Four things you never knew about dock scheduling

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 organizational complexity of these systems requires the latest technology to keep everyone in sync and on time.   

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

Using TSM for dock scheduling 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 our dock scheduling tool 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's wasted time and wasted resources. 

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, you name it — but with proper planning and up-to-date ETAs, yard managers can plan and mitigate congestion to reduce waiting times.

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

11% of all loading or unloading needs 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, bad weather and mechanical issues are just a few of the things that can go wrong.   

For warehouse and yard managers, the best solution is to focus on replanning — and that requires working together across the supply chain to improve communication and coordination.  

Once the whole supply chain technology ecosystem is working together to optimize performance, reducing waiting times, and improve routes, that's when the network effect kicks in.   

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, TSM enables yard operators to put that knowledge to good use.   

Today, fewer than 6% of warehouses are able to reschedule loads automatically. TSM makes it possible 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 dock scheduling.

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 left out of the freezer.  

To fully experience the benefits of TSM, 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 dock scheduling processes saw their wait times go down by an average of 61 minutes.   

This is a win-win-win: optimized 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 TSM for dock scheduling see up to 40% reduced waiting times and up to 20% increase in loading and unloading performance.

TSM 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 dock scheduling and assignment solutions from different providers typically requires building an integration interface for an ERP system or manual file uploads.

Transport Assignment and TSM play well together and don’t require 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
TSM 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 dock schedule durations or inserting/uploading load parameters in a dock scheduling and 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 TSM, 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, providing a comprehensive overview of carrier performance, including metrics like:

  • Acceptance rate

  • Number of transporters

  • On-time performance

  • Visibility coverage

  • Carbon emissions & more

Become a shipper of choice
Carriers prefer to work with shippers that use both Transport Assignment and TSM because the combination improves efficiency, and better efficiency means more trucks on the road, not idling on a lot.

The application handles all the hard work, so there’s no need for manual dock scheduling calculations or tedious uploads of shipment parameters. All they have to do is complete their booking with a few clicks on our easy-to-use platform.

The future of dock scheduling with TSM

Congestion at a warehouse can cause a lot of stress for shippers, recipients, carriers, warehouse workers and drivers, causing increased costs, wait times and demurrage fees. However, a dock scheduling application, especially when used together with real-time visibility tools, can make a big difference.

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
  • Increase Visibility and Prediction.
  • Blend Yard, Transportation and Warehouse Management.
  • Automate Arrival, Check-in and Call-off.
  • Avoid Cost caused by idle and unproductive processes.
  • Monitor, measure and improve KPI support.

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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