Effective yard management is a complex topic in today’s ever-evolving supply chain. Poor planning on the part of warehouse managers can lead to extensive demurrage or detention charges, irritability and anger among truck drivers and employees, and excessive gait, congestion, reports PINC.com. Meanwhile, warehouse managers struggle with maintaining visibility and control over trucks, personnel, and assets in their yards. But, warehouse managers can overcome these challenges by taking these seven steps.
1. Increase Shipment and Trailer Visibility
The first step to overcoming yard management challenges lies in gaining visibility into shipments and trailers. This includes getting visibility into empty trailers, freight waiting to be loaded and delays during exiting. Yard managers should use tracking technologies, such as radio frequency identification, GPS, and Bluetooth-enabled technologies, to monitor shipment location and trailer status.
2. Monitor Operations for Safety and Compliance
Another factor that impacts yard management is safety and compliance. Even if a trailer is loaded and shipped on time, poor safety checklists and failure to properly secure cargo can result in extreme compliance and safety violations, which may cause injury during unloading or transfer of goods to another vehicle. As a result, your yard management system (YMS) should track violation frequency, status, cost and delays, and use this information to predict future safety and compliance violations.
3. Automate Truck Arrival and Exiting Notifications, Including Check-in Processes
The use of automated tracking technology should also be used to automate notifications for truck arrival and exiting. This can also streamline check-in processes, letting dock supervisors know when a truck arrives or leaves. Paired with shipment tracking, this helps reduce deadhead as well.
4. Clearly Identify Yard Zones With Signage
Depending on the size of your company, you may work with many drivers who have not previously been to your yard. As a result, your company needs to do the following:
- Clearly identify your yard zones (Arrival Zone, Pick-Up Zone, Empties, Repairs, Priority Loads, etc.)
- Post signs with instructions for drivers arriving on site.
- Identify the important information to capture (arrival times, trailer #, driver, contents, seal #, release date, etc.)
- Make the yard drivers accountable on how and where they move trailers.
5. Educate Team Members, Drivers, Vendors and All Others Involved
Inform all team members, drivers, vendors and other personnel involved in yard operations of proper procedures and protocols, including how to use appropriate YMS functions to streamline the arrival, loading and unloading, and departure of trucks. The should also include a thorough review of all your businesses “Green,” such as reducing fuel costs by eliminating the number of hours a perishable shipment sits in a running truck in your yard.
6. Track Appropriate Key Performance Indicators
The only way to track and measure the performance of assets, drivers, team members and other factors lie in using appropriate key performance indicators, powered by advanced supply chain analytics. According to Steve Baker of Logistics Viewpoints, this includes automated appointment booking rates, gate reception compliance, percentage rates for empty, loading, loaded and delayed truck activities, assets sitting in the yard, fuel levels, detention charges and more.
7. Coordinate Yard Management and Warehouse Systems
Why implementing a YMS is great, overcoming yard management challenges requires an inherent efficiency in warehouse operations. As a result, managers should coordinate actions and activities through integrated YMS, transportation management system (TMS), and appropriate warehousing systems, such as warehouse execution system (WPS) or order management system (OMS).
Take Steps to Improve Yard Management Now
Warehouse and yard managers might be looking at this list of steps feeling uncertain and unsure how to achieve each action’s goals best. Fortunately, a custom-designed YMS can handle most of these activities and provide the insights necessary to overcome traditional and unconventional yard management challenges. To find out more about how your organization can implement and integrate a YMS, contact Veridian today.