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June 26, 2023 | Insights

Is Your Logistics Partner Setting You Up for Success?

June 26, 2023 | Insights

Strong yard management partnerships play a pivotal role in ensuring smooth operations across your supply chain. But not all yard management partners are equipped to drive long-term success. So how do you know if your partner is setting you up with an operation you can rely on for years to come? In this article we’ll uncover the foundational elements of every yard startup that your partner should be implementing—from workforce growth and management strategies, to systems for efficient startups and optimization. If your current partner isn’t focusing on all the tactics we discuss here, then it may be time to switch.


The Fast Track to Industry-Leading Retention

Yard management is driven by the people who work tirelessly behind the scenes. Each individual driver, gatehouse team member, and operations manager plays a huge role in keeping the yard moving forward. That’s why it’s important to emphasize a culture of excellence through a meticulous vetting process, emphasis on strategic benefits and commitment to employee engagement.


Right Person, Right Role

Being selective in your hiring decisions is key to building a strong team. At NSSL, we believe in bringing on individuals who not only possess the necessary technical skills but also align with our team dynamics. Our drivers undergo thorough on-road tests and must demonstrate a strong work history, reliability, and the ability to function effectively in a team environment. We aren’t in the business of simply filling seats. We make it a priority to hire smart, and only select team members who are a good fit. Choosing and placing the right people in the right roles has


Referrals Programs

Referral programs are an effective way to fill your hiring pipeline with quality candidates, and an especially important strategy when it comes to hiring drivers. Drivers understand who they recommend reflects on them, which encourages higher-quality referrals. Referrals also make drivers more invested in the careers of team members they recommend—transforming drivers into valuable mentors and creating an even deeper culture of support.

At NSSL, we’ve found that our referrals program creates a more engaged team all around, and has helped increase retention rates among our drivers. 


Career Support and Engagement

Providing ongoing career support is a vital workplace strategy. Whether it’s someone’s first job as a CDL-A driver, or a seasoned long-haul driver’s transition to yard management, it’s incredibly important to have systems in place to ensure drivers feel valued, supported, and motivated. Engagement can be as simple as having supervisors accessible (regularly on-site), creating opportunity for feedback, and setting goals to support drivers and operators in their career growth.


Robust LMS (Learning Management System):

To hit the ground running and build a strong yard culture from the start, you need a comprehensive Learning Management System (LMS) in place. A strong LMS can provide relevant training and track both individual and team progress. A robust LMS system is key to consistent, up-to-date training on all SOPs, along with maximized safety and compliance throughout your yard.  

LMS incorporates tracking systems to monitor training compliance in real-time. This tool enables us to identify areas for improvement, and ensures our team is always up to date on the latest procedures and protocols. By investing in training and development, we empower our drivers to perform at their best, which ultimately translates to enhanced yard performance and efficiency. We also customize our system for every customer to incorporate site-specific requirements and SOPs to drive the greatest value for our customers.


Tools and Systems for Yard Optimization

Having the right teams and training programs in place is a good start, but you also need the tools and systems for smooth, optimized day-to-day operations. Success lies in leveraging the right combination of equipment, people, and systems.

Gone are the days of relying on RF guns, walkie talkies and paper-based systems that slow down operations. Advanced YMS technology, like Shuntware, streamlines the entire yard management process, and brings your yard into focus like never before.

It’s critical to choose a yard management partner with a comprehensive understanding of YMS and its use in everyday operations. Combining NSSL’s boots-on-the-ground yard experience and technical expertise with Shuntware, we make it easier than ever to quickly put data insights into action to optimize your yard.  


Making the Switch

We recognize (and fully understand) that success of any yard management solution lies in the implementation. When making the switch to NSSL, we have established systems in place to make that transition as smooth and seamless as possible.

NSSL’s Dedicated Startup Team

To ensure a smooth startup, we provide a dedicated startup team that offers site setup and implementation coaching. Our travel teams(comprised of experienced site coaches and drivers) play a crucial role in helping with startups. We understand that inheriting or hiring new personnel can lead to knowledge gaps, which is why our trained NSSL drivers serve as trainers and a consistent source of expertise for our partners. Our drivers are cross-trained to plug and play in various roles, including gatehouse operations, inside spotting, and outside spotting. Our travel team remains on-site after go-live, providing support until your operations are running smooth.


Weekly Check-ins

To maintain transparency and effective communication with both our clients and internal teams, we conduct weekly touch bases well in advance of our go-live date. These touch bases cover the number of drivers we’ve successfully inherited or hired, equipment condition, and the status of SOP training. As we approach the go-live date, our drivers undergo rigorous training during the weekend, with multiple sessions to ensure readiness.


Choosing the Right Partner

By combining our boots-on-the-ground support with advanced technical expertise, we deliver a yard management experience that is unparalleled in the industry. Our yard teams, comprehensive Learning Management System, data-driven approach, and dedicated startup support ensure optimal performance, efficiency, and customer satisfaction. When choosing a yard management partner, it is crucial to prioritize these qualities, as they are the key to achieving seamless operations and unlocking the full potential of your yard.

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