Advanced Scheduling Arrives for TMS Solutions

A wise man once said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail”.  But what about those instances where planning does occur and yet, failure still follows?  For example, what good is it to schedule shipment pickups or deliveries if, when the carrier arrives, he finds a line of others waiting to load/unload; or worse, a yard altogether closed?  Why is scheduling of shipments so frequently an exercise in frustration and waste?  And what can be done to improve the current state of affairs?

UltraShipTMS is looking beyond the current state of appointment scheduling functionality to provide the next big advancement in shipment scheduling – keeping pace with the overall trend towards more efficient supply chain management.  You’d be forgiven for assuming there already was a technology answer to this problem!  Sadly, contemporary TMS solutions mostly fail to take the logical step of codifying the location hours for all their pickup and drop off locations during the implementation phase.  This is because TMS solutions don’t delve any deeper into the notion of shipment scheduling than simply recording the pickup or delivery date specified during the planning and tendering process.  Consequently, there’s no reason for these TMS systems to log detailed hours of operation on a location by location basis.


This innovation makes appointment scheduling intelligent, responsive and highly efficient which is in line with the promise of logistics IT solutions. 



Moreover, as every driver knows too well, each location has its own unique scheduling challenges beyond simple hours of operation.  There are numerous other constraints like number of available dock doors, warehousing rules for loading of different product types via specific bays, location-specific traffic restrictions and a host of other variables.   Simply making an arbitrary schedule in the TMS for pickup or delivery does not account for the reality on the ground.

The next generation of advanced scheduling solutions developed by UltraShipTMS requires a bit more configuration effort during implementation, to capture and input more detailed information about every shipping location.  But it is well worth the effort as the TMS can then support four different types of appointment scheduling:

  • Specific appointment time/date;
  • Appointment windows (between hours of X and Y);
  • First-come-first-serve and;
  • “Call for scheduling”

The advanced scheduling features also record time-stamped pickup and delivery confirmations which support accountability through accurate reporting.   This helps transportation departments plan more strategically and improve performance by identifying patters in late delivery.  Some of the illustrative reporting includes “On-Time-to-Original Request”, “On-Time-to-Scheduled Appointment” and “On-Time-to-Current Appointment” reports.  Planners can also view Appointment Compliance reports.

This innovation makes appointment scheduling intelligent, responsive and highly efficient which is in line with the promise of logistics IT solutions.  It is an idea long overdue for execution and will ensure those who focus on planning are not frustrated by failure in spite of their best efforts.


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