Yard Management Software-The “Black Hole” of Warehouse Management
Published on 29 September 2021
The massive uptick in ecommerce orders combined with a persistent labor shortage has pushed more companies to rethink the way they manage their yards. A link in the supply chain that’s often referred to as a “black hole” because it lies where the TMS picks up and the WMS leaves off, the yard was once a place where problems were solved by adding more employees and arming them with clipboards and handheld radios.
This approach doesn’t work anymore.
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Not only has labor become more expensive and harder to come by, but manual approaches fall short miserably when measured up against technologically-advanced, automated yard management systems (YMS).
A collaborative tool for scheduling and managing the warehouse or distribution center (DC) yard, YMS helps logistics team members anticipate and plan loading and unloading flows right down to the smallest detail. It also supports on-time delivery and optimal resource use; synchronizes warehouse operations with yard events; and helps maintain a smooth flow of vehicle movement in and out of the yard.
“The global supply chain has been growing more complex and sophisticated over the past few years, and now that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the adoption of more agile and streamlined processes,” SupplyChain reports, “there is a greater emphasis on the importance of digitization and technological solutions.”
The Tremendous Positive Impact of YMS
One solution that SupplyChain says has had “tremendous impact on the logistical side of supply chain networks” is dock and yard management. It defines dock and yard management as the “creation of systems that address all activities related to or impacting the dock and yard, taking into consideration relevant capacities, resource availability, and constraints, as well as demand and company goals.”
Once in place, YMS also:
- Ensures on-time delivery: Improve punctuality, quality and visibility, even when volumes increase.
- Makes best use of warehouse resources: Synchronize operations in the yard with those in the warehouse. Optimize inbound and outbound operations while gaining visibility. Make the right decisions, quickly, while also reducing operating costs.
- Helps companies be the “shipper of choice” in the capacity-constrained transportation market: Automate appointment scheduling, reduce driver wait times, and track the implementation of transport specifications.
- Leverages automation: YMS plays an important role in helping organizations automate otherwise manual processes, save their human labor for more important projects and use data to plan for unexpected supply chain disruptions.
- “If companies invest in suitable dock and yard management systems, they’ll find that they can significantly reduce costs, inventory stock, and congestion,” SupplyChain adds, “while simultaneously increasing throughput, saving waiting time, and hastening the process of loading and unloading cargo.”
Accelerating the Speed of Business
When companies start processing a higher volume of orders, stock densifies, operations speed up, daily trucks come and go by the dozen, and every inch of space on the docks has to be used. When this happens, being able to anticipate the loading and unloading flows—and plan them down to the slightest detail—become table stakes for the companies operating these yards and docks.
Synchronizing warehouse operations with events in the yard has always been a critical aspect of delivering on time and maximizing resources. With longer queues of trucks to manage and regulatory issues like the hours of service (HOS) rules to consider, pressure to reduce driver wait times is intensifying.
Designed for businesses that want to best plan and optimize their yard operations in order to improve their customer service rate and logistical performance, YMS helps organizations offer the highest level of service to their customers; efficiently manage operations and take charge of unexpected events in a dynamic way; reduce operating costs; and make best use of available resources.
A digital YMS also helps companies:
- Synchronize multi-pick and multi-drop routes and make easy adjustments in case of unexpected events.
- Reduce transportation costs through more efficient loading of trucks.
- Improve activity planning, scheduling and management.
- Reduce driver wait penalties.
- Monitor driver compliance according to transport specifications.
Integrating with Other Systems
Generix YMS also easily interfaces with WMS, TMS, automated barriers, access controls and other onsite digital tools. An application with a proven return on investment (ROI), the solution presents clear benefits for shippers that use it, including:
- The ability to manage more trucks with a limited number of doors, thus enhancing both dock and dock door productivity.
- Manage peak volumes without increasing square footage or having to move to a new site.
- Maintain excellent customer service and punctuality rates.
- Effectively operate multi-pick and multi-drop routes, thus achieving results while concurrently reducing associated costs.
- Improve carrier relations through reduced driver wait times (and measure their quality of service).
The Benefits Don’t End There
Fundamentally, Gartner’s Bart De Muynck tells Logistics Management that YMS helps solve one of the most pressing supply chain challenges for any shipper: just how efficiently carriers and other parties are using the time clock. This is particularly important in an HOS world, where drivers are limited in terms of how much time they can spend behind the wheel.
“Imagine the implications of a driver having to stay at a location for an extra three hours,” he points out, noting that this would create a 75% increase in the expected crash rate. “Truck driving is a profession that causes a high number of driver fatalities, many of which could be happening as a result of detention in the yard.”
Solutions exist today that can ensure any warehouse or distribution center operates at peak efficiency, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. From Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) and Transportation Management Systems (TMS) to Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) and more, software platforms can deliver a wide range of benefits that ultimately flow to the warehouse operator’s bottom line.
In responding to the challenges of the pandemic, manufacturers have undertaken
4 broad strategies:
Supply chain resiliency
New distribution strategies
New technology deployment
This eBook will explore each of these strategies in depth.