Dock Scheduling integration with Load Execution

Author: Victor Isaev
Victor Isaev
FMS Software Architect
McLeod Software

Freight Management Solutions’ Dock scheduling module is the result of a study done for a nation-wide chemicals supply chain management company. The shipping of hazardous chemicals entails strict requirements for temperature control, hazmat regulations, warehouse management integration, scheduling and, most important, real-time visibility. FMS Dock Scheduling module assists with the scheduling and online visibility of tasks, providing a central point of contact between the shipper, dock manager, dock operator, carrier dispatcher and the driver.

An important aspect is the seamless integration of Dock Scheduling into the Load Execution Process.  You never know when the appointment information becomes available, but once it does, there must be a way to make it known to all the parties and enforce it. With FMS, the dock appointment can even pre-date the actual load creation in the TMS. You can book the time slot in advance and then use it once the shipment data is available and entered into the system.

At all times, the information is available from two different perspectives: the load details perspective and the appointments list perspective. The load details perspective is answering the question of whether the appointment is required for the locations involved, whether it is requested, scheduled, confirmed or denied and needs to be rescheduled. The appointments list perspective keeps the list of all upcoming appointments – those that need to be requested, those that are confirmed, those that are and risk at require special attention to the point of rescheduling.

The warehouse or shipping location business process can map to the FMS Dock Scheduling almost directly. Each dock at the location can be set up individually, with its own schedule, reflecting shifts, days of the week, holidays, pickup or delivery availability at the dock and the appointment duration. Understanding that each dock location is working with multiple interconnected systems, we are providing a way to set up a cut-off time for appointment scheduling.

Notifications are issued to all of the parties involved and can be customized for each location. The notifications include carrier notifications, emergency pickup/delivery messages as well as all kinds of alerts for appointments confirmations, modifications, rejections and deletions. Warehouse managers or dock users can also receive email reminders for pending scheduled events.

Appointment setup in FMS Dock Scheduling is very similar to the one in the Microsoft Outlook or Google Calendar. For each dock, for each day the available time slots are shown. Depending on the dock location settings, appointment creation has some mandatory fields that need to be completed – those may include carrier name, contact person or pallet count.

Should the shipping / dock scheduling scenario start with the appointment creation, the FMS shipment records – a load – which will be created automatically, enabling a single material point of reference for all entities involved in the transportation process. The Load record is available to dock users, carrier users and shipper users and it’s their job to negotiate the feasibility of the appointment. There is always an option of automatic confirmation, where the slot available becomes the slot confirmed. This is especially convenient when the process is established past the point of early adoption.

What’s important from the Load Execution standpoint is that under no circumstances shall the truck driver show to the dock unannounced, without having a proper appointment scheduled. That’s when the business logic kicks in and the requirements set for a given location are enforced – shipping process cannot proceed until and unless the date and time is negotiated and parties sign off on it, approving all the information submitted.

Final part of the Dock Scheduling module integration with Load Execution workflow is its footprint in the Arrival and Departure module, where the load progress is tracked and information is updated. Once again, dock constraints are enacted here. If any of the load’s stops is a location with Dock Scheduling enabled, carrier’s arrive and departure information input is blocked until the appointment is confirmed and accepted. This ensures both data integrity and exception-free operation for warehouse locations.

For more information, contact:

Cody Arnold,
Regional Sales Manager
Office Phone: (205) 907-0983

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