"The beauty of the new version, called SmartDock.NET, is that it's built on a '.net' framework which opens up deployment options," Peter Rappe, vice president of marketing and sales, told ID Access.
This is especially useful to distributors with multi-warehouse locations, he explained. These companies can maintain a centralized data base and their remote locations can connect into it via the Internet thus creating a common scheduler, Rappe said. Departments, such a purchasing, can have access to all warehouse locations' schedules and view the status of incoming and outgoing deliveries.
The ".net" framework also enhances what the company calls the "Software as a Service" delivery model. Rappe said this reduces distributors' out-of-pocket start-up expenses associated with introducing new software. By hosting the program on its hardware, BGI customers stay up to date on scheduling issues via the Internet. Rappe said this service is provided for on a monthly subscription basis.
"The primary benefits are that they greatly reduce the time that distributors spend scheduling," he said. "The system opens the visibility of the schedule to all of the distributorship's functional departments. Purchasing can see the status of a load as it goes through its progression. Staffers don't have to call to find out if a load has arrived, they can see if it has in real time."
Distributors that are members of buying groups and participate in their shows can use the SmartDock.NET reports to discuss delivery and scheduling issues with their key vendors.
"Distributors meeting with their key vendors at group shows have access to true, unbiased information due to the program. They can generate a vendor on-time performance report card, review the vendor's service and ultimately improve it because they're focusing on it," Rappe noted.
According to BGI, distributors will benefit from the following SmartDock enhancements as well as the utilization of the ".net" framework:
Web-based deployment, connecting users via LAN, WAN, Internet or in an application hosted by BGI. This eliminates the need for software layers like Terminal Services and Citrix, and it gives customers on-demand access to their data anywhere and any place.
A Smart Client platform, maintaining the drag-and-drop data functionality that SmartDock users depend upon.
Real-time dashboard, displaying critical operational metrics such as loads due, scheduled and shipped/received.
Exclusive SmartLot, capturing dropped trailer/container data to track arrival and departure times as well as what product is stored on the equipment.
Carrier Web scheduling (slated for May release), allowing appointment times to be set via the Internet, which frees scheduling clerks to focus on more productive tasks.