Appointment Scheduling - Achieving the Positive Ripple Effect Part 3: An Illustration

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Appointment Scheduling Achieving the Positive Ripple Effect

Part 3: An Illustration

Featured Author - Rachel Nemecek - July 1, 2002

Carrier Illustration

The example shown below of a national truckload carrier illustrates perfectly benefits described in Part Two. Particularly noteworthy is the additional capacity made available through decreased waiting time.

Figure 1.

Taking a carrier who drives 1 billion miles per year, based on their number of tractors, each tractor currently drives approximately 2,072 miles per week.

Table 2.

Using the wait time figure of 33.5 hours per week (cited from the National Dry Van Drivers Survey) the total number of miles that could be gained from eliminating wait time could be determined. However, as it is not feasible to eliminate wait time completely, these figures are then divided in half to present a more realistic picture. If wait time could be reduced to 17 hours per week, each tractor could gain an additional 32,160 miles per year.

Table 3.

These additional miles per tractor, even when adjusted for overhead, carry a significant profit potential.

Table 4.

With the figures calculated above it can be determined that an additional 32.3% capacity could be gained for an astounding 323 million mile increase for this carrier overall.

Greater capacity utilization translates to lower rates for shippers and receivers and improved carrier relations. By improving appointment scheduling through the type of system outlined above, dock operations become more efficient and wait time decreases, bringing about the benefits illustrated here.

This is Part Three of a three-part article on appointment scheduling. Part One discussed the problem, Part Two proposed a solution. This part is an illustration of the proposed solution.

Realizing The Advantages

As appointment scheduling is often filled with miscommunication and frustration for shippers, receivers and carriers, there are great benefits to be gained from the diligent pursuit of an efficient scheduling system. Real-time communication can help to minimize loading and unloading delays, providing a revenue benefit to carriers and increase driver satisfaction. Increased benefit to carriers can translate to lower freight costs for shippers and receivers and minimized detention charges.

Providing a centralized repository of order information, linked to shipments and appointments, promotes the adherence to delivery schedules required by Purchasing. In the end, when best practices are employed in appointment scheduling, distribution is streamlined, inventory is maintained at optimal levels and product is available to the end customer when it is desired. Advantages from appointment scheduling SKU level visibility, supplier compliance, access to historical trends, decreased freight rates and greater resource utilization equate to a powerful competitive advantage in any industry. Efficient dock scheduling, achieved through an Internet appointment scheduling system, can create a ripple of benefit across supply chain departments that cut costs and bring advantages to all.

About The Author

Rachel Nemecek

Ms. Nemecek is a Senior Business Analyst at Elogex, Inc. a collaborative logistics software provider ( and has several years of industry experience in supply chain operations and application development. Her background includes supervisor positions in export operations and international trade logistics at Schenker International and E.Boyd & Associates. Nemecek has a deep operational knowledge in all forms of transportation - road, rail, ocean, and air and several software methodologies including the Rational Unified Process. Nemecek graduated with Honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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