How to optimise docking in DCs and warehouses


MHD talks to Bestrane’s Adam Welch and Ben Hancock about how the MobileDOCK solution is being deployed to great effect not just in city environments – but increasingly in warehouses and DCs.

MobileDOCK is an Australian developed SaaS technology platform that enables destinations to optimise the use of loading docks given the competing requirements of DC operators, Carriers and Suppliers. It automates the often-complicated processes related to booking Loading Dock ‘slots’, tracking actual arrivals and departures and providing visibility of relevant statuses to all pertinent parties.

A Loading Dock booking typically requires the coordination and agreement of multiple parties such as Carriers, Suppliers and DC operations but can also include other organisations such as 4PLs. By providing a platform to connect these parties along with a powerful booking optimisation engine, MobileDOCK approves booking requests in real time and allows all parties to visualise the status of each booking and how it has been executed.

In this way, MobileDOCK is able to drive benefits for all connected parties. The DC is able to synchronise the arrival of vehicles with warehouse shift patterns and reduce congestion, Carriers are able to reduce turnaround and waiting times, and suppliers are notified of booking status and experience reduced demurrage charges.

Bestrane’s Adam Welch – Practice Manager – Assurance notes that MobileDOCK is a management product originally built in-house by Bestrane. “We can put our hand on heart and say it’s been deployed with great success internationally. It’s a great Australian success that now has achieved international reach.”

MobileDOCK saw its primary original use in city environments but, as Adam points out, COVID caused a significant economic slowdown in all cities – with lockdowns causing many people to work from home.

“Consequently, the number of appointments that we were seeing being driven through MobileDOCK in city environments slowed,” he says. “We at Bestrane knew that because we had an established community of users, we could reach new markets where MobileDOCK would have a real impact.  COVID has placed additional pressure on Distribution Centres which have seen a huge investment in technology and infrastructure. We’ve had to be very agile, because there are very different requirements in warehousing and DC environments as compared to the city market, and we’ve worked hard on improvements and upgrades such that the MobileDOCK solution works to meet the needs of the warehousing and DC world.”

Adam adds that MobileDOCK is a product that – in the DC and warehousing environment – is being used with increasing vigour to address challenges around under-utilisation of docks, integration to access control devices such as boom gates and induction systems, management of each DC’s time-and space-constraints, and to face up to the new challenges posed by the COVID and post-COVID world.

“To warehouse and DC operators, Adam says: ‘We are working non-stop to enhance and develop this product to suit your unique environment and requirements in a very agile and localised way’. We believe that Bestrane being local, being Australian based, is somewhat of a rarity for a software solution these days – however a real advantage for us and for our customers.”

Bestrane’s Ben Hancock – Head of Development – MobileDOCK, says that MobileDOCK “addresses the same underlying problem between cities and DCs, in terms of creating an effective real-time booking system to optimise access to dock space and reduce congestion.”

But, he adds, it’s on the periphery that one registers the real differences between city and DC markets. And as we know, supply chain and logistics is a space where seemingly minor adjustments on the periphery can deliver a competitive edge, particularly where improvements in time and space are concerned.

“So, for example, in the DC market there’s a bigger emphasis placed on all types of reporting and using the data we capture to power different types of insights with respect to carrier performance and site performance, too.

“The types of bookings – and the automatic tracking of bookings on site as well – are unique to the DC market. With MobileDOCK, we’ve got APIs available for checking in automatically via licence plate recognition, or through boom gate automation and pin pads. We can integrate this with onsite infrastructure such as weighbridges as well as track specific on-dock/off-dock performance along with arrival and departure times.

“It’s a unique environment, but Bestrane has tackled the warehouse and DC challenges head-on – and will continue to do so.”

Adam seconds Ben’s points and concludes by underscoring that MobileDOCK is a solution for warehouse and DC managers that is ready to go to address their unique pain-points.

“MobileDOCK is great for warehouses and DCs in managing site congestion, as well as managing your legislative requirements – particularly around chain of responsibility (CoR),” he says. “MobileDOCK is a tool that can genuinely help organisations meet those challenges, and we at Bestrane are excited to help more and more warehouses and DCs to meet them.”

For more information on Bestrane, click here

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