By Emma Crumpton, Solution Expert Manager (SEM), Windward
Freight forwarders (FF) and beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) have to deal with inaccurate estimated time of arrivals (ETAs) from multiple sources, forcing operators to rebook deliveries continually. Sometimes multiple deliveries must be rebooked concurrently, and if the ETAs keep changing, there can be up to five rebookings on a single container! This process can become complex and time-consuming, with many moving parts that must be managed.
Here are five reasons why rebooking a delivery can be time-consuming and costly, and should be avoided whenever possible by using an AI solution that provides the most accurate ETAs.
- When deliveries need to be rebooked, it increases the workload for operators and this labor-intensive manual process is often repeated over and over. When trying to manage multiple containers simultaneously, the process is even more complicated and increases stress, risk of error and additional charges.
- Depending on the local haulage market, if delivery changes are made on short notice, the total cost of the delivery may be charged, subject to haulier T&Cs. Additionally, when local geographies are in a time of haulage shortages, finding hauliers last minute can be difficult and potentially extremely expensive. This often leaves operators and customers forced to choose between paying detention and demurrage charges, as there are no hauliers available, or paying a premium haulage rate, sometimes up to twice the standard tariff.
- Understandably, this situation can cause customer frustration, and without a source of truth for ETAs, the operators can’t give any clear answers and have to constantly guess why ETAs keep changing. Often, changing one delivery may mean changing all deliveries, and the distribution center inbound management team will have to rework the entire schedule based on product prioritization. A customer may also be planning to use temporary labor to unload containers in their warehouse, which would then have to be canceled and/or paid regardless.
- Amending releases can be time consuming. When you amend the haulier and/or delivery date, often the release will also need to be amended. With the response times from carriers via both phone and email becoming increasingly long, deliveries can become at risk if carriers have not actioned the release amendment. This leads to operators spending a lot of their time chasing for updates, leaving them frustrated and reducing the time they can spend on more customer-centric tasks.
- The window for delivery is small and it’s challenging to get the delivery date correct. For example, if you have five days of free time and it starts on the day of vessel arrival, but the container doesn’t discharge for two days, that means you actually have three days of free time. But what happens if it falls on a weekend? Then you’ve only got one day. To get this right once is hard enough – to get it right multiple times is extremely difficult.
Implementing a solution that uses AI can revolutionize how FFs and BCOs work. Having one source of truth with accurate ETAs at ten days out reduces the need to constantly rebook deliveries and deal with these complex, time-consuming, and stressful processes. When ETAs are more accurate, and less rebookings are needed, operators can focus on more critical tasks, such as customer service and increasing profits on their shipments. This also saves money long term, by minimizing the need to increase headcount as your business grows as manual workload is reduced.
This leads to happier customers, reducing their costs and workload, while supporting their intake planning. A bonus: when customers are happy, they’re less stressed and nicer to work with, leading to more satisfied employees who are less overwhelmed. Financially, greater accuracy reduces the risk of extra costs, such as wasted haulage charges, detention, and demurrage.