We cover a lot of various topics on this blog. We have talked about everything from how to choose the best route planning system to how to best prepare for the holiday rush… and just about everything in-between.
But there is one subject that comes up on this blog more often than most, and it is the subject of delivery productivity.
In todays blog post we will talking about delivery productivity again, but this time, we are focusing on the one thing that really impacts it the most… loading times.
Loading times can be one of the most time-consuming actions required to get your goods on a truck and out the door in a timely manner. If you can figure out a way to streamline some of the loading process and cut down the time it takes, your shipping efforts will only benefit from it.
When a driver is expected at a certain time, their products are pulled and then ‘staged’ to get them ready to be loaded up on the truck. The problem with this is the fact that there are too many variables to always reliably know when to expect the next truck to show up.
See, as drivers are heading back to the distribution center to grab the next load, they may end up deviating from their static or otherwise planned route. And trust me, this happens often due to things such as heavier than expected traffic, weather conditions, and closures. This change in their route can throw ETAs off by as much as a few hours in the worst case.
When this is the case, two things happen…
Most distribution centers or other warehouses usually have multiple shipments of goods going out every single day, and some of them are even around the clock. That also means that there are multiple trucks coming and going from the distribution center.
Every truck that comes in is expected to arrive within a certain window of time, and they are all scheduled around each other’s arrivals. This allows the warehouse workers to pull the goods and then get them staged right before a truck is scheduled to show up.
The problem with this is that if a driver is scheduled to show up at a specific time but they happen to be running late for whatever reason, the goods that have been staged may need to be moved again to make room for the next scheduled truck. This means that not only may the goods need to be moved again, but the next pickup still needs to be staged. As you can guess, this can make things a bit chaotic for the loading dock as the products begin to pile up until they can be loaded onto a truck.
To remedy this, a lot of distribution centers have a dedicated area for staged but unfulfilled truckloads. Others employ a cross-dock strategy for all of their inbound freight.
There are a few different ways that you can tackle this issue, but if left unchecked, it can seriously and negatively impact your operational speeds.
The second thing that will absolutely slaughter you loading times is the pulling of incorrect orders.
This happens most often when your workers become overwhelmed by a large influx of orders that need to be pulled and staged right away. It could be that the driver is running late as we discussed in the previous section and instead of just rescheduling the driver as they probably should, the stagers start pulling products in a rush to get the driver loaded up and out the door to make room for the next truck.
The second reason that this happens is because workers have either not been trained properly or it could be that they are simply not paying attention to what they are doing. If they have not received proper training prior to their time on the floor, it may be time to consider revisiting the training program you have in place.
No matter what the reason is, when the wrong orders are going out, it is will cost you time, money, and quite possibly a lot of customers.
The amount of time that it takes you and your team to pull an order, stage it, and then get it loaded on a truck directly impacts your relationship with your customers, vendors, and delivery drivers.
Whether you need to get a better loading training program in place or are just looking to increase some slow loading times, drop us a line here and let’s talk about how we can help you today!