Ops Center Case Study: Drop Trailer Program Relieves Congestion on the Dock
A leading nationwide provider of generic and non-generic prescription drugs acquired a multi-million-dollar pharmaceutical company, doubling the volume of their business overnight. This company was also in the process of assimilating some of its own subsidiary companies into one main warehouse, triggering a hard and fast rise in growth within the warehouse and its personnel.
The warehouse made efforts internally to accommodate the daily rise in Less-than-Truckload (LTL) volume, but freight was stacking up and wait times for the carriers were getting exponentially longer. Because of the nature of LTL, drivers are not expected to wait when making a standard pickup. The long pickup waits were causing drivers to reschedule or take it upon themselves to show up later than their expected pickup times, expecting the delay. Adding a day of transit immediately increases the risk of that shipment not arriving on its expected due date.
Both Ops Center and the client wanted to take steps to avoid customer service issues and client service interruptions during this massive expansion, such as delays, missing paperwork, and mismatched shipments.
The Ops Center’s Approach
The Ops Center worked alongside the client to arrange a comprehensive drop trailer program. Because the solution that Victory Supply Chain Services had put in place with the client included several carriers, the times of each vendor needed to be scheduled in a way so that all shipments would still make the appropriate end-of-day cutoff at their respective LTL terminals and carriers would not be fighting for dock space. The providers with the highest volume were given the prime drop times in order to flush a higher amount of the volume from the dock regularly. The warehouse staff then gave daily directive to the secondary carriers in order to manage their flow and needs more easily. The warehouse staff was given a daily outbound truckload plan. This way they could take in consideration when the shipment needed to arrive and advise the dock staff to place the freight in the appropriate trailer that would make the nightly cutoff.
Upon execution of this new drop trailer program, load planning became a breeze. Since the client’s warehouse staff knew which drop trailer was needed to send the shipment out on to make the appropriate due date, the pressure to move the carriers from their dock as soon as possible was alleviated. The personnel were left with more time to focus on selecting the proper orders, resulting in fewer mismatched shipments and missing paperwork. Once they were able to relieve the stress of loading trucks in a hurry, the client’s staff immediately experienced the benefits of being able to pick shipments and create a Bill-of Lading (BOL) for their freight in a more controlled environment. The client’s LTL carriers were ecstatic to be experiencing on-time superior service at pick up again, as well as making all deliveries on time by not losing an extra day or possibly more in transit. Load planning for more urgent shipments also became more streamlined, as these were exceptions and not the rule. As a result, The Ops Center and the client succeeded in putting together a collaborative solution that relieved employee stress and managed both client and vendor expectations.