitigate congestion and reduce waiting times.

2. Change happens — but together we can reduce the impact

11% of loadings or unloading need to be rescheduled every day.

Some people believe efficiency depends on having a perfect plan.  In logistics, we know there is no such thing.  Traffic jams, missed appointments, inclement weather, and mechanical issues are just a few ways our carefully laid plans can all be ruined.   

For warehouse and yard managers, the best solution is not to double-down on planning, but to focus on replanning — and that requires working together across the supply chain to improve communication and coordination.  

The network effect kicks in when the entire supply chain technology ecosystem work together to optimise performance, reducing waiting times, optimising routes, and ultimately reducing Carbon emissions.   

In this context, dock scheduling is just one part of this greater network effect — but that should in no way diminish its importance. If the network effect is able to provide greater transparency and accuracy around loading and unloading, Time Slot Management is what enables yard operators to put that knowledge to good use.   

Today, fewer than 6% of warehouses are able to reschedule loads automatically. Time Slot Management provides the technology necessary to transform data into cost savings.

3. Value is won — or lost — in real time

74% of respondents believe that real-time data can make the biggest impact on time slot management.

The best information is useless if you get it too late. And when it comes to warehouse management, ETAs have a shorter shelf life than ice cream.  

To fully experience the benefits of Time Slot Management, we need to couple that dock scheduling technology with the power of real-time visibility. This data integration allows for better tracking of assets on the move, updating yard managers on early or later arrivals while automatically adjusting dock scheduling and reallocating resources.   

Survey respondents who integrated real-time data into their Time Slot Management saw their wait times go down by an average of 61 minutes.   

This is a win-win-win: optimised warehouse management, reduced costs associated with waiting, and increased carrier satisfaction.

4. Better together: the joint power of Transport Assignment and Time Slot Management

Transporeon customers who implement Time Slot Management see up to 40% reduced waiting times and up to 20% increase in loading and unloading performance.

Time Slot Management is an effective stand-alone solution for yards and warehouses, but it truly shines when paired with our Transport Assignment solution. Shippers who are already using Transport Assignment or other Transporeon tools are in a great position to take advantage of the power of connected solutions.

Forget about expensive integrations and manual effort
Using time slot booking and assignment solutions from different providers typically requires building an integration interface for an ERP system or manual file uploads.

Transport Assignment and Time Slot Management play well together and don’t require building any additional expensive integrations or manual effort. Once you’ve assigned the shipment, the application automatically creates available time slots and notifies the carrier to book the most suitable time slot.

Get automated time slot recommendations
Time Slot Management accounts for load parameters specified during shipment assignment, such as vehicle type, weight, number of pallets, and type of goods, and automatically recommends a tailored time slot and the right dock to handle the shipment.
With those automated recommendations, warehouse and yard managers can save time on manually calculating time slot durations or inserting/uploading load parameters in a time slot booking solution. 

Enjoy the bird's eye view
Standalone dock scheduling systems only provide ETAs of your own loads. By using Transport Assignment together with Time Slot Management, you’ll get a 360° view of all loads, including tracking capabilities, so you can monitor your trucks on the map at all times.

Identify the best carriers with ease
By combining the two solutions, shippers gain access to Network Insights and Analytics Dashboards, which gives them a comprehensive overview of carrier performance, including metrics such as:

  • Acceptance rate

  • Number of transporters

  • On-time performance

  • Visibility coverage

  • Carbon emissions & more

Become a shipper of choice
Carriers prefer working with shippers using both solutions since it helps them be more efficient and spend more time on their bread and butter – keeping their trucks on the road.

The application handles all the hard work, so there’s no need for manual time slot calculations or tedious uploads of shipment parameters. All they have to do is complete their booking with a few clicks on the platform they already know and love.

The future of Time Slot Management

Congestion at a warehouse can cause a lot of stress for shippers, recipients, carriers, warehouse workers, and drivers, resulting in increased costs associated with wait times and demurrage charges. However, a time slot management application, especially when used together with real-time visibility tools, can significantly improve outcomes.

The future of time slot management applications hinges on the use of real-time data to improve ETAs which will increase efficiency during the check-in, loading, unloading, and departure processes.


Explore more of our digital freight solutions

Together our products work in harmony to increase transport efficiency along the full lifecycle of freight activities.

Dock & Yard Management Hub

Time Slot Management

Time Slot Management
  • Full transparency of delivery and pick-up times for all parties 
  • Efficient use of resources due to the even and predictable distribution of loadings and unloadings
  • Reduction of waiting times for trucks by up to 40%
  • Audit-proof and legal compliance through fully documented processes
  • Quick response and operational optimization through fast communication and real-time data

Dock & Yard Management Hub

Real-Time Yard Management

Real-Time Yard Management
  • Improve overall visibility and ability to predict changes.
  • Combine yard, transport, and warehouse management.
  • Automate arrivals, check-ins, and call-offs.
  • Avoid costs and fees caused by idle and inefficient processes.
  • Monitor, measure, and improve KPIs.

Transport Execution Hub

No-Touch Order

No-Touch Order
  • Automated shipment execution processes.
  • Fewer empty runs.
  • Cut process costs by up to 30%.

Transport Execution Hub

Best Carrier

Best Carrier
  • Access the spot market more easily.
  • Cut transaction costs by up to 19%.
  • React quickly to market fluctuations.
  • Improve process efficiency with better integrations.
  • Cloud-based system provides real-time transparency.

Visibility Hub

Real Time Workflow

Real Time Workflow
  • Less labor-intensive solution due to electronic workflows and paperless management of transport documents.
  • Integration of drivers into the digital workflow.
  • Immediate updates about status changes and shipping stages of the goods to be delivered.
  • Photographic documentation of transport damage and proof of cargo safety.

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