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June 15, 2021 | Insights

Smooth Yard Management Requires Investment and Consistent Focus on Your People

June 15, 2021 | Insights

A successful yard management implementation requires you to engage your people and get buy-in from them.

If you’re implementing a new yard management system, you need more than a plan to be successful. You need buy-in from your team. And the best way to get that is through a people-centered approach and implementation.

What is a People-Centered Yard Management Program?

Success is never achieved through a one-size-fits-all approach. A people-centered approach, tailored to a site’s unique needs, is critical for the success of your new yard management program implementation. Focusing on the people involved, yard management professionals work from the perspective of the individuals who will use the system the most, and design it to address their benefits and workflows. 

By consulting the very people who will ultimately use your yard management system, you can better plan for their behaviors, expectations, needs, and motivations, and remove any roadblocks to success. This process not only creates a new yard management plan that addresses the unique needs of your location—it also helps ensure buy-in from the people who will work in it and promote compliance.

Several key components for smooth implementation of a successful yard management program include:

  •         Onsite Leadership
  •         Structured Training
  •         Listening

Onsite Leadership

Onsite leadership in the form of a project or implementation manager from your yard management partner with a comprehensive understanding of your project’s goals can be a critical ingredient in your overall success. An onsite manager that works very closely with your team to develop a plan inclusive of goals, requirements, and other aspects of the project helps ensure timely and cost-effective implementation. 

Everything from the initial planning, analysis, design, construction, and revised process and procedure documentation are all best handled by a leadership resource at your site. At each stage of the implementation, your onsite manager can make critical adjustments to meet unforeseen circumstances as they come up. In-person leadership can also address questions from both you and your team. Proactive and time-sensitive coaching ensures that all key players remain informed of progress and changes. Additionally, everyone involved can then embrace those new processes accurately, and more importantly, with understanding of the reasons for those new processes.

Structured Training

Defined training is another critical facet of a holistic approach to people-driven yard management. An incomplete training process could result in knowledge gaps of your new setup, technology, and equipment, with your staff utilizing outdated procedures or, even worse, guessing. The last thing you want is for your team to rely on the very workflows that you’re replacing (or stumbling along with half-measures) to fill in knowledge gaps.

A well-allocated training program is another critical leg of this process. Before you start your program, your training schedule should include:

  • A clear and defined timeframe
  • Outline of activities
  • Responsible individuals and their defined duties
  • Clearly stated, defined goals
  • Agreed-upon consequences 

The better you define and discuss the program prior to starting training, the more likely it will result in a successful yard management system implementation. 

With goals and strategies, structured training provides consistency across the board, also providing a repeatable process with a measurable baseline. Those measurements can then give your trainers and facilitators data to measure outcomes and gauge the training efficacy. With quantifiable success metrics, you are aware of the improvement opportunities moving forward for the next training facilitation. 

Listen to the Team

Ultimately, the most powerful learning resource you have is your team members. By engaging the very people who are doing the work, you can immediately identify and understand the issues present at any particular site. Capturing their voice and their perspective not only helps to identify issues and concerns that they experience doing the job day in and day out, but also helps to gather their insights and implement their suggestions. Who, after all, is more aware of what is and isn’t working than the people who are doing the work? 

This approach provides a double advantage. First, it allows the new yard management system to incorporate employee experience and ideas in devising an effective new solution. Second, it helps employees know they are heard. They adopt solutions that result from their input because they see their perspective and knowledge are equally valued. They also experience that they can—and do—contribute to solving big problems for the organization. This level of engagement further advances the organization’s goals and ongoing success.

NSSL Resources for Your Success

Composed of highly experienced individuals with diverse expertise, NSSL’s dedicated travel team goes into the field to assist with implementations and take some of the pressure off the customer—so you can focus on helping customers maximize profitability and achieving operational excellence.

Are you ready to take your yard management to the next level, with a people-centered implementation that focuses on the individuals involved in your site’s yard management to help ensure smooth transition and success? Contact us to have us perform a free Virtual Yard Assessment. Take the first step toward transforming your yard into a more accountable operation, mitigating your risks and capitalizing on new opportunities.