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October 13, 2021 | Insights

Need Better Yard Management? Start at the Gatehouse.

October 13, 2021 | Insights

You never get to make a first impression twice. Your yard gate isn’t just the primary point of entry and exit. It can make or break the business. Ever heard the old expression that you can’t make a good movie with a bad script? You’ll never run an efficient, safe, and well-managed yard with an inefficient, poorly managed, and under-resourced gate.

The initial engagement with your yard starts the second the driver pulls up to the gate. If you haven’t addressed your intake and security systems properly, you and your vendors feel the impact immediately. 

Delays at the gate have an immediate waterfall effect on the rest of the yard. Gate operators have a huge impact on the yard itself, and even the most skilled and trained gatekeepers can’t do the job correctly if they’re not provided the right tools.

Eventually, those lack of efficiencies could cost you relationships, impacting your bottom line.

Reliance on Paper Leads to Bigger Issues

We still see a lot of reliance on paper in our industry, especially at guard stations. Often, paper processes are still in place because upgrading or automation is assumed to be too expensive or time-consuming. 

Margins are so brittle in the shipping industry that suppliers often avoid digitizing their processes because it tends to be costly. Additionally, stakeholders can be reluctant to update older systems because that step used to require hiring additional resources, using up hours for training, big expenditures for new equipment, and down-time for upgrades, patches, and maintenance.

Cloud-based software has revolutionized data and automation because the subscriber or the client no longer has to factor in the significant cost of IT management. Customized features are relatively easy to implement without having to hire costly engineering expertise, let alone host and maintain servers.

Digital tools at the gate leave a digital record. That means better record keeping and near-instant access for critical information. That data is more reliable and resilient than a clipboard and a pen could ever be. You and your staff have the immediate ability to review schedules and respond to changes in real time, further ensuring that your staff is making the best use of their, and your clients’, time. 

Apps that sit on mobile devices enable flexibility, further allowing self check-in when and where it’s appropriate. Documents in the cloud are easier to access, providing better security and encryption, and an indisputable record of truth.

Common Signs Gatehouse Management Needs an Upgrade 

The yard is a complex ecosystem that is also a very dynamic one. The fewer efficiencies you have in place, the faster you’ll start to take on water in the form of risk, traffic, and frustrated drivers. We’ve put together the most common red flags that almost always signal your gate operations need serious attention.

Longer Wait Times and Bad Traffic Flow

Long lines and longer wait times always point to a lack of efficiency, not to mention the impact on drivers. Frustrated drivers are never a good thing. The moment that congestion and delays seem to be the norm, they need to be addressed.

Incorrect Driver Confirmation 

Sure, mistakes happen, but they are likely to be frequent without the right system in place. If you don’t have solid security protocols, you’re leaving the yard vulnerable to security issues.

Security Breaches

When the gate operator is under pressure to keep things moving, protocols can fall by the wayside. This could lead to damaged property, theft, injuries, insurance claims, and lost revenue.

Elements of Efficient Gatehouse Operations 

So, we’ve covered the red flags. What are the alternatives, and what should you have in place to optimize security and smooth traffic flow?

Automatic Check-In

Fast and automated check-in at the gate minimizes wait times without sacrificing security.

Driver Confirmation Protocol

Verifying driver credentials keeps the flow of traffic moving and doesn’t compromise security.

Secure, Hourly Patrols

Trained patrols signal that you’re investing in your customers’ value and protecting their goods. Working with a third party further expands your security footprint without having to hire more staff. Additionally, vendors provide screening, background checks, and licensing required in your area and region. 

Dedicated Exit and Entrance Lanes

Adequate staffing and monitoring of exit and entrance lanes leads to smooth traffic flow and fewer headaches for everyone. 

Specialized Skill Training for Gatehouse Staff

Without the right training from the right partner, your gatehouse staff simply will not be equipped to do the job correctly. Upskilling and sharing best practices eliminate guesswork, keeping the entire end-to-end process of the yard consistent and repeatable. 

Finding the Right Partner for Your Gatehouse Operations

Working with a third party to upgrade your gate operations is a great way to make sure that it happens quickly. Remember, too, that you’re not just looking for a vendor. You’re actually trying to find the right strategic partner that can offer specific solutions, as well as integrate them. 

Those data-driven solutions should help your business grow. Utilizing intelligence that comes from a long track record immediately gives you and your team access to that expertise. 

This is especially true when it’s time to adopt new technologies. For example, our team has successfully integrated data-driven solutions with major stakeholders in the industry for over three decades. We also have adequate knowledge and resources to offer cutting-edge recommendations and solutions without sacrificing safety or security.

Ready for Your Free, Remote Assessment?

Your customized plan of action is just one phone call away. With over 300k moves per month, National Shunt has the first-hand experience you need to tell you where and how to maximize your yard operation. Contact us today and our team can ship you a gimbal to capture data for your virtual assessment.