Transportation Management Software – Automate the Dock-Scheduling Process

Proper management of scheduled deliveries and dock assignments at distributors, supplies, warehouses and other sites is vital to ensure goods and supplies reach their destinations in a timely and efficient manner. Without it, long lines, missed delivery times and frustrated drivers and dock staff are a possibility.

There are several ways distributors, warehouses, retailers and other facilities oversee this important, yet very time-consuming and tedious, task. Some rely on the traditional approach, whereby dock staff record delivery times, docks and other information in a paper appointment book and then communicate this information to drivers and suppliers by phone, e-mail, fax or other means. Still others may not have any scheduling process for their deliveries and allow drivers and their loads to deliver at any time.

Regardless of the method these groups use for the loading and unloading of products and materials, online transportation management scheduling software can help them improve their procedures by automating and streamlining the delivery process.


Online transportation management systems are typically known as Software as a Service (SaaS), a term used to describe providers that offer online applications to customers as software on demand, pay as you go or with a contract. They’re accessible in the same manner as online banking sites, e-mail and social media groups. You simply access the software through a specified URL. And they’re manageable in much the same way as the aforementioned examples. Users typically create a username and password to access their scheduler and account.

Let’s look at a common scenario in which a distributor, warehouse or other facility that receives deliveries would use online transportation management software.

A facility decides that the current manner of handling inbound shipping is inefficient, and it determines that an online dock-scheduling system is the answer. After choosing a transportation software provider, it customizes its scheduler for the specific tasks it will be using it for. This probably would include adding and naming docks, doors and delivery stations, setting available delivery times and dates, and adding the specific delivery and shipping services.

The facility plans to offer its suppliers and drivers online self-scheduling, whereby the driver can access the scheduler online and schedule his or her delivery time and, if applicable, a specific dock or door. It informs its drivers and suppliers of the online scheduling option through e-mail, on its Web site, on paperwork, by phone and through other means. With most of its suppliers and drivers connected to the Internet, the online transportation management software proves extremely popular, and soon most of its deliveries are scheduled automatically online. Drivers and suppliers also receive a reminder e-mail and text message, generated automatically by the system, prior to their scheduled delivery date and time.

The new method of scheduling and managing deliveries has become a lot easier and much more efficient for the facility. It’s not only making it simpler for inbound drivers and dock staff, but it’s also experiencing considerable time and monetary savings, as less time and manpower is necessary for this tedious task.

Think of the more traditional and outdated methods for scheduling and managing deliveries, which oftentimes require the dock staff to phone or e-mail the driver and suppliers with the delivery information, write or type the delivery times, dates and other information into a paper book, spreadsheet, file or other document, and manage canceled or changed times. This process requires a substantial amount of time from dock staff, which could be used more productively with a more automated and streamlined process. For many distributors, warehouses, retailers and other facilities, transportation management software helps them accomplish this.


Specific functionality found in transportation management software is the key to its effectiveness. Although this can vary among providers, most programs offer such beneficial features as:

• Online dock self-scheduling. This can be one of the most important features of the software, as it allows drivers and suppliers to view availability and schedule their delivery times. They simply access the site in the same way as any Web site, view available docks and times, and then schedule it. The system will automatically book the time and specific dock without any further action from the distributor, supplier or driver.

• Automated e-mail and text message reminders. Sent out automatically by the system prior to scheduled delivery dates and times, automated e-mail and text message reminders are not only a much-appreciated benefit to drivers and suppliers, but also to the inbound facility, as they can reduce the number of missed or late deliveries.

• Record-keeping and reporting. The overall design of online transportation management and delivery systems makes record-keeping and reporting a simple process, as it centralizes and maintains delivery and supplier information. Locating and accessing data is quicker and easier with an online scheduler than a spreadsheet, folder, book or file. Generating reports is more efficient as well, and in some scheduling software, only requires a few mouse clicks.

More and more distributors, retailers, warehouses and other facilities that depend on inbound shipping are tapping into the power of the Internet for their delivery-scheduling needs. Transportation management software can be the perfect tool for automating and improving delivery operations. It’s cost-effective, accessible from any Internet connection, easy to set up and use, and convenient for dock staff as well as suppliers and drivers.

Automated Forex Software – Must Read Before Purchasing One

Before you purchase an automated forex software you need to understand what it takes to become a successful trader. Only then can you make an educated decision and avoid being scammed. In this article, I will cover the 3 secrets to becoming a successful trader that all successful traders know and that will help you get the most out of your trading whether you decide to purchase an automated forex software or trade without one.

There are 3 secrets to forex trading success:

1) Proper Money management
2) A system that has an edge
3) Discipline

It is the art and science of controlling risk. In order to make money trading, you have to risk a certain amount of money. There is no reward without risk. The difference between successful traders and Gamblers is how they manage risk. Trading forex without using proper money management is simply gambling.

Successful traders are not gamblers; they understand the probabilities and only place a trade after they have carefully reviewed the risk and potential reward of the trade. They also know how many losses in a row their capital can take before a margin call.

Trading involves winning and losing. And since losing is part of the game, the best you can do is to find a system that wins more than it loses. It is important you understand that in order to be successful, you need to be OK with losing from time to time. The world best trading system has a 70 % success rate. This means that if you take 10 trades, 7 will be winners and 3 will be losers.

Successful traders know that they will succeed even before they place any trades; that is because they have a perfect balance between risk to reward ratio and win to loss ratio that mathematically guarantees success!

Of the 3 secrets, this is the most important one. You can have the best money management system and a trading system with 70% success rate but if you do not have the discipline needed to stick with your systems, you will fail. The reason people lack discipline and fail is because of the fact that trading is a game of probabilities and most people are not used to thinking in terms of probabilities.

Even though your trading system has a 70 % success rate, the outcome of every trade is random; which means that even though you can know that 70 out of 100 trades will be winners, there is no way you can tell how those winners will be distributed. In Fact you can lose on 10, 20 even 30 trades in a row and still have a good system of 70% success rate.

It is difficult to keep trading a system when you get 10 losing trades in a row; that’s because we are humans and we have emotions. This is why an automated trading system is helpful in trading. It will help you stay in the game when you would have quit.

Once you set your parameters, your system will execute them without hesitation and that is the difference between winning or losing in this game.

Does that mean that you should use any automated forex software?

Not at all!

In fact 99% of the automated forex software in the market is worthless. They were created by people who do not understand what it takes to succeed in the forex market. Those who sell those systems can only show you a backtest to prove how successful their automated forex software is. However experience traders know that back testing is not reliable.

How to Gain More Value From Project Management Software by Understanding 5 Purposes of Technology

Technology (especially “project management software”) has been and will continue to be an important part of project management discussion and practice. This is justified. The right project management software that is implemented correctly can have significant, positive effects on an organization. However, the wrong software, or software implemented poorly can pull an organization down.

In our experience, we have seen organizations struggle with the proper implementation of the right software. Many times we find this stems from a limited or misunderstood view of the purpose of technology in the first place. For example, organizations may look for a tool that can just “schedule projects”, or they simply do not think through the broader, strategic purpose that the technology should serve. This leads to selecting the wrong technology or not implementing it in a way that provides the most value for the organization.

The purpose of this white paper is to provide a fresh perspective on 5 major purposes of technology (and project management software in particular) in project management.

These purposes come from lessons learned in the aviation field. The aviation field is similar to project management in the sense that it seeks to create predictable, successful outcomes in an activity with inherent risk. It utilizes technology heavily to fulfill that objective. By studying the role of technology in aviation, we can derive the major and similar purposes that technology should serve in project management. In so doing, we can also boost the strategic use of technology to support our organization’s strategic objectives, needs, and processes.

Purpose 1: Situational Awareness
Some of the most important aviation technologies, such as the ILS (instrument landing system), glass panel displays, and GPS (global positioning system) are focused on situational awareness: letting the pilot know at every moment where the aircraft is headed, how it is oriented, how high it is, where it needs to go, how it is performing, or a number of other pieces of information.

Project management technology is no different. It needs to provide situational awareness of each project’s situation, where they are headed, how they are performing, and how they need to proceed. It also needs to provide awareness of the situation of an organization’s entire project “portfolio.” If you cannot utilize your technology to know the current situation of your projects, you are not utilizing technology effectively.

The “current project situation” may be different depending on your organization and its particular processes and objectives. It may mean the status of the project schedules, the quality of the deliverables, the current degree of risk, the satisfaction of the clients, or the state of the budget or profit numbers.

It may mean how current resource utilization will affect the project, what issues have arisen that would derail the project, or what has slipped through the cracks.

The important thing is to always be aware of the project situation so that you can make intelligent, timely, well-informed decisions.

You can factor this into your project management technology implementation by doing the following:

  • Identify the key information that you need to maintain situational awareness.
  • Ensure that your project management software tool(s) can track and provide this information.
  • Train your staff on providing this information within the tool.

Purpose 2: Decision Making
In aviation, pilots must be able to make quick decisions using accurate data. For example, a pilot needs to know exactly what is wrong with the aircraft to make a good decision on next steps. They need to know how much fuel is remaining to make a decision on weather avoidance.

Similarly, managers need to have accurate data to make decisions in project management. They need to know what is wrong with a project so they can make a good decision on next steps. They need to know resource availability to prioritize efforts and choose directions. In many organizations, this type of information is not readily available, either because the right toolset is not in place or the toolset has not been implemented in a way that supports this strategic purpose.

Over 10 years ago there was a project manager position that was held by the author of this whitepaper. Each week, the project management group would spend hours (literally) compiling long status reports for management. They would need to track down the status of everything and document them, along with a host of other information. Is it good to have this information compiled? Yes. But it sure is a resource-intensive way of doing it that could be substituted with good technology and good process. Was the information effectively and utilized? That was unclear.

Ask yourself, what is the information you need to make good decisions? What problems does your organization routinely face? Do you have real-time insight into those problems? Do you have all of this information readily available at all times? If not, make a pro-active effort to use process and technology to enable your decision making to be much more accurate, informed, and effective.

In order to make decisions, two things have to occur:

  1. The information needed to make decisions must be compiled.
  2. The information needed to make decisions must be readily available.

Project management software technology fits into this broader purpose, but again you need to ensure that:

  1. You know what information you need.
  2. Your project management software technology is capable of compiling the information you need to make decisions.
  3. The information in your project management software technology is always readily available.
  4. Your team is trained on how to correctly compile the right information into the tool so that you can retrieve it to make decisions.

Purpose 3: Automation of Routine Tasks
A recent article in an aviation periodical referred to a certain modern airliner as a 650,000 pound computer. There is a lot of technology in cockpits today and much of it automates routine tasks for pilots. For example, pilots can use automated engine management systems that eliminate the need for the pilots to manage the specific thrust levels, temperatures, and other engine parameters; checklists are automated; alerts (notifications) are automated; and so forth.

This automation does three things:

  • It reduces the risk of human error (i.e. someone makes a mistake while following a boring, routine process).
  • It frees up the resources (aka pilots) for more important things.
  • It allows more tasks to be accomplished in the same amount of time with fewer people (a third pilot is no longer needed).

There are many, many routine tasks performed in project management which take an enormous amount of time. Every organization has routine tasks that it has to do to be operational. Sometimes it is inconceivable how many countless hours are spent on mundane activities. This may only be because it is more comfortable and easy to do things the same way that we are used to doing them. Some that come to mind include the notification of events, the reporting of status, finding out if something is done or not, finding a document, routing incoming requests for work, filling out and disseminating forms, and collecting time.

The right project management software technology can automate the routine things that your organization does. This has similar benefits for project management:

  • It reduces the risk of human error in your processes.
  • It frees up resources to do more important things (such as billable work or taking work off someone else’s plate).
  • It makes it easier to perform the process (less skill is needed to perform it).
  • It allows more tasks to be accomplished in the same amount of time with fewer people.

If you implement or use technology without having this broader purpose in mind, you will not be using your technology effectively. In fact, you may be simply swapping one tool out for another without a net benefit.

What are ways that technology in project management can automate routine tasks?

  • Taking status inputs (such as a team member entering percent complete) and automatically rolling that up into project-level status.
  • Automatically notifying key personnel when an issue has arisen.
  • Centralizing all information so that there is one place to find it.
  • Automatically routing incoming requests so that the right person can see and respond to it.
  • Collecting time reported information and automatically generating reports on actual time usage.
  • Automatically aggregating all project plans and schedules into useful resource utilization views and reports.
  • Automatically creating new projects from templates that follow a pre-defined path and eliminate the need to re-create that path.
  • Automating the generation of proposals and other templated documents.

What this looks like for your organization will be different because you have different strategic objectives, different processes, and different activities that eat up a lot of your staff’s time.

The point is to understand the purpose of technology so that you can use it strategically to accomplish a specific purpose.

As with other purposes, you need to take pro-active action to fulfill this purpose by ensuring:

  • You know which tasks are routine and time-intensive in your organization.
  • Your project management software tool(s) can automate those routine tasks.
  • Your project management software tools(s) are setup correctly to automate those routine tasks.

Purpose 4: Support for Standardized Processes
Standardized processes are a huge part of the aviation world and a big reason why it has had success at creating predictable, successful outcomes in a risky environment. In aviation, technology supports the standardized process environment. Technology is not implemented because it would be cool or neat. It is strategically implemented to support the standardized processes. For example, part of the takeoff checks process is to confirm that the correct runway is programmed into the flight management computer. Well, in many systems, the correct runway is displayed right where the pilot needs to see it to complete this standard process. It is also standard procedure that when an aircraft is descending in clouds towards a runway that they cannot proceed below a certain altitude unless the runway environment is in sight. Technology supports this process by displaying the minimum altitude and alerting the pilots if they go below it.

Technology in project management tends to be separated from the purpose of supporting standardized processes. We may have a process, but we may also be looking for a “scheduling tool.” In other words, we look at them differently, but the two go hand in hand. One of the primary purposes of technology must be to support the standardized processes of an organization. Why is a standardized process important? Because you cannot have a predictable (ordered) outcome if you have a random process. The process must be standardized and ordered.

Technology should help us implement, maintain, and improve standardized processes across the organization. Examples include online checklists and templates, exception reporting of items outside the process (aka alerts), and workflow automation that follows a particular process. These types of things support the strategic process and the overall goal of implementing strategic objectives.

Your project management software tool(s) should fulfill this fundamental purpose as well. You also need to take the following pro-active steps:

  • Ensure that your processes are documented correctly.
  • Ensure that your project management software tool(s) support your processes.
  • Ensure that your team understands how to manage the process in the tool.
  • Ensure that your team is trained on executing the process within the tool.

Purpose 5: Insight into Trends, Problems, and Performance
In aviation, there are systems and even organizations in place to mine data and identify trends and potential future risks. Is there a trend of certain mistakes that pilots are making that need to be addressed via training? Is there an unusual spike in maintenance anomalies for a certain aircraft?

This is often the furthest thing from the mind of a project manager. We are so busy with the day to day that we cannot (or will not) take the time to look at things like trends and potential problems. However, that is part of our job. Problems and risks are always lurking and will strike when we least expect it.

This is where technology comes in to play. As in aviation, technology can make it easier to do this. The right technology will help us run reports, look at data exceptions, and provide similar views into our project management environments.

There are two points here worth mentioning:

  • When you choose technology, you should keep this purpose in mind. How easy is it to mine for various types of data?
  • We should be experts at quickly drilling into data and extracting useful information.

Organizations continue to struggle with either poor project management software tools or project management software tools that are not implemented correctly. The purpose of this paper was to help organizations understand the broader purposes of technology in project management by looking at lessons from the aviation field. By doing so, organizations can expand their perspective and pro-actively implement these purposes in their own project management environments, thus creating a toolset that increasingly supports the strategic objectives, needs, and processes of the organization.