Any supply chain is dependent on accurate and efficient scheduling. Logistics scheduling involves creating a time-based plan that ensures that individual tasks or activities are completed when necessary or promised. In other words, these scheduling operations ensure that what needs to get done gets done – on time and when needed.
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Why Logistics Scheduling is Important
Logistics scheduling means integrating job scheduling and delivery for a smooth supply chain workflow. Without effective logistics scheduling, you’re more likely to run into incomplete orders, inventory shortages, and missed deadlines. The consequences of all this can include last-minute rescheduling, employee overtime, hefty fines, and dissatisfied customers.
Substandard scheduling operations waste time and money. If you have to make more than one delivery or schedule a late delivery after normal hours, that’s money out of your pocket. Routing drivers in an inefficient manner increases your labor and fuel costs. Customers dissatisfied with missed deadlines will eventually become former customers.
For all these reasons and more, it’s important to embrace logistics scheduling in your business. This is best done by employing logistics scheduling software.
10 Benefits of Logistics Scheduling Software
Logistics scheduling software helps you streamline all aspects of your supply chain. It’s an effective tool for managing materials, production, inventory, customer orders, and deliveries while saving you time and money – and results in more satisfied employees and customers.
Here are just a handful of ways that logistics scheduling software can simplify and improve your supply chain process.
1 – Smooths Out the Supply Chain Logistics Process
The supply chain operation process is sometimes rocky. Orders do not flow evenly from month to month, and inventory levels at the warehouse fluctuate. Delivery is seldom drafted in a straight physical line, evenly scheduled throughout a standard eight-hour day. Life doesn’t work that way.
The real world’s vagaries create a multitude of headaches for everyone doing your business’ supply chain scheduling. Unexpected transportation delays, last-minute changes, and ostensibly unreasonable customer demands all end up resulting in scheduling problems.
Smoothing out the rough edges of the supply chain logistics process is where logistics software shines. Tasks that might take an individual several hours to complete – and then redo because things always change – can be done in seconds with the right software. Recurring tasks are now scheduled automatically. Last-minute changes are calculated and optimized with the click of a mouse. Details are tracked, reports are issued, things fall into place. Life gets easier – because logistics scheduling software smooths it all out for you.
2 – Improves Your On-Time Delivery
You know how important it is to maintain a high on-time delivery rate. Logistics scheduling software takes the guesswork out of route planning, ensuring drivers always drive the most efficient routes. This can significantly improve your on-time delivery rate – which correspondingly improves customer satisfaction.
3 – Reduces Last-Minute Scrambling
Poor planning can result in a lot of last-minute scrambling. Deliveries have to be postponed or canceled; drivers have to put in overtime, and both time and energy are spent reworking previously made plans. Logistics scheduling software helps to reduce eleventh-hour changes.
The software enables you to plan ahead instead of scrambling at the last minute. When you reduce last-minute scrambling, you also save money. Changed plans and rush orders incur higher costs than having everything set in advance. With logistics scheduling software, you don’t have to schedule expensive extra deliveries because something changed.
4 – Improves Last Mile Delivery
The last mile is the most challenging distance in the entire supply chain. No matter how well you manage the earlier parts of the process, if you can’t move the product efficiently over that last mile, all could be for naught.
The last mile is what your customers see. They don’t see the ordering and inventory and packing; they see what gets delivered to their doors. If your delivery is ever late or incomplete, it reflects poorly on your entire business.
When you utilize logistics planning software to manage the entire supply chain, you ensure that the last mile will go smoothly. Everything works together to ensure that the right product is delivered to your customers at the right time.
5 – Reduces Inventory
Inventory management becomes more difficult when schedules are in flux. You need perfect scheduling to ensure that every step in the process is proceeding at the proper pace to get the job done as planned. You want all the pieces and parts to be in place at exactly the right time, not a day early and not a day (or more) late. If things don’t happen according to plan, you may be stuck with higher-than-expected overhead costs or, even worse, inventory stockouts that impact the order’s completion.
You need carriers to get your resources to arrive just in time to meet your orders. That requires highly accurate scheduling based on predictions arising from past trends and data. You don’t want to order more inventory than you need to or have space for; you also don’t want to be caught shorthanded by unexpected demand.
State-of-the-art logistics scheduling software can predict demand and schedule inventory shipments accordingly. It can also automatically adjust when demand changes. You get the most efficient use of your warehouse space and the assurance that you’ll always have the right stock when you need it.
6 – Improves Productivity
Using logistics scheduling software can dramatically improve your organization’s productivity. Instead of building schedules and routes each day by hand, the software does it automatically – faster and more accurately. What was formerly done manually is now done in the software, freeing staff to perform more impactful activities.
7 – Reduces Costs
Logistics scheduling software can make the entire supply chain more efficient. Vehicles take more efficient routes, spend less time on the road and sitting in traffic, and experience less wear and tear. Fewer drivers are required and the ones retained don’t work as much overtime. Last-minute changes and rescheduling – and the costs associated with them – are virtually eliminated.
These cost reductions can be substantial. Mercury Associates has found that optimizing logistics scheduling can reduce total ownership (TCO) costs by anywhere from 5% to 10%. Price Waterhouse Cooper reports that optimizing a business’ supply chain can reduce total logistics costs by up to 15%.
8 – Enhances Scalability
When your business grows, you want to be able to handle the extra customer purchases. Conversely, if your business suffers a short-term downturn, you don’t want to be saddled with excess fixed costs.
By employing logistics scheduling software, you can ensure that your business grows as your product demands grow – and that you have enough staff and materials to meet customer needs. Logistics scheduling software provides you with the information you need to make intelligent decisions about scaling your operations up or down. You’ll know when you need to order more supplies, put more vehicles on the road, and hire seasonal employees. You’ll also know when you should cut resources and hours if demand decreases.
9 – Increases Customer Satisfaction
Proper logistics scheduling helps you do everything right – which your customers will appreciate. You’ll be able to deliver products exactly when consumers need them, on time and complete. Your delivery schedules will be visible to your clients– and able to be easily changed or customized.
The entire goal of logistics planning is to help you run a more accurate and efficient business, enabling you to provide a product or service that your customer wants. The better you run your business, thanks to a logistics scheduling software, the more satisfied your customers will be.
10 – Makes Your Life Easier
When you rely on logistics scheduling software, you make life easier for your employees and management. There are less manual labor and less opportunity for human error. Actions involving much swearing and hair-pulling are now handled with the click of an on-screen button. Scheduling tasks that used to seem Herculean are now a matter of routine. Let the logistics scheduling software do the hard work; your employees can now contribute in other, more productive, and enjoyable ways. You can rest easier, knowing that logistics scheduling software works in the background, making your business run as smoothly as possible with minimal errors. It’s a lot easier than trying to schedule everything by hand.
Choosing the Right Logistics Scheduling Software
Your business needs logistics scheduling software to be more efficient and more competitive. Look for software, such as Upper Route Planner, that employs the latest technology to manage schedules better, plan routes, and provide detailed analytics to manage your entire supply chain better. Contact us today to learn more about how Upper Route Planner can meet your logistics scheduling needs.