Logistics Appointment Scheduling logistics scheduling

One of the most common reasons a shipper will switch their 3PL provider is because of repeated service failures. This includes everything from a truck showing up late, to shifted or damaged product that gets rejected by the consignee.

If you are seeing repeat service failures with your freight, ask yourself whether your provider is asking enough, or the right questions. Also, are you providing them with all the details they need to perform at the level you require?

A lack in performance often equates to a lack in communication. A service-focused logistics provider will go above and beyond when it comes to:

  • Asking questions about your shipment
  • Recording details
  • Providing updates
  • Confirming delivery
  • Tracking orders

Here is a detailed account on why, and how, paying extra attention to shipper and carrier needs can equate to a seamless transportation program.

Why Logistics Appointment Scheduling is Important in Transportation

Some warehouses have open scheduling, most often called First Come First Serve (FCFS), meaning the driver can pick up or deliver a shipment within an agreed upon range of hours.

Other distribution centers require actual delivery appointments and are often called a strict location or appointment facility. For these warehouses, it’s imperative to do everything possible to have drivers and carriers arrive on time and without issue.

Even if a shipper or receiver is FCFS, it is advised, as a courtesy, that you notify them of the expected pickup or delivery date. This can head off all sorts of problems, such as:

  • Inventory shortages
  • Holiday closures
  • Warehouse policy changes

Missing these strict appointments can result in:

  • Rescheduling
  • Hefty fines
  • Outright refusals
  • Strained relationships

These service failures are damaging to both your brand and your bottom line. Therefore, it is crucial that your 3PL provider know how to approach scheduling and delivery with acute attention to detail. This helps drive confidence across your operations, sales, and customer service teams.

Template for Logistics Scheduling 

Here is a standard form you can use to provide all the necessary information to your logistics partner. Each freight transaction is unique, so this isn’t appropriate for every single order, but it does provide a strong baseline to work from.

Download the Form Here

Customer Information
Company Name
Point of Contact
Email
Phone

Shipper Information
Name
Address
Point of Contact
Email
Phone
Hours, including shift change
How to Schedule Pick-upPhone/email/online portal

Customer Information
Name
Address
Point of Contact
Email
Phone
Hours, including shift change
How to Schedule DeliveryPhone/email/online portal

Order Information
Reference Numbers for ShipperThere could be multiple - Purchase Order (PO) #, Pick Up (PU) #, Invoice #, Confirmation #
Reference Numbers for ConsigneeThere could be multiple - Purchase Order (PO) #, Delivery #, Invoice #, Confirmation #
Ready Date
Must Arrive by Date (MABD)
Acceptable Range for Pick-Up Date
Acceptable Range for Delivery Date
Product Commodity
Equipment Type
Freight ClassOnly required for LTL shipments
Net Weight
Gross Weight
Number Cases/Pieces
Pallet Dimensions
Whether Pallets are Stackable
If Hazardous, Code
Special Requirements
Temperature Range

Other Questions to Ask Consignees

In addition to asking shippers for the above information, a service-focused 3PL will also ask the consignee a handful of questions to ensure issue-free appointments:

  • What size equipment can a facility handle? Ex: Can they handle 48’ and 53’ trucks as well as vans, reefers, and flatbeds, or are they restricted?
  • What docking limitations exist?
  • Are lumpers available for non-palletized unloading?
  • Is there overnight parking available for trucks?

Fortunately, transportation specialists will typically deliver into and pick-up from repeat facilities and will already have this information on file when you start working with them.

Proactively collecting these details will prevent against previously mentioned issues, such as rescheduling, hefty fines, detention, refusals, or strained relationships.

If you’re experiencing service failures with your current 3PL partner, consider working with a broker that puts service first.

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