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7 min read

How well (or not) warehouses are managed can have a major impact on the supply chain. Efficiency is key in keeping operations running smoothly. Do the 5 following frustrations sound familiar to you? You're in luck: there is a solution.

1. Crowded yards, chaos at docks, delays on the ramps

We talk to a lot of warehouse managers who say that running a warehouse is no cake walk. Often, it’s like walking the plank of a pirate ship. Workers trying to sort out how to handle a flood of deliveries that arrive at the same dock at the same time, at the wrong dock at the wrong times, or not at all.

Queues longer than a Soviet era bread line. Long story short: workers are drowning. And stressed because (un)loading delays lead to unhappy customers, jeopardized production lines, and unhappy drivers. And they often bear the brunt of this frustration.

What it looks like:

Imagine a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off loading and unloading docks like they’re trying to build Rome in a day. Then imagine Rome is on fire. What do you get? If your answer was “A whole lot of fried chicken”, you’re not far off the mark: A warehouse staff that is burnt out and a yard that is operating inefficiently.


2. No idea where the truck is and why it isn’t there

No one likes being in the dark. Okay, maybe bats and owls, but not warehouse staff. They need to know what’s happening... all the time: Which truck will be at loading dock 7 at 10:45 am, when a highway closes due to a flood delaying Driver X, or if Driver Z took the proverbial road less travelled meaning he won’t be there until tomorrow.

They need to know this information when it’s relevant: aka. in advance and in real-time.

What it looks like:

Ever seen a bat outta hell? That’s the look that warehouse staff have on their face when they have no idea what’s coming, which, if there is no effective digital planning tool for your yard, is often.


3. Warehouse workers working overtime

A common problem in warehouse management is when a bunch of trucks show up first thing in the morning all at the same time. The logic behind this in the carrier’s mind is the hope that there might be enough time to make two trips in one day.

So what happens then? The yard is a flurry of activity early in the day, only to die down to nothing in the late morning, and then ramp back up again in the mid-afternoon as trucks return with second loads. What does this lead to? You guessed it! Overtime.

What it looks like:

A tsunami of trucks trying to get into the yard, bottlenecks, delays before the day has even started. Bracing for peak times at breakneck pace. Then a whole lot of thumb twiddling during idle times when deliveries slow to a stop. What you might call “the ASAP gap”: too much all at once and nothing when there could be something happening.

It’s the real-life version of The Tortoise and the Hare. Remember the moral of that story?


4: No clear working schedule

No one can successfully operate according to the principle “expect the unexpected” when using an archaic scheduling system and referring to a static document. It just isn’t possible to handle exceptions efficiently as they come up.

Managing issues on the fly while calmly staying on top of other deliveries needs to be the established way of working for warehouse staff.

But if there’s no way to balance yard capacity and truck volume, it’s a bit like heading out into uncharted, pirate-infested waters with a chest of booty. (Okay, maybe it’s nothing like that, but the point is you’re vulnerable when faced with a management crisis of epic proportions.)

What it looks like:

Warehouse workers who can’t take a lunch break (or eat lunch at 11 am), or half your workers out on an extended lunch break when a bunch of trucks show up ahead of schedule. (If you’ve never seen a warehouse worker who hasn’t had lunch, they look about as upset as a child whose fries have been stolen by a flock of seagulls.)


5: Difficult relationship with carriers

It’s a sad byproduct of human nature that when things go wrong, people start pointing fingers. Carriers often get the fallout from stressed-out warehouse workers blaming drivers for massive disruptions to the schedule.

Meanwhile, drivers get angry that they have to waste time waiting for a ramp or dock to clear. The icing on this unfortunate cake is that mistakes and wasted time costs both sides money. When emotions run high due to the four frustrations mentioned above, contact between the yard and the carriers becomes tense.

What it looks like:

Hand-wringing, fist shaking, horns honking. Irate drivers crashing into loading docks. Warehouse staff calling it quits for the day when trucks are still waiting to unload. In short, total mutiny. Okay, so maybe we’re exaggerating a little, but you get the point.



Drum roll please: a dynamic Time Slot Booking solution.

With one, you can:

Go from... To:
crowded yards, chaos at docks, delays on the ramps streamlined yards, busy docks, well coordinated ramps
having no idea where the truck is and why it isn’t there live updates on where the trucks are
warehouse workers working overtime warehouse workers working normal hours
no clear working schedule clear working schedules
difficult relationship with carriers positive contact with carriers

On the plus side, this kind of tool allows you to... 

  • Set healthy boundaries:

    Define parameters that keep your yard manageable. Set your maximum capacity (number of docks, available warehouse workers, opening hours) so that things don’t get out of hand.
  • Create order:

    Divide dock availability into bookable time slots that are dynamic, meaning you can move them around as necessary at any moment of the day.
  • Offload the work:

    Let carriers book available slots at their convenience using an easy-to-use self-service portal.
  • Get perspective:

    Monitor what is happening at all warehouse docks, synchronize this information and identify exceptions in real-time so you can take action on small issues before they become big problems.
  • Be proactive:

    Have a clear overview of all inbound and outbound shipments as well as precise ETA information that allows you to easily change time slots if a driver isn’t going to show up on time. Swap time slots or docks while on the go, and inform carriers of these changes via alerts.
  • Stay efficient:

    By aligning the number of anticipated carrier shipments with your available resources, you can create the ideal (un)loading sequence for each load and truck. Want to get rid of line-ups at your warehouse? Book a free trial.
  • Create your own (alternate) reality:

    Okay, so we can’t go as far as setting your yard up like a Pirates of the Caribbean fantasy land, but we can help you better manage exceptions. Take what’s already planned and match it with a constantly changing reality.

    Need to completely reschedule all your docks in under 10 minutes due to a spill or fire? Done. Time Slot Booking allows you to stick to business as usual, even under duress. Avoid slots going to waste, see what’s coming (or not), and adapting accordingly.

With a Time Slot Booking solution, managing your yard will not only become a cake walk, you’ll be able to have your cake and eat it, too.

And your warehouse team won’t feel like they’re on a sinking ship being overtaken by pirates. Now if that’s not a reason to sing Yo ho, Ho! (And a bottle of rum), then we don’t know what is.

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