Perfectly timed processes: Time slot management in logistics

Bastian Späth, CEO/Vorstand EIKONA AG
A bird's eye view of a road junction with various vehicles. It shows GPS symbols and a message about the ETA.

95 minutes – that's how long an average movie lasts, a football match without a half-time break or even the journey from Passau to Salzburg when there is hardly any traffic on the roads. These are all nice ideas, but unfortunately 95 minutes can also be spent waiting, especially as a lorry driver. Because 95 minutes is the average time that 68 % of drivers wait before they are cleared at the ramp. This costs time, nerves and money – and above all it doesn't have to be this way, because time slot management systems can help.

EIKONA Logistics Cloud

Software for time slot management

With EIKONA Time Slot Management, loading points control their scheduling for optimal loading and unloading. Without any jams at the ramps.

Well-timed processes? No problem with time slot management systems

How nice would it be if, as a shipper, you knew at the start of the day exactly which tours would arrive when? If you had it in your own hands to determine when capacity utilisation is at its highest? A time slot management system makes exactly that possible. By allowing hauliers to book fixed time slots for their deliveries, a kind of digital timetable is created in which all tours have a fixed place. Important parameters such as opening hours, the required loading time or ramp utilisation are taken into account. Suggested dates can also be edited manually so that – if necessary – they can be rescheduled spontaneously. Schedules can be managed efficiently so that you can occupy ramps and loading zones exactly when it is necessary for the delivery or collection of goods. Traffic jams in the yard or in front of the factory premises, which extend into the surrounding streets and thus also cause annoyance among non-logistics people, are now a thing of the past.

Using time efficiently – even when things don't go according to plan

It is common knowledge that not everything always goes according to plan, especially in logistics – supply chains are too complex and too many external conditions influence the transport process. As a shipper, you cannot prevent these influences, but you can determine the extent of the negative effects. The great thing about a time slot management system is that it allows the majority of routes to run according to plan, but it is also a great help when deviations occur. If a carrier is stuck in a traffic jam, for example, the system automatically informs of the delay. This saves the drivers work and the loading supervisor can immediately start rescheduling, for example by swapping different time slots. The system shows at a single glance whether you still have a gap in your plan or when capacity will become available again. This means that scheduling is always up to date with real-time information.

Logistics Wi-Fi ensures real-time communication

It is not absolutely necessary to have a Wi-Fi connection to use a time slot management system. Theoretically, the people who work in scheduling can also use the software on a PC via a LAN connection. However, to ensure that all devices used in the yard can constantly exchange data with each other, comprehensive Wi-Fi coverage is essential. Whether pick-by-voice device, mobile hand scanner or driver app on the mobile phone of the arriving driver – with Wi-Fi, all these systems can communicate with each other in real time.

How network professionals bring your WLAN forward

A logistics Wi-Fi has to overcome a number of challenges: The distances that need to be bridged are often quite large, and the network also needs to work at height. Interference factors such as signal-impeding materials, thick walls or a high number of users also make life difficult for the Wi-Fi. It is therefore worth calling in network professionals to ensure that the Wi-Fi performs as desired.

From the initial enquiry discussion and network simulation to commissioning and maintenance: if you have your logistics Wi-Fi set up professionally, you can be sure that it will meet your requirements and grow with you. Data protection issues and the latest findings in terms of software and hardware are naturally taken into account.


When it really has to fit: Customised logistics solutions from a single source

A lack of predictability and planning options are poison for logistics processes. If it is not clear when and at which ramp a lorry will arrive, then the ramp personnel cannot prepare the goods in advance. However, if the estimated time of arrival (ETA) is known, then congestion and waiting times can be avoided because all processes are initiated in good time. This reduces throughput times, which is also accompanied by reduced downtimes for lorries in the yard. Time slot management is a useful tool here.

When optimising the processes and systems in your own logistics, it can happen that you focus on individual sub-processes and lose sight of the "big picture". However, it is important that all systems in use are harmonised with each other. For example, the potential of a time slot management system cannot be fully utilised if there is no Wi-Fi in the yard and the individual devices cannot send status updates in real time. So, if you really want it to work, it's worth choosing a provider who can deliver scalable and customisable software as well as bring the associated hardware up to "state of the art" level.

Bastian Späth
Bastian Späth

As a college-educated computer scientist, Bastian Späth understands how IT solutions are developed from the ground up. For more than 15 years, he has spent every workday collecting requirements, finding ideas, developing designs, setting up projects and getting them safely across the finish line.

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