I haven’t done an official study, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that most dock managers probably wish that they had someone like Captain Chaos from the movie “Cannonball Run” to play defense for them. Wouldn’t it be great if you had a dedicated ally to defend your time and the sanity of your warehouse? One that was available 24/7 and didn’t need a cape?
At AppointmentPlus, we help our Logistics clients take back control of their docks with our easy-to-use scheduling software. I recently sat down with Zach Smith, one of our Logistics scheduling software experts, to talk about:
- The upsides of moving from a whiteboard or Excel system of dock management to a digital scheduling system. The ability to avoid dock fees, easy access to data, and customer support are just a few.
- Why it’s so important to determine what aspects of your work day you want to maximize, and what resources are scarce, before developing your scheduling plan.
- How scheduling software is not a one-size-fits-all application. At AppointmentPlus, we help our clients carefully calibrate the online scheduler to meet their needs.
Catch our talk in the short video below, or check out the transcription that follows.
Dun Dun Duuuuuuun!
WE DEAL IN TIME MANAGEMENT
Zach: My name is Zach (laughter). I’ve been here for about five years.
Kendall: Zach is one of our Scheduling Software Experts; he knows so much about the platform and what it does. Some of the questions we’ve received this week are about “What does AppointmentPlus do?” Instead of me answering that, I’ll have Zach do it.
Zach: When you’re dealing in the realm of time, it’s all very fluid. It’s hard to define exactly what scheduling software can do for you until you define exactly how long it takes to send an email, or three emails or five emails to get an appointment scheduled.
So what we really do [at AppointmentPlus] is deal in the field of time management, and making the most of that time. It’s still your time, and you have to choose what to do with it, but at the end of the day we’re here to make you more of it, whether that’s through automated communications, or simply having all of your stuff in one place.
That’s what we do—we make time more valuable.
Kendall: Another question that came in was “How can [AppointmentPlus] help me?
Zach: Lately we’ve had this wonderful stronghold in the Logistics vertical, [specifically] warehouse management. I think answering the “How can it help me?” question is best suited for a specific vertical.
So, if we’re talking Logistics, I’d say [AppointmentPlus] helps most with workforce management, putting some sense of order into the chaos, and being able to report on what’s happening in your facility.
Instead of just thinking that you can combat a detention fee because you’re pretty sure [you can prove] that a truck got [to the dock] 20 minutes early and didn’t have to wait in the yard for an extra hour, you can simply click twice and have that data right at your fingertips [on an AppointmentPlus report].
So more than how can it help you, it’s a matter of fitting our system to your solution. [You don’t have to] switch the way you do everything in order to use scheduling software.
ADDING ORDER TO LOGISTICS CHAOS
Kendall: In Logistics specifically, what are some of the key things people are looking for [in scheduling software]?
Zach: We come across a lot of situations where people are using an Excel spreadsheet or a whiteboard to manage a phenomenal warehouse. In the back of my head I’m always so shocked that I can barely manage my day-to-day with the help of scheduling software, and these folks are managing 20 doors with trucks coming in and out of the facility [with spreadsheets].
Frankly, the best way we help, the biggest thing we do, [is that] we just add order to this. You can build your ideal bay, take the scheduling out of your hands and send it to your carriers, and let them schedule when they’re going to arrive. It’s easier for them, it’s easier for you, and at the end of the day, it gives you the power to control exactly what’s happening.
Kendall: You said it’s easier for them. But is going from an Excel spreadsheet to an online platform hard for some people?
Zach: You would think so. But once [our online appointment scheduling software] is set up it’s a set-it and forget-it situation. I have no benefit in lying in this circumstance. You have to set this thing up and define what your ideal day looks like, and from there you just sit back.
Kendall: That’s a good point about defining what [users of the logistics software] need. Some questions came in about “What do I need to present to you to make sure I’m asking the right questions [and get the software set up correctly].
Zach: That’s a good one. I’d say identifying the scarce resources is a real challenge for all of us in our day-to-day existence. Is the scarce resource my car, my time, the dogs I have to feed before work?
In warehouses, the scarce resource might be a dock door. But more frequently, it’s a representation of a lift, the number of people in the facility, or really just what your ideal workflow looks like.
Can you take four inbound deliveries at 8 a.m.? Are you going to have the workforce to do that? Are you going to have places for those trucks? Are we going to be able to manage everything on the back end, compiling what needs to be loaded or unloaded to make it work?
What you need to decide for yourself is “what determines what I can do for a day?”
Kendall: After [clients] determine what they can do for a day, what are their next steps when talking with you?
Zach: The next step is to get [the schedule] built out. Get it built, and then what we do is we’ve got some templated emails you send to your carriers or vendors or whomever is responsible for booking these appointments, and they just say, “moving forward click here to use our online platform.” It’s like the date and time, they fill out some basic information and it’s over.
Kendall: Got it. Send your questions to us, go to any of our social networks and we’ll answer your questions. We’re here to assist you, here to help you with all your questions about scheduling, and Zach’s a good guy to talk to.