Multiple warehouses, different schedules, different appointment windows. Most multi-warehouse operators use Excel, a whiteboard, and a lot of phone calls and emails to keep ever-evolving freight schedules aligned.
There are some solutions out there that fall into a couple of different buckets:
- Standalone scheduling solutions often offer the best functionality, at a reasonable price point for small to midsize warehouse operators and logistics businesses. Standalone systems come in varieties of styles but generally combine an ability for Customers, Partners, or Carriers to schedule an appointment proactively, edit the appointment based on freight-readiness or transport conditions, check-in, and on the other end for the Warehouse Operator to see a live calendar of appointments.
- For large enterprises with large internal IT teams and massive budgets, warehouse scheduling can be a part of their ERP system. Solutions in ERP systems, while integrated, typically lag behind standalone solutions in functionality, both in features and usability across personal devices.
Standalone solutions are often from smaller vendors that are more nimble and responsive to the needs of Warehouse Managers, rather than the needs of an entire organization. This provides an advantage as standalone solutions tend to be more user-friendly with pre-made reports for the target audience. With a smaller system to maintain, standalone systems are usually much faster to get started and typically cost a small fraction of what a Warehouse Scheduling module in an ERP system would.
Standalone solutions, like Dock Optimizer, provide the flexibility to collect proactive appointment data, from a static page that Customers, Partners, or Carriers would use to see availability and match it to their logistics schedule, to a simple check-in process for drop-ins.