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July 7, 2021 | Insights

5 Common Mistakes That Stem from Poor Yard Management

July 7, 2021 | Insights

There are many elements of supply chain management that are well outside the control of the yard itself. When there are inevitable contractions in shipping times, raw materials, weather, and more, it’s that much more critical that your yard management program gives you the information you need to manage your operation effectively.

While disruptions are unavoidable, how you respond to them is reflective of your planning strategy. With the right level of transparency, data, and oversight, your team can establish better controls over lead times, supply management, risk allocation, and more. 

Resource and Staffing Allocation

Today’s buyer has higher and higher expectations for faster shipping times and near-instantaneous access to food, consumer electronics, supplies, and more. In that 24/7 cycle, retailers put downward pressures on their suppliers to keep up with that constant pace demand. During high-volume and holiday seasons, it’s even tougher to keep up with the demand for staff. Keeping up with demand can feel impossible, especially for smaller yards that are already struggling to keep up with workflows.

Then there’s the issue of finding that help. With staffing shortages likely to impact the industry for the near term, expanding and shrinking the team to match sometimes unpredictable volumes puts additional pressure on management and existing staff. Overtime charges add up, and eventually those long hours lead to burn-out. 

Your management may be overly reliant on hiring and retaining in-house talent. Your best people need help and don’t always have adequate time to interview and train that help, let alone find qualified drivers. Constantly scaling up and scaling down costs more than money. It costs your most talented and valuable staff time and energy that they simply don’t have. 

Working with a well-resourced partner with a network of drivers and remote recruitment support takes the burden from your full-time staff to focus on the day-to-day management of the yard.

Supply Chain Management Transparency and Visibility

Is it the supply chain…or is it you? The more you know in real time, and the more immediate visibility you have into your logistics, the sooner you’re aware of issues that could be coming down the pipe. 

Your managers need to know, for example, where their own supplies are coming from. Prioritization strategies and transparency into the business operations of your suppliers could help warn of shortages before they happen. How long does it currently take you to determine how many vehicles are on the premises? If there are any irregularities (damaged product, missing seals), what real time data do you have currently that reports those irregularities, supplier information, etc.?

An automated solution empowers supply chain managers to prioritize corrections in real time for the greatest impact on the bottom line. Data automation and yard management software also can help you plan around massive supply chain disruptions, from both global and local perspectives. Case in point: We were able to cut down on time-consuming manual processes for a major technology retailer, streamlining on-site management with more effective digital tools. The impact? Our efficiencies decreased yard incidents and increased efficiency by roughly 50%. 

Delayed Inventory and Inventory Yard Management

One of the most common management challenges our team addresses is also amongst the most costly: The time it takes for yard jockeys and staff to locate equipment and inventory. The longer it takes to locate inventory and equipment, the more it costs the organization in labor.

There’s also a serious opportunity cost that delays can cause. Without proper automation and transparency, the customer team runs into the risk of damaging customer relationships. Also, the harder it is for them to do what is arguably the most important part of the job, the worse the overall morale. 

Globalization includes inherent supply chain management risks. The more automation you have in the yard itself, the less you’re exposing the company to those inherent risks. An automated yard management solution

  • Cuts down on yard congestion
  • Can help yard managers respond to volume fluctuations quickly 
  • Provides real-time log entries that create digital footprints for trailers as they move throughout the yard

Failure to Meet Service Level Agreements (SLAs) 

The biggest competitor in retail today is the clock. Shoppers are used to an environment that caters to immediate gratification. Retailers are faced with pressure not just from online retail but also from a buying public that won’t wait for late shipments, long lines, and empty shelves. 

Incomplete orders and missed milestones threaten your client and sometimes vendor relationships. Gate congestion and yard delays, if left unaddressed, will eventually threaten your customer loyalty and damage your revenue streams. Seamless order management and system integration help prevent those delays from impacting your valuable and important deadlines. 

Challenges Scaling or Maintaining Growth

Growth is fantastic, but it has to be planned for. Without the proper inventory and logistics management in place, sudden growth could introduce more problems than solutions. Scaling the business has to be sustainable, and that means proper planning. 

When your team is rushed, that’s when mistakes, and accidents, can happen. Management may be so overwhelmed with operations that reacting to what’s in front of them will certainly be prioritized over planning.  

But a solid yard management strategy is vital for sustainable growth and ongoing customer satisfaction. Yard management software, yard management solutions, and a full inventory of your current operation could ensure that you can support current, and future, business and allow your team to focus on impactful and strategic business decisions. 

Contact us for a free yard audit and uncover the opportunities for improved yard operations today.