Transportation News

Is Your Yard Ready For The Digital Supply Chain Revolution?

As companies look for new and innovative ways to improve the operational efficiency of their supply chains, more and more of them are turning to technology for yard management for help.

With the millions of trailers nationwide sitting idle and unhooked 80% of the time, it’s time to take your yard out of the dark ages and into the digital world.

When it comes to the warehouse or DC yard, traditional supply chain management software tools like Transportation Management Systems (TMS), Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) have failed the very shippers that rely on them.

And while some “add-on” Yard Management Systems (YMS) promise to bridge this often-overlooked aspect of the supply chain, these options don’t go far enough on the visibility and optimization front.

Nor do they allow manufacturers, retailers, distributors, and third-party logistics providers (3PLs) to fully leverage the concept of the digital yard.

Imagine, for example, a former supply chain “black hole” that is instead a highly productive, cost-efficient asset that actually adds value to a company’s bottom line.

While corporations have made significant investments in managing their transportation and warehouse assets using transportation and warehouse applications, they now realize that without real-time, accurate trailer and shipment status information across their facilities, they cannot gain full value for these technology investments.

For instance, delays in the yard can mean production downtime for manufacturing operations, product spoilage if handling perishable goods, lost opportunities caused by stock-out for retailers, or credibility issues with carriers and customers.

For most organizations that have not invested in a full digital yard experience yet, the challenges remain the same.

In another post, the Top Ten Yard Management Logistics Challenges, we list the key inefficiencies in yards that will impact today’s complex warehouse and manufacturing operations.

Whether a midsized firm needs a better way to monitor and measure the effectiveness of its yard activities for competitive reasons or a large, multi-national food service firm needs advanced methods of tracking assets for safety and compliance across hundreds of locations, the end game is the same: Find a way to transform the yard into a viable, valuable link in the end-to-end supply chain.

Thanks to advancements in technology, including cloud computing, internet of things (IoT), drones, and mobile, yard visibility and management are now reaching new heights.

No longer relegated to using clipboards, spreadsheets, phone calls, and manual systems to manage their yard operations, companies are figuring out how to better leverage today’s advanced technologies to run their yards even more efficiently, collaboratively, and gain a holistic view across their entire network of facilities.

The digital yard experience is real-time, data-driven, automated, integrated, and connected. It should also provide immediate value.

We’ve seen that this is a particularly important “win” in a distribution environment where velocity is a must and 5 million tractor-trailers are moving among 250,000 plants and warehouses nationwide at any given time and 80% of the time those assets sit idle.

Rather than letting their yard be the “blind spot” in their supply chains, our customers see it as a valuable component that impacts and supports continuous improvement across the entire organization. It’s a competitive liability they understand they can’t afford anymore.

The Rise of the Digital Yard

As companies seek out ways to work smarter, better, and faster in the increasingly-complex manufacturing, distribution, and retail environments, technology serves as both a facilitator and a disruptor.

Download The Rise of the Digital Yard

By leveraging real-time information, metrics, and key performance indicators (KPIs), companies gain a wide range of benefits that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to leverage, including:

  • Visibility: Without a YMS that can provide real-time visibility to assets parked in the yard, organizations are reduced to doing a daily yard check with pen and paper and spend hours reconciling what they found with previous checks into spreadsheets or manual systems.
  • Velocity: YMS provides real-time visibility into asset locations and their operational status including dwell times in various states. By monitoring all the delays in the visit lifecycle, it becomes possible to accelerate operations, such as rapidly identifying available empty trailers for outbound loads.
  • Safety: YMS can improve safety by eliminating the need to have people walking around the yard performing manual checks. Instrumentation on yard trucks monitors speed, safe practices, and hours of service for yard truck drivers.
  • Process Conformity: The YMS will ensure every trailer, tractor, and driver entering the facility is checked-in and out in a consistent way. Seals are checked, the damage is recorded, and shipment information is associated with the trailer number.
  • The Network Perspective: By running facilities in isolation, they fail to recognize labor savings by consolidating talent into centralized control towers. The network view allows organizations to pool assets, including empty trailers, yard trucks, and to compare operational effectiveness across locations.
  • Collaboration/Transparency: Progressive shippers and 3PLs think of visiting carriers as their customers. Some even provide carriers with access to their YMS, so they can send real-time shipment notifications, which can happen before the shipment leaves the source facility.
  • Cost Savings: Automating yard operations with a YMS is often justified through a combination of reduced demurrage costs, lower driver detention fees, and increased throughput.

Download the White Paper: The Rise of the Digital Yard


Article Topics
Best Practices   Transportation   Transportation Management   Supply Chain Visibility   Yard Management   All topics


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The 24|7 Team is your direct pipeline to solutions for your business challenges. It's your opportunity to have supply chain and logistics experts look at your specific challenges and needs, and give you free, no-obligation advice, solutions, and information.

The 24|7 Team will simplify the task of creating a database of likely partners, building your knowledge base, and preparing your Request for Proposal list.

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Choosing the perfect WMS solution can be an indomitable challenge. Using this WMS RFP will simplify the task of creating a database of likely partners, building your knowledge base, and preparing your WMS Request for Proposal list.

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The companies listed below have agreed to respond to your request for in-depth information and follow-up. Your request is totally confidential.

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The Logistics and Supply Chain Education RFI can help you identify the schools, coursework, continuing education, distance learning and certification opportunities available from leading logistics educational institutions.

Upgrade and improve your logistics and supply chain skillsets. Whatever route you choose—advanced degree, executive education, certification or distance learning—the time and money you invest in your education today can pay off in continued career success tomorrow. Contact leading universities and professional institutions for the information you need to prepare for the future.

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Ask your 3PL questions, you'll get answers. Simply complete the information, and detail your 3PL challenges. Then, check off the third-party logistics companies that you want to review your request.

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2. Enter your contact information and challenge.
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