A. Duie Pyle created its own dock management system that shows every dock, every trailer, and every pallet position within each trailer, leading to fewer misplaced shipments and quicker movements across the dock.
Once a truck departs, mobile tracking technology offers real-time visibility of shipment status. Combined with new routing software, this improves distribution efficiency and reduces planning time, overhead, and wasted mileage, and gives the company a vast amount of information it can use.
“Most carriers, if not all, look at an eight-pallet shipment with one pro number,” explains Randy Swart, chief operating officer. “However, on a dock, those pallets get handled individually and can get set in different locations. Our system allows us to individually label each of those pallets at pickup. If we stage it in the warehouse we know where all eight pieces are. If somebody tries to put a piece in the wrong trailer, when they scan it, it will tell them it’s in the wrong trailer.”
With the traditional method of tracking by the shipment, he says, you wouldn’t know it went into the wrong trailer until it was too late — when only seven of the eight pieces were unloaded at the receiving dock.
The DMS also tracks which employee moves which piece, creating greater accountability. In addition, each piece is tracked by weight, which helps load the freight evenly.
The second piece of the system is Route Planning Solutions, or RPS. Routes are designed so they can be loaded in the exact order that the driver needs to deliver in. It allows the company to assign ETAs to every stop, so customers can plan better.
“We used to deliver about 48% of our freight prior to noon,” Swart says. “Now we’re closing in on 60%. The customers love it, and this puts us into position to make our pickups more timely.”
Drivers like it, too. “They know where they’re going; they don’t have to move their freight around,” Swart says. “Drivers can better plan their workday.” And because it allows drivers to get on the street with their loads earlier, there’s less congestion, and they tend to finish earlier in the day. The result is better work-life balance for drivers and better driver retention.
The whole system means it takes less time and fewer people to do the job, with better service to the customer.