Published on May 15, 2020 – Nicholas Runge, Practice Director Transportation & Logistics Americas at Westernacher
What is Dock Appointment Scheduling? A business can be efficient in all of its processes but be crippled by a bottleneck at one critical point. The docks are a vital part of any shipper transportation solution, through efficient scheduling all parties benefit – the shipper can properly allocate resources, the carrier can avoid long waits, and the consignee can have clarity on when to receive the shipment.
Issues that can be solved through proper Dock Appointment Scheduling are:
- Long wait times for carriers
- Penalties due to long wait times or late deliveries
- Resource management based on expected number of trucks
Why do we need it?
Collaboration is no longer an option, but rather a necessity for conducting business – it offers the ability to communicate and act quickly with parties across the globe, or even just across your own business processes. Communicating efficiently and effectively within teams help business processes run smoothly, achieve business goals on time, and eliminate unnecessary expenses. Over the past years, great efforts have been made by SAP to increase business visibility and operational efficiency through SAP TM. However, there are still human barriers preventing these processes and lead to inefficiencies and cost.
Though significant progress has been achieved through EDI and other standard communication options within SAP TM, some manual and low-effective communications between different parties (e.g., shipper and carrier) still exist. These issues are also present in warehousing and yard management, but SAP EWM and SAP YL offer Dock Appointment Scheduling for these solutions. So to overcome these weaknesses and increase operational excellence in SAP TM, Westernacher has come up with an innovative solution – Dock Appointment Scheduling (DAS).
A common communication challenge between carriers and shippers is a lack of clarity around when to load and unload, which causes penalties, long waits, and poor utilization of resources. Dock Appointment Scheduling is used to help set up appointments to organize when and where to pick up a load from the dock of a warehouse. This add-on communication method is a seamless way for shippers and carriers to collaborate efficiently by having visibility on when there are time slots available for pick-up, which maximize the efficiency of the docks and improve the overall supply chain process.
Westernacher Dock Appointment Scheduling.
Westernacher Dock Appointment Scheduling (DAS) is an inventive design to solve communication and collaboration problems between shippers and carriers in the inbound and outbound transportation processes at the docks. Since docks play an important role in connecting the inside and outside worlds of transportation management, managing docks properly can significantly increase efficiency for the whole transportation process.
When you encounter similar circumstances mentioned above, Westernacher DAS is a simple solution for your company to implement as an add on to the TM system to resolve these issues.
Westernacher DAS is a web-based application that allows carriers to schedule a pick-up time with the shipper for a specific dock in an exact time slot. It provides direct communication between the system and carriers while enabling real-time visibility via a web portal to shippers. By avoiding traditional means of communication via phone or email, carriers can now utilize the Westernacher DAS application as a central portal to book, reschedule and cancel an appointment with shippers online 24/7, even with the elaborate Drag & Drop functionality.
The slot data maintained by the shipper can significantly increase visibility and provide both the carrier and shipper with advanced and optimized planning. Shippers will be prepared for trucks to pick-up goods in advance, and carriers will know the best time to check in and out the yard of the warehouse. Since dock appointments can be managed quickly and effectively by the system instead of manually, fewer workers are needed in the transportation management process.
Leveraging the latest SAP Fiori technology, Westernacher DAS provides not only user-friendly UIs and intuitive workflow but also role-based functionalities. By default, the carrier and shipper manager roles are provided with different authorizations and UIs by Westernacher. Additional user roles can be configured and created based on various business scenarios.
Standard DAS vs. Westernacher DAS
Compared with the SAP standard DAS Add-on, Westernacher DAS solution comes with many advantages.
Firstly, the SAP standard DAS Add-on requires SAP Extended Warehouse Management (EWM) System in the backend and cannot be integrated with SAP Transportation Management (TM) System. However, Westernacher DAS can be integrated with SAP TM System seamlessly because it is designed in the SAP TM landscape. Freight Order status will be extracted from SAP TM System via OData protocol and displayed in the Westernacher DAS screen. After corresponding actions, a new Freight Order status will be sent back to SAP TM. The communication between systems is secured, trusted, and fast.
Secondly, Westernacher DAS can be deployed to embedded SAP Gateway Server within SAP TM, which avoids the need for an additional system to support and maintain.
Moreover, Westernacher DAS provides standard integration capabilities with SAP Systems. For instance, it can be integrated with standard SAP TM Collaboration Portal as an add-on, integrated with SAP S/4HANA Embedded TM, deployed on SAP Cloud Platform as a standalone SAP Fiori Application, or registered on SAP Fiori Launchpad.
With the powerful integration capabilities and robust SAP Fiori Application standard features, Westernacher Dock Appointment Scheduling aims to increase process visibility, efficiency, and productivity when collaborating with shippers and carriers. It offers features such as shipping point definition, appointment planning, carrier collaboration, graphic views and more. This solution provides an optimization idea to further harmonize and orchestrate the supply chain execution processes.
Furthermore, Westernacher DAS offers improved mobility and extendibility thanks to advanced SAPUI5 Framework. Beyond accessing the system from a desktop or laptop, carriers can leverage the Fiori Client in mobile devices to stay efficient while on the road. Easy extendibility and maintenance provide opportunities with customers to enhance complex functionalities for the application with different business scenarios.
What Westernacher DAS looks like.
To get in touch for a more detailed discussion on the topic, please reach out to our TM Team and we will be happy to help you get started.
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