NatRoad 2015: Woolworths admits to poor DC scheduling policy

By: Brad Gardner, Photography by: Brad Gardner


Retailer's transport manager concedes it can do better when it comes to timeslots

NatRoad 2015: Woolworths admits to poor DC scheduling policy
On the agenda: Chris Brooks (left) says Woolworths is working to introduce flexible timeslot arrangements.

 

Woolworths has committed to improving timeslot arrangements at its distribution centres to address concerns the current approach is too inflexible.

Woolworths national transport manager Chris Brooks fielded complaints from trucking operators about timeslots during his appearance at this year’s NatRoad conference.

One attendee told Brooks that people responsible for booking timeslots at DCs will not reschedule delivery or loading times, even in circumstances where a truck driver has reached their maximum work hours for the day.

Brooks says vendors booking timeslots are currently concerned with making sure DCs are scheduled to capacity.

"We’re in the process of working away from that, moving away from that to get greater flexibility," he says.

"It is a work in progess and we recognise that it is not ideal.

"It’s a big focus for us, as has been truck turnaround times over the past three years.

"Hopefully you’ve seen improvement in that.

"The timeslot piece is definitely next on the agenda.

"It’s a legacy system that we’re still working with.

"It’s around to make sure we get balance between inbound volume and receiving labour.

"However we recognise that we need to take it to the next level, add more flexibility for the very reasons that we’ve just covered off."

Conference attendees also claimed prime contractors had told them Woolworths now has a preference for B-double loads only and that work will not be given to operators using semi-trailers.

Brooks says he is not aware of any preference for B-doubles, but pledged to follow the matter up and get back to the industry.

"I’m not familiar with that," he says.

"There is no directive around a preference."

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