How yard management software addresses core logistics concerns and boosts profitability
By Komal Puri | October 13, 2022
Understanding the critical role yard management software plays in the logistics industry correlates directly with remaining competitive. As e-commerce grows steadily, new complexities emerge relating to consumer demands. Cutting-edge companies are investing in yard software to keep their supply chains running most efficiently, dramatically stream-lining fulfillment and transportation operations by updating data in real-time.
A yard management system is not designed to replace existing inventory monitoring (including inbound and outbound) or warehouse management systems; it works in conjunction with them. Yard management solutions provide predictive capabilities far beyond manually inputting data on spreadsheets. Yard software measures and crunches data through feedback from technology such as mobile apps, sensors, drones, and real-time dashboards, resulting in more productive methods for scheduling the transportation of goods.
What is yard management?
Yard management may be summarized as the process involved in tracking and directing the vehicles carrying shipments to docks, company personnel, and managing pallets around the yard. In order for a yard to run fluidly, the flow of inbound and outbound freight must be monitored properly. The old systems of using walkie-talkies and clipboards no longer address the current e-commerce challenges such as supply chain turbulence. Therefore, there is a need to embrace advanced yard management software.
Perhaps one of the first steps in achieving an optimal yard environment is to identify extraneous manual processes for managing equipment, employees, or goods within the warehouse. Yard management software can be customized to identify certain dysfunctional patterns such as late or failed deliveries. When goals aren’t met, managers can use the yard system to quickly pinpoint the glitch in the system. With optimized process management, organizations can expect an improvement in the flow of materials through a facility, maximizing utilization of yard and warehouse labour.
Yard management software and technology aim to serve as a bridge between transportation service providers and the warehouse. Yard management software identifies those problems and also provides customized suggestions for managing them. Saving time within the supply chain process results in increased profit. Optimized yard management software results in smooth carrier operations. They provide windows into how to manage assets efficiently. It finds the broken links in the supply chain that are slowing processes down.
What is yard management software or a yard management system?
Yard management software applications provide specific feedback related to efficiently manage the movement of trucks, trailers, pallets, and personnel within transportation hubs such as the yard of a manufacturing facility. That feedback is utilized for increasing orderliness in processes such as dock scheduling and maintaining appointments related to transportation services. Providing real-time data on the location of vehicles in the yard, yard management software assists the movement of goods from staging areas to docks. This increases the ability to fill orders on time, increasing customer satisfaction.
Yard management software often employs technology such as sensors for tracking the movement of vehicles and the speed it takes to load and unload them, as well as aerial drones to track inventory. Companies utilizing the data provided by yard management software experience increased shifts in their capability to manage the flow of traffic into the docks of their manufacturing facility, distribution centre, or warehouse.
Yard management software is often used to enhance other warehouse management systems and transportation management systems. Many versions include built-in radio frequency identification technology that provides an edge in speedy and accurate tracking of shipped goods.
Navigating the warehouse yard manually can be very time-consuming. It fetches data related to the location of variables in the yard in seconds, automatically—without the need of manually inputting data. The best yard management software will provide instant results to the yard operator's inquiries regarding how to find pallets, goods, equipment, machinery or even where an employee is located within the yard. In short, a yard management system is your best ally in managing warehouse operations.
4 Key Challenges in Yard Management
1. Rising overhead expenses
Warehouse managers face many challenges to maintain visibility over trucks, employees and merchandise in their yards. Analyzing yard management extensively is essential for staying on top of supply chain management. Warehouse managers are often overwhelmed with variables they can't track. This results in inadequate planning that may lead to excess spending on demurrage fees and charges and can lead truck drivers into dangerous driving conditions.
2. Poor visibility of fleet movement
Poor visibility of trailer movement deprives management of managing operations efficiently. In order to make optimal decisions regarding operations, they need information regarding the locations of empty trailers, the freight waiting to be shipped, and exiting delays. This is best achieved through the use of a yard management system that utilizes tracking technologies to monitor shipment location and trailer status.
3. Disjointed logistics systems
Lack of interoperability between logistics systems occurs when yard management processes (transportation, warehouse) occur on different platforms that are not updated in real-time. This leads to delayed vehicle traffic going to warehouse dock doors. The leaking resources extend to increased labour and equipment costs. If transportation resources are not delegated properly, shipments are late and the customer is kept waiting. This can lead to higher costs in the long-run, including the cost of straining business relationships.
4. Poor productivity of jockeys
Poor productivity of yard jockeys, which run semi-trailers in the yard, prevent adequate inventory visibility. Efficiency related to their function will make data related to inventory location readily available to employees managing productivity. Furthermore, an inability to monitor operations for safety and compliance can land violations charges on your desk and impose charges.
Rising yard management expenses requires yard management software to manage them. Efficient yard management software automates and digitizes processes and spares detention expenses, managing appointments to keep carrier operations running smoothly. They also help cut down on labour costs as employees will spend less time searching for lost inventory and inputting data manually.
5 Key Benefits of Advanced and Automated Yard Management System
1. Eliminating yard congestion
Implementing an automated yard management system guarantees an increased profit margin. They help your company avoid regulation fees and help keep your drivers and employees safe. Operational efficiency increases, reducing yard congestion and queuing gates in a consistent and organized fashion. Greater overall visibility of yard operations is achieved.
2. Reducing manual dependencies in yard operations
Manual daily yard checks and collating them with previous data takes too much time, increases labor costs, and help yard employees to navigate potential safety hazards while crossing the yard. Yard management software alerts the user to trailer drivers who have exceeded speed limits and hours of service. Reduced manual dependencies save time and money.
3. Data-driven decision-making
Yard management software allows the user to access data related to asset location instantly. Operational status can be assessed quickly, monitoring delays in traffic and operations. Additionally, they can identify where empty trailers are and route outbound loads to them. Additionally, yard software enhances yard jockey productivity. Yard management software significantly improves visibility of fleet movement within a plant or manufacturing facility
4. Improved yard velocity
Yard management solutions improve the velocity of yard operations. Yard software monitors every trailer and driver entering and exiting the yard facility consistently. It assigns a trailer number to any shipments that may occur damage, holding the source accountable. A yard management solution also allows shuttle drivers to electronically verify completion of move requests, bypassing radio communication, and the need for manually recording timings via pen and paper.
5. Boosts profitability
Yard management software will revolutionize your insight into overall network operations. Optimized costs are pinpointed, and you will be notified when those are exceeded. When all of your operations are managed individually, it fails to give access to best practices in implementing cost-saving methods into operational processes. Yard software provides data to locate empty trailers and opportunities to pool assets.
How Drones Powered by Intelligent Yard Management Solution Can Enhance Logistics Operations
Drones that work with today's best yard management software suite are capable of producing data feedback by flying through the yard between machinery or inventory that's spread out across a yard. It places less strain on the employees who otherwise would be completing this by foot. Conserving their time and energy output aids overall productivity, cuts labor costs for the company, and allows yard workers to be redirected to more appropriate tasks.
The use of drones can also maximize space for inventory. They can be flown inside the yard or warehouse through small spaces and have no limitation on achieving greater height. Compare your available space for inventory needed to accommodate human navigation vs. drone navigation and you'll see your on-site storage of goods increases exponentially.
As drones fly, they rapidly collect data related to inventory within a distinct radius. They save time by automatically locating boxes that could be buried and otherwise hidden from working using their human manual labour processes. This can help provide greater safety for workers. For example, they no longer risk injury from climbing ladders or leaning in for things out of reach. Drones can access airspaces while ground operations are simultaneously continuing.
Drones can include a GPS, work with a variety of sensors, scanners, and voice and character recognition software. They also interact with radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology. RFID enabled chips are attached to pallets, shipping containers, or other machinery whose signals are processed through a GPS. Finally, the drone uploads data to the cloud for the yard management system to process.
Because drone technology applications are a relatively recent addition to the yard system management, it has generally not yet reached a stage of development that ensures accurate, consistent, and dependable outcomes. They are not self-automated and require human operators, presenting lengthy and expensive training costs for employees. Other examples of potential setbacks are losing connection with GPS and flying into drafts created by big fans.
Komal Puri is a seasoned professional in the logistics and supply chain industry. As the Senior Director of Marketing and a subject matter expert at FarEye, she has been instrumental in shaping the industry narrative for the past decade. Her expertise and insights have earned her numerous awards and recognition. Komal’s writings reflect her deep understanding of the industry, offering valuable insights and thought leadership.