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October 20, 2022 | Insights

What is a Yard Management System?

October 20, 2022 | Insights

Did you know that if a carrier or distribution company were to reduce its average pickup and delivery times by just one hour it would lower its trucking rates by $0.21 per mile and still generate the same annual revenues?

These savings are realized by using yard management software: software designed to oversee and manage the movement of inventory, trucks and trailers in the yard of a manufacturing facility, warehouse, or distribution center.


Definition Of A Yard Management System (YMS)

A yard management system is the software used to control how workers, goods, and trucks move through your operations yard, both inbound and outbound. Applying top-notch yard management software is necessary if you want a full picture of what’s occurring in your yard in real time.

Optimizing transportation and warehousing operations is typically the first thing that comes to mind when considering ways to improve supply chain efficiency. The yard, a crucial connection that joins these two vital components, is frequently ignored or undervalued.

Yard Management Challenges

While every company is unique, many logistics organizations struggle with certain common yard inefficiencies. And it should come as no surprise that the majority of them originate in manual operations, according to nearly half of the respondents (numbers vary slightly by industry) to the FourKites 2021 Yard Management Industry Report. Many are still managing gate processes on paper.

One of the most common issues in the logistics sector is late deliveries, which cause financial losses, missed opportunities and unhappy customers. But if you dig a little deeper into the causes of delays, it might shock you to find they frequently have less to do with traffic or bad routing and more with ineffective loading procedures…essentially, a yard management problem.


Delayed Gate Operations Leads to Congestion and Higher Costs

A busy yard frequently has a severe bottleneck caused by manual check-in and check-out procedures because it takes too long for vehicles to enter or exit. And this doesn’t just cause delays for yard operations. Idling in line is a waste of time and fuel for drivers, and depending on how long the gate delay is, they may even face fines. Traffic can also extend onto nearby streets and cause serious blockages.


Dock Activity And Employee Schedules are Difficult to Get Right

The loading dock operations are the most important processes in your yard activities. Thus you want to have the best performance and efficiency possible. But interruptions tend to occur there most frequently, and it’s also the weakest link. Therefore, it is necessary to make an effort to establish and adhere to the ideal timetable.

Manual scheduling is never ideal because so many variables need to be taken into account for the best planning, such as accepted trailer types, freight types (refrigerated, FAK, oversized, etc.), package types (palletized or not), loading/unloading time requirements, dock, warehousing capacity, required manpower, etc.

The smallest delay or even a single missed appointment can cause a setback in your operation that’s difficult to recover from. The inability to see dock operations in real-time makes it nearly impossible to respond quickly to disruptions and restore order when things get out of hand.


Staffing Struggles in the Fluctuating Supply Chain

Ineffective personnel planning results in an understaffed yard (which causes delays, non-fulfillment and is expensive over time) or an overstaffed yard (resulting in staff idling and extra labor expenses). Using only manual scheduling makes it extremely difficult to allocate human resources accurately and avoid both extremes. 

With YMS, you can not only adapt more quickly to supply chain fluctuations, but you can implement predictive models and be more prepared for the future. 


Who Benefits From a Yard Management System (YMS)?

Yard management software systems have proved advantageous for many industries, including 3PL, beverage, automotive, cold storage, food, manufacturing, chemical, and groceries.

And a high-end YMS can benefit all businesses and operations with facilities or sites that have a parking lot, dock doors, trailers, containers, or intermodal assets.


10 Advantages of Using Yard Management Software

There are ten main ways yard management software can help your business increase efficiency and revenue:

1. Visibility

Yard congestion is virtually eliminated when you can see and control everything from one place—staff, inventory, trucks, loading plans, inbound and outbound schedules.


2. Reduced Lot Check Time

Staff members spend less time searching the lot for inventory when they know where everything is.


3. Dock Scheduling

Knowing exactly when freight will dock gives you the power to appropriately schedule resources, minimize driver time wasted waiting to unload and realize significant time and money savings.


4. Reduced Detention and Demurrage Expenses

Keeping track of your yard’s assets, carriers, and equipment will help you return containers to the port on time. It also reduces the wait times for drivers picking up or dropping off cargo, and therefore can reduce demurrage expenses—fees paid to the owner of a chartered ship when a delay prevents the ship from loading or discharging on time.


5. Faster Trailer Spotting

The time it takes to locate trailers significantly decreases when you’re aware of the locations of all the trailers in your yard.


6. Reduced Turn Times

Increasing yard area, removing bottlenecks, and running a smoother, more predictable operation are all benefits of getting carriers on and off your yard faster.


7. Driver Management

It’s more satisfying for the drivers themselves when you correctly inform and direct them on what they should do with a simple and precise tool.


8. Gate Management

Increasing throughput, accuracy and accountability with gate management makes your yard all around more efficient and secure.


9. Reporting Metrics, Analytics and ROI

The best yard management solutions include thorough and robust reporting, giving you constant access to detailed information about your business and its operational health so you can run it effectively.


10. Integration with Key Systems

Sharing data between enterprise systems is advantageous to provide critical insights for better decision-making and keeping all critical systems in sync. This is handled by NSSL during Phase 1 of the installation process or in later phases when operational and system gaps are more clearly defined.


National Shunt Service’s Yard Management System

Yard operations can be streamlined with yard management solutions, giving you a better, more comprehensive image of everything in your yard, from monitoring the gates and docks to finding trailers and arranging delivery. The right yard management solution decreases overall manual labor while raising productivity.

Beginning with a free yard audit, we take a calculated, individualized approach to yard management services, not found with any other provider in the logistics industry. Our unique combination of ongoing data collection and first-hand experience in the day-to-day operation of a busy facility ensures consistent operational excellence throughout your entire supply chain. 

Request your free yard audit today!