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Ron's Thoughts: Dock Scheduling & Yard Management

Ron Sellers
March 27, 2020
Dock Scheduling

As you read this, I hope you, your family and others that you work with are safe and healthy during these uncertain times. That said, I feel confident that we will get through this, together, and that if we can prepare now, the home furnishings industry will be stronger than ever as we head into the future.

Even if you’re not able to be there physically, one area where you can focus on improvement is dock scheduling and yard management. Now, I’m not sure how you’re managing your docks now, but I am sure you’ve spent plenty of time creating a system that works for you, your traffic managers and your business. You’re a smart business owner, and you have great people and you’ve been successful with your method. The next step is taking what you’ve already created, and giving it a boost with low-cost efficiencies that help you get cash and keep it.

For a lot of companies that I’ve spoken to, their dock and yard are managed by a traffic manager, who has all their schedules in a binder or a spreadsheet, or maybe in their head. And when trucks and trailers come into the yard, they’re being treated on a first-come-first-serve basis. Sure, that makes sense. You get what you need, the trucks get cleared out, and at the end of the day your store is stocked and you can focus on deliveries.

What if, instead of scheduling trucks in the order they arrive, you could know what’s inside each truck in advance, and be able to choose which truck makes the most sense to unload first, based on your stock needs and open orders.  No, I’m not talking about X-Ray vision (though that would be cool.) I’m talking about using the superpower that is your ASNs.

There are a ton of expensive and impressive dock scheduling options out there. But what makes ecUtopia different is that our solution captures purchase order and ASN data on each freight through our integrations. We can give you that information ahead of time, so you know exactly what each truck is carrying, and can schedule your dock in a way that lets you recognize your revenue faster.

Say you’re a furniture retailer. You’ve got two trucks coming in. The first truck arriving is full of items you need to stock-- sofas, chairs, maybe a few tables. The second item is also full of furniture, but this one has several pieces that are part of open purchase orders. If you could bring in the second truck first, you could cross-dock the items due for delivery and get them to the customers faster. This means happier consumers, and you’ll be able to recognize your revenue sooner.  If you’re using pre-labeling from ecUtopia, even better, because you just scan the bar code, reload, and deliver.

All the meanwhile, your dock workers are preparing the space for the stock items, so they can be unloaded quickly and put in the right spot. Not only are you helping your employees operate better; faster unloading means less dock congestion, a cleaner yard, fewer detention fees… the list goes on and on.

As I said, we will get through these tough times, just as we have before. And if you need help getting your business in the best position possible for the future, ecUtopia is here for you. We’ve got tools to help, but more importantly, we’ve got people who are passionate about home furnishings and are excited to pick up the phone (from their socially distanced, work from home offices).

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