Lady taking stock of warehouse

Extending Value in the Supply Chain with Yard Management Systems

Categories: Freight Forwarder.

For many shipping and logistics organizations, the yard isn’t a revenue driver. If anything, when miscommunication backs trucks and containers up on the yard, it’s where deadlines are missed and dollars fly out the window.

Warehouse management systems are valuable for tracking cargo as it moves through your warehouse or DC. Likewise, transportation management software will manage truck loads to maximize efficiency by factoring in externalities like weather and traffic. But without an advanced software in the yard to connect the two, you risk having software systems that talk past one another. The result is time lost in transition, not to mention a missed opportunity to gain an edge.

Yard management systems reclaim control of this space, transforming the yard from a revenue sink into another valuable asset on your ultra-nimble supply chain. This powerful software communicates with other systems along the supply chain to cut driver detention time and uncover and capitalize on potential efficiencies.

How yard management software creates value

Despite being a physical extension of the warehouse, the yard is typically managed using pen and paper. This disconnect makes it a no man’s land for cargo and data collection alike. Yard management software tracks and expedites cargo through this transitional space, filling that gap and enabling streamlined movement in to and out of other fulfillment channels.

There’s more to YMS than just that. When it comes to asset-tracking and reading capabilities, yard management systems act as your eyes in the sky. In some instances, quite literally — some software is UAV-enabled to track yard conditions from overhead drones. YMS eliminates manual point-in-time documentation, acting as a cloud-based platform for real time planning, scheduling, and spotting. Combining drones with RFID tracking and IoT readers can put the acreage surrounding your DC facility back under your control.

While advanced WMS are becoming more common, YMS is new to the scene — only about 8% of companies are using it, according to a recent survey.

What are the benefits of YMS?

  • Visibility — Traditionally, yard managers track hundreds of containers and trucks manually, then spend hours following up on their previous work. It’s labor intensive and time consuming (and, often, impercise when it comes to locating cargo). YMS allows managers to know exactly where freight is, when it’s there, and schedule drivers accordingly.
  • Scheduling — Typically, a driver will receive a move request, at which point they need to locate the trailer for moving. The driver is then left to drive around and locate that trailer. Without real time tracking, a number of scenarios can complicate this process, especially during peak times. YMS can be used to plan for moves in real time and schedule drivers to maximize efficiency.
  • Velocity — YMS can be used to monitor delays throughout the cargo lifecycle, even well before a truck arrives at the yard. This allows shippers to project for their real time operational status, identify available trailers for outbound loads, and work around delays.
  • Tracking — When your facility is manually tracking 100 truckloads through the yard per hour, the likelihood that some valuable product or equipment will get lost is very high. To combat loss, RFID technology in containers documents movement, tracks positioning in the yard, and streamlines loading.
  • Security — For many companies on the supply chain, the yard is where high value cargo and heavy equipment is most exposed. YMS can offer logistics pros advanced security capability, up to and including automated UAV sentries that patrol the yard.
  • Safety — YMS eliminates the need for most foot traffic on the yard by using AI to perform reading. Using real time tracking technology reduces the need to manual documentation, which means fewer people in dangerous situations.
  • Efficiency — The way a yard is laid out will impact efficiency. YMS technology can evaluate your storage layout and/or trailer yard for both efficiency and shrink.

Advanced Drayage and 3PL

In order to get the most from yard management solutions, you need an intelligent supply chain strategy that extends from the port to your customer’s front steps. After all, your smart warehouse can only operate efficiently when your cargo isn’t bogged down at the port or in the yard.

For many companies, 3PL partnerships have become a valuable link in the supply chain. 3PL companies that work with RFID and other tracking technologies provide full transparency for cargo on the supply chain, and enable big data processing that extends well beyond the four walls of your warehouse.

The indispensable combination of advanced software and decades of experience at the port makes a company like Globecon a vital connection from port drayage and warehousing to your DC.

Partner at the Port of Los Angeles with a 3PL leader. Contact us today!