Improving the process of booking cargo and delivery slots with their principals and recipients has become a key productivity issue for transport companies. Here are the constraints to be grasped and the solutions.
Appointment booking has become over the years an essential service for clients. Need to organize platform schedules, explosion of delivery to individuals and growth of e-commerce are factors that explain this need.
If this service meets real expectations, it is not always a source of value for the carrier, but rather a consumer of time and resources. Grouped under the unique name of appointment scheduling, this function, however, has several very different needs depending on the type of senders or recipients addressed. Therefore, it cannot be managed in a single way.
However, despite the maturity of the technologies, making appointments is still often a manual operation. The digitization of these exchanges is, therefore, a strong point of differentiation for the operator. This axis is a source of value creation because customer feedback will essentially be formed at the time of delivery.
B2B: Between Transport Optimization and Warehouse Scheduling
“Discover Doctolib from the warehouse”: that’s the promise – which sets the trend for the first internet-referenced scheduling platform. The stakes are high on the client side as it allows you to scale the teams in your warehouse. Although it generates an increase in operations, this organization also tends to be beneficial for the carrier, who must be able to reduce their waiting times for loading or delivery, improving the efficiency of logistics platforms;
Specifically, the carrier schedules an appointment by email or telephone with a defined contact. Even if the carrier manages to optimize its management of sending emails, the time it takes to exchange with its interlocutor on the logistical side to define the right slot is incomprehensible. It is in this context that in recent years many intermediaries have emerged, offering portals for booking appointments. To date, some operators have around fifteen different portals, including Mercareon, Transporeon, Shippeo, Gedmouv, Dc Planner, etc.
Having become a standard requirement of principals and their customers, operators are increasingly looking for the best way to digitize this exchange. However it is not easy. The configuration of an EDI between the portal and the TMS will hardly meet this demand. We are not quite in the case of a real appointment where the carrier offers one or more slots available to him and where the interlocutor chooses, but in an inverse situation. The logistician opens appointment times for the various carriers who must book one of the ones that are still available. Consultation, reflection and booking time is therefore constantly challenged by the hidden but real-time actions of other transport operators. Based on this observation, even a quick-change technology does not make it possible to efficiently and securely automate the reservation of slots.
TMS solutions can, however, improve the ergonomics of the work environment for carrier operations personnel by offering two things:
- The automatic positioning of the url of the logistic point marking portal in the order, as soon as this address is entered and selected. Thus, the person responsible for scheduling appointments only has to click on it and mark his appointment, visually maintaining his order, constraints, number of management units and other useful information contained in the command.
- Automatic repatriation of time stamped data for the selected time interval on the booking site imposed by the customer, in the order with the configuration of an event of type SCHEDULE DONE or VALIDATED to mark the order as processed in terms of planning. This automatism is part of the implementation of an EDI from the customer portal to the TMS.
BtoC: the goal of a one-time delivery
Managing delivery to an individual is entirely different. First, of course, it doesn’t have an appointment scheduling portal. He especially received, at the time of his purchase, the promise of an appointment by the carrier to postpone with him the best time to deliver it. Here, the issue for the client is to guarantee to his final client, the recipient to be delivered, a delivery on time, planned with him, in a date and time range that suits the client. More than a short deadline, it is respect for this commitment that counts.
The difficulty in making an appointment with an individual lies in the carrier’s ability to reach him. Each operating within working hours, the contacts to be delivered are not readily available to receive a call and furthermore to arrange a delivery.
Christelle Bretaudeau / Performance
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