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Distribution center associates often find themselves overwhelmed with the time-consuming task of managing facility shipping and receiving schedules. This can lead to missed appointments, poor prioritization, and avoidable detention fees. FourKites’ Appointment Manager offers a solution to these challenges, streamlining processes and enabling seamless interaction between associates and carrier partners.

Dushant Koul, Product Manager at FourKites, and his team are dedicated to helping customers overcome the complexities of managing facility schedules and supply chain operations. By leveraging automation, analytics, and a user-centric approach, Appointment Manager significantly reduces manual effort, minimizes errors, and improves overall efficiency.

We sat down with Dushant to gain insights into how Appointment Manager is transforming supply chain operations, the challenges his team has overcome, and the valuable lessons he has learned along the way.

Hi Dushant, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Sure! I’m Dushant Koul, and I’ve been a Product Manager at FourKites for 2.5 years, with a total of 6 years of experience in the field. My role at FourKites involves planning and executing the vision and roadmap for our Appointment Manager solution. I work closely with our Engineering, Sales, Marketing, and Customer Support teams to ensure that the product is delivered on time and meets our customers’ needs.

When I’m not at work, I love exploring new destinations through travel, finding inner peace and balance through yoga, and getting excited about the thrills of F1 races and tennis matches.


Describe the supply chain challenges you’re helping FourKites customers solve. What value is your work on Appointment Manager providing them?

My team and I are focused on helping FourKites customers overcome the complex challenges they face in managing their facilities and supply chain operations — whether it’s managing schedules for pickups and deliveries, planning site labor, using ETAs and analytics to enhance performance, or root cause analysis to reduce supply chain spend.

FourKites’ Appointment Manager solution is designed to tackle these pain points directly, providing significant value to our customers. By using the Appointment Manager, facilities can greatly reduce the time spent on manual phone calls and emails, while standardizing the flow of appointments through the platform helps reduce congestion at the gates, ensuring smoother operations.

Our commitment to automation resulted in the new AutoBooker functionality, which offers carriers and facility users an automated scheduling tool, minimizing manual intervention and streamlining the appointment booking process. This feature not only saves time but also reduces the chances of errors and miscommunications.

What difficulties have you encountered working on Appointment Manager? How did you and the team overcome them?

While working on Appointment Manager, our team had to navigate competing priorities on our strategic roadmap while managing multiple customer commitments and addressing technical debt.

To help our prioritization, we implemented a structured approach using the RICE scoring method — we evaluated each potential feature based on its Reach, Impact, Confidence and Effort, allowing us to focus on what would have the highest impact and require the least effort across our entire customer base. Additionally, we allocated 15-20% of our engineering bandwidth specifically to address technical debt and resolve bug fixes. This ensures that we maintain a healthy balance between delivering new value while maintaining the stability and reliability of our platform.

Another difficulty we faced was managing customization feature requests from individual customers. Given each customer’s unique requirements and processes, we often receive requests for features that would only be usable by a single organization. While we strive to meet our customers’ needs and pride ourselves on co-innovation, developing truly custom, one-off solutions for every request becomes unsustainable as we scale beyond 1,500 customers and divert resources from our core roadmap.

To address this challenge, we’ve adopted a proactive approach to customer discovery and validation. When we receive a customization request, we engage with multiple customers in the same domain to validate the underlying problem statement and gather broader insights. Based on this feedback, we aim to develop configurable features that can meet the needs of multiple customers without requiring custom development for each individual case. This approach allows us to deliver value to a wider range of customers while maintaining a streamlined and efficient development process.

What have you learned from your experience working on Appointment Manager? Do you have any advice you can share with other product managers?

There are always various ways to improve a product, but not all of them are obvious. Through my work on Appointment Manager, I observed that customer-facing teams gather a lot of feedback that can serve as valuable input for enhancing the product and automating some requests.

For example, by working closely with the support team, we reduced 40% of carrier support cases by implementing a high-impact and low-effort feature — this wouldn’t have been possible without interacting and analyzing the support cases.

I encourage product managers to stay focused on being customer-centric and proactively collaborating with cross-functional teams. Connect frequently with customer service, support and implementation teams to stay on track with customer feedback, and don’t overlook the value of analyzing support tickets to find patterns and opportunities for your product roadmap.

Any other interesting insights from working on Appointment Manager that you’d like to share?

Self-service has become essential, and product managers should prioritize making SaaS products as user-friendly as possible to simplify usage and implementation — offering accessible Help and FAQ videos is key. Today’s users expect products to be intuitive, so aim to make B2B products as easy to use as B2C products.

Dushant’s story is just one example of how FourKites’ talented team members go above and beyond to help customers succeed. Our team is passionate about working closely with customers to understand their unique challenges and deliver solutions that make a genuine difference in their day-to-day operations. Their feedback and partnership have been instrumental in shaping Appointment Manager into a tool that effectively streamlines facility scheduling and drives supply chain efficiency.

For example, Kimberly-Clark used a five-step process and multiple systems just to book an appointment — and that was before any rescheduling. They realized that by streamlining their process with FourKites’ Appointment Manager, associates and carrier partners could more easily interact with each other to manage their site pickup and delivery schedules. As a result, Kimberly-Clark reduced the time spent on booking appointments by 80%, with zero emails and only one system to access across corporate, site and carriers.

Interested in learning more about how Appointment Manager can help your organization optimize its supply chain operations? We’d love to talk.

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