Delivery Management Systems vs Booking Systems

A Booking System or a DMS is becoming more and more a contractual requirement. Why having a system as more than just a box ticking exercise is vital.

Delivery management solutions have become a key investment for many organisations and businesses across the UK. Being able to monitor, change and report on deliveries of goods and materials as they are happening, in real-time or near real-time, has allowed companies to improve their customer offerings and drive more efficient projects, especially in the aftermath of the pandemic.  More and more organisations are recognising the fact that proper delivery management has a wide range of benefits.

Delivery management solutions come in various shapes and sizes. The most simple and basic of these are usually called Booking systems whereas the more sophisticated approach are called Delivery Management systems.  Of course some systems, which are really only Booking systems, like to call themselves Delivery Management to confuse potential users.

Where Booking Systems fall short

While these systems share a few features it’s important to acknowledge that Booking systems face a great number of limitations, especially when compared with its Delivery Management counterpart. 

A Booking system will have a means whereby contractors and suppliers can record that they are planning to arrive at a certain time on a certain day. With some Booking systems they can also set these deliveries at particular gates or zones.  There may be some kind of capacity constraint to allow only a certain number of deliveries at any one time and possibly prevent ‘double-booking’. 

If the system just books deliveries without recording what happens it is all too easy for contractors to think it is enough to have a booking reference and then turn up first thing in the morning or whenever the most convenient time for them is, irrespective of the time booked. 

Essentially, Booking systems become glorified calendars when not backed up by a stringent management framework. On their own Booking systems are at best schedulers, they should not be regarded as Delivery Management systems.

How Delivery Management Systems outclass Booking Systems

Delivery Management systems on the other hand follow through on the title of being a Delivery Management solution.  This is because they support delivery monitoring, recording, and control. 

By recording when contractors and suppliers actually arrive it can build a pattern of who arrives when they say they will, who books just in case they want to deliver something and who ignores the system and just comes anyway.

With this data Delivery Management systems can generate reports and it soon becomes clear which suppliers or contractors are playing the game and doing their best to stick to booked times and which are playing fast and loose.  Then it is a matter of naming and shaming or even of applying financial penalties.

A form of control that Delivery Management systems has over many Booking systems is the ability to restrict access to deliveries which are not meeting the agreed schedule.  This can be accomplished by enabling gatemen to turn-away contractors and suppliers who are arriving at the wrong time, have previously been banned from site or whose vehicle is not appropriately taxed.

The line between delivery monitoring and delivery management

Booking systems are most accurately described as delivery scheduling tools. They give the user a broad overview of their deliveries and potential times but they don’t have the functionality or even the intention to hold contractors and suppliers accountable. A Booking system masquerading as a Delivery Management system will quickly be found wanting. 

If you truly want to manage deliveries and hold contractors accountable a true Delivery Management system is the best and only option available. Delivery Management Systems can support your sites and projects in more ways than you realise.

Key Benefits of Zone Manager Delivery Management System

  • Improve the overall efficiency of your sites and projects (e.g. material and delivery management)
  • Reduce the environmental impact of your sites and projects (e.g. CO2 and pollutant recording and reporting)
  • Save time and money across a range of aspects (e.g. reduce multiple handling and reduce asset down time)
  • Increase the security of your sites (e.g. controlled entrances and vehicle tracking)
  • Expert consultancy and support from the Zone Manager

For more information on Zone Manager’s Delivery Management system click here.

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With our knowledge built on the experience of real-life delivery management at all levels, and of software development, we are ideally placed to help you develop your requirements into a software specification.

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