Over 87 billion parcels are shipped worldwide every year.
Without any sort of plan or schedule, it would be impossible to manage the supply chain and for retailers to keep a balanced inventory across their warehouses.
What is Shipping Scheduling?
Shipping scheduling is a way to plan out your business’ shipments and deliveries in advance based on your supply chain and customer demand.
5 Main Operational Challenges With Shipping Scheduling
Managing your business’ outbound logistics involves a lot of moving parts — planning, scheduling, working with third parties, ensuring deliveries get where they need to at the right time and to the right place…
All of this results in a few costly operational problems for both shipping managers and clients alike.
1. Lack of proper processes
Many small businesses don’t have a proper process on scheduling shipments. Instead, they rely on the outdated “get it out when we can” type of process.
Process efficiency can make or break a company, especially in complex areas like logistics.
But implementing a congruent process that covers every stage from receiving to delivery is a momentous challenge even for large corporations.
2. Adapting to last-minute orders, cancellations, and product recalls
When last-minute orders come up, especially if they require 2-day or next-day shipping (which 80% of consumers want in 2020) how will you get them out in time?
3. Maintaining speed at every stage of fulfillment
If you have un-optimized fulfillment, by the time your delivery drivers get their hands on the package, it may already be too late to deliver it on time to your customers.
If you don’t coordinate with your suppliers, or packaging takes too long, or you drop the ball at any stage, your package will be late, and your customers won’t be happy.
4. Handling unplanned delays
A single delay can disrupt your entire shipping schedule, especially with scheduled pickup time windows to meet.
With your rote software, you can dynamically replan the routes of all drivers on-the-fly to respond to delays or cancellations. And live ETAs will inform your customers of the potential delays.
5. Unable to coordinate reverse logistics pickups
Reverse logistics is an essential part of the supply chain for many businesses that rely on reusing packaging, like a brewery that supplies kegs to local bars and restaurants.
If you don’t have a dynamic shipping schedule, you won’t be able to coordinate with clients to enable your drivers to make pickups at the same time as drop-offs..
Backward vs. Forward Scheduling
Forward scheduling is when you plan the necessary tasks and stages from the first point your raw materials become available:
Backward scheduling is when you plan the production backwards based on the due delivery date:
You should look for the following features in a shipping scheduling solution:
Can your shipping scheduler optimize routes while your drivers are out on a delivery, and make changes in real-time?
With route optimization, you can automatically plan efficient routes for your drivers for weeks at a time while taking into account dozens of different factors (delivery and pickup time windows, vehicle capacities, traffic, and more).
Can your shipping scheduler work to optimize your fulfillment process?
Choose a route optimization software that has advanced features that help optimize every step of the fulfillment process and minimize failed deliveries and other issues.
Real ETA estimates & automated notifications
Does your shipping scheduler give you accurate ETAs for dropoff or pickup? Does it send automated notifications to ensure pickups go as smoothly as possible?
Choose a software that uses live GPS locations to calculate real shipping ETAs and automatically notifies your clients by email or SMS.
Can your drivers and staff access your shipping scheduling software on the go?
With your route optimization’s mobile app for iPhone and Android, drivers can easily follow the route, confirm address information, and get last-second updates on the road.
Does your software solution integrate with your other business tools?
Through your software’s API, we can integrate with your enterprise resource planning (ERP) software and other essential systems you rely on to run your business.
Real-time tracking of vehicle locations
Does your solution help you keep track of your delivery fleet in real time?
With a route software, both your dispatchers and clients awaiting delivery can quickly check the location of your delivery drivers.
Benefits of an Efficient Shipment Schedule
Putting in place a more efficient delivery and shipment schedule will have far-reaching effects on your shipping operations and your business in general.
Faster shipments and more completed deliveries with existing fleet
Customers get their shipments as fast as possible, even with the possibility of a slowdown somewhere along the way.
By planning efficiently, you can maximize the number of deliveries without increasing the number of vehicles or drivers. Hardie’s Fresh Foods improved delivery capacity by 14% while reducing driver-related costs by 12% with their route optimization software.
Gas and time savings
You save on gas and time by delivering to more addresses and following the most efficient route possible.
Less driver stress
With a route optimization software, drivers get manageable workloads, accurate shipment pickup times, optimized routes, and pre-planned break times. As a result, their stress levels are much lower.
Fewer failed deliveries and pickups
Our software will create a detailed schedule that also adjusts for variables like check-in times and helps keep failed deliveries and pickups to an absolute minimum.
Whether you use a manual process or outdated scheduling software, an inefficient shipping scheduling process means an inefficient workforce.
With the right software, not only do you get access to useful weekly shipment scheduling features, but you also get all the benefits of a full-fledged route optimization solution.
Your dispatchers or warehouse managers can quickly plan deliveries by simply importing upcoming orders.