Spicing up your supply chain recipe through robust Yard Management
On the other hand, the smaller chunk of a growing number of businesses realize the importance of having a strong Yard Management program and continuously invent and innovate in this area of supply chain, resulting in:
a) Improvements in processes beyond the four walls of a warehouse thereby benefiting the warehouse directly.
b) Maturity of processes within the Yard Management practice resulting in a transition to completely automated processes requiring minimal human intervention.
c) Ability of organizations to direct resources to more critical/core functions of supply chain execution.
Using technology as the catalyst in the overall transformation process, industries have been able to achieve operational excellence by automating the following areas:
Self help for Carriers: With basic internet connectivity, carriers can integrate into shipper systems and gain insight into available time slots for appointments of a shipper's yard. Further, they can request/schedule appointments on their own and have shipper's system automatically capture their requests. This can help carriers better plan their trips and also avoid waiting at a shipper's yard. On the other hand, shippers no longer have to manually fix appointments and also can avoid paying huge detention and demurrage charges for holding back carrier's assets.
Seamless Check-In and Check-Out processes: With appointments scheduled much before their arrival, during check-in, carriers can simply furnish their identity, and quickly be guided to either a dock door or a yard slot depending on service level agreements. More sophisticated systems have GPS systems installed on trucks and GPS device sensors spread across key points within the warehouse yard. Within moments of arrival, the details can be automatically fed to the Yard Management system and the truck routed to the appropriate location without human intervention.
Automatic updates to drivers/carriers: With capabilities such as sending messages to drivers' beepers or notifying drivers of moving trailers either from dock door to yard slot on GPS systems, a Yard Management System can also keep carriers well informed of the status of their trucks/containers.
Integration with WMS: Activities within and outside the dock can be synchronized. When a trailer is positioned at a dock door, warehouse personnel are intimated to start loading or unloading, which facilitates throughput. Similarly, when a trailer is done loading or unloading, the system can notify yard jockeys to pick and move the trailers, or alert drivers to directly check out. Another advantage of Yard Management and WMS integration is the virtual extension of warehouse visibility to include yard inventory.
Real-time visibility into trailers and drivers: Organizations will no longer need to worry about lost trailers and drivers within their yard. Yard operations with real-time visibility are more efficient than yard operations without real-time visibility. With visibility into trailers and their contents, chances of unfilled orders due to idle inventory in the yard are reduced. This also enables companies to reduce the number of tractors and trailers leased for storage.
Alert mechanisms: Using alerting techniques, shippers can be intimated about aging trailers and containers in their yard and also about real time detention charges accruing. More sophisticated systems are even able to read information from sensors fit on containers to capture temperature, pressure variations and fuel levels enabling shippers to take appropriate decisions.
With these kinds of benefits comes the flexibility to reprioritize, create custom loads, fine-tune the flow in a yard and avoid tie-ups. Yard Management has thus become a critical component for companies focused on optimizing their supply chains. Today's Yard Management systems bridge that critical gap between internal and external warehouse operations, turning a yard into a logistics accelerator and optimizer rather than a weak link in the supply chain.