Timeslots – The Theory

LMC Express - Timeslots

Timeslots – The Theory

Timeslots at distribution centres (DCs) refer to specific time intervals or slots allocated for the arrival or departure of trucks, carriers, or shipments. Timeslots are a common practice in supply chain and logistics management to optimise the flow of goods, enhance efficiency, and reduce congestion.

Here are some key considerations and benefits associated with Timeslots in distribution centres:

Key considerations:

1. Appointment scheduling:

Timeslots enable distribution centres to schedule appointments for trucks and carriers, allowing for better coordination and planning of inbound and outbound activities.

2. Resource optimisation:

Timeslots make it easier to use resources like loading docks, warehouse space, and labour. This leads to improved operational efficiency.

3. Reduced congestion:

By allocating specific times for arrivals and departures, distribution centres can reduce congestion and bottlenecks in their yards and loading docks. This results in smoother operations.

4. Predictability:

Distribution centres and carriers like timeslots because they’re predictable. Predictability is essential for efficient planning and resource allocation.

5. Improved visibility:

Timeslots make it easier to visually track goods flow and manage incoming and outgoing shipments, reducing late delivery risks.

6. Enhanced dock management:

Timeslots contribute to effective dock management by ensuring that the right resources are available at the right time. This is crucial for minimising idle time and maximising throughput.

Benefits of Implementing Timeslots:

1. Time and Cost Savings:

Supply chain efficiency leads to shorter wait times for trucks, faster turnaround times, and overall time and cost savings.

2. Increased throughput:

Timeslots increase throughput and reduce shipping costs by streamlining the flow of goods through a distribution centre.

3. Improved customer service:

Reliable and predictable logistics operations resulting from timeslot management improve customer service. It’s especially important for meeting delivery deadlines.

4. Better labour planning:

By aligning workforce schedules with shipments’ arrival and departure times, distribution centres can optimise labour resources.

5. Real-time monitoring:

Timeslots can be integrated with advanced tracking and monitoring systems, providing real-time information on shipment status, and helping with proactive issue resolution.

6. Flexibility and adaptability:

Implementing timeslots requires collaboration between distribution centres, carriers, and suppliers so they can adapt to changes in demand, prioritise critical shipments, and allocate resources effectively. Automating and optimising timeslot management processes is possible with advanced technologies such as Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) and Transportation Management Systems (TMS). Using timeslots effectively makes supply chains more agile and responsive.

Timeslots: How LMC Express Makes This Work for Its Clients

1. When it comes to time slots, LMC Express allocates a dedicated vehicle four hours ahead of the appointed time for its clients, sometimes extending the commitment to twelve hours for the entire delivery process (full truckloads consisting of consolidated pallets for a bunch of clients at Shoprite/Checkers DCs). Each timeslot delivery to a DC requires an exclusive delivery truck, which costs between R4000 and R7000 per day, depending on the truck size.

2. LMC Express also handles additional documentation (AOD/GRV) that accompanies the goods. Suppliers rely on this paperwork to get paid. For successful payment processing, these documents need to be accurate and complete.

3. The delivery team immediately reports issues, such as rejected stock from the DC. As a result, their ‘higher-ups’ can inform clients about these issues before they escalate.

4. LMC Express doesn’t offer these value-added services without considering the cost. For these services, they’ve set the price at R250.00 per pallet (excluding VAT) for delivery time slots to Distribution Centres/Warehouses. Despite that, they cap the charge at R750.00 (excl. VAT).

LMC Express always puts in extra effort and attention to make sure that these critical deliveries are on time.

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