As we have noted in many of our articles before, supply chain is an ever-evolving field and businesses constantly need to adapt in order to survive and thrive. One of the things to consider is the practice of effective yard management, which has become quite a complex topic to tackle. PINC.com reported that failure to plan properly by warehouse managers often may lead to extensive demurrage or detention charges, congestion, excessive gait and irritability and anger between truck driver and employees. Warehouse managers on the other hand also may struggle to maintain visibility and control over trucks, personnel and assets in their yards.
The challenges mentioned above can all be dealt with using these following seven steps.
Increase Shipment and Trailer Visibility
Dealing with yard management challenges first requires gaining visibility into shipments and trailers. This means and includes access into empty trailers, freight waiting to be loaded and delays that take place when exiting. In order to monitor shipment location and trailer status, yard managers need to make use of tracking technologies like GPS, Bluetooth-enabled technologies and radio frequency identification.
Monitor Operations for Safety and Compliance
Yard management is also influenced majorly by safety and compliance. It matters not how a trailer is loaded and shipped on time, poor safety checklists and failure to secure cargo properly can always mean extreme compliance and safety violations. This will result in injury during the process of unloading and transferring goods to another vehicle. It’s crucial then that a yard management system (YMS) implemented has the ability to track violation frequency, status, cost and delays & be able to utilize this data to make predictions on the future safety and compliance violations.
Clearly Identify Yard Zones With Signage
At times it happens that you work with drivers who have not previously been to your yard – depending on the size of your company. When this takes place, the following needs to happen:
- Clearly identify your yard zones (Arrival Zone, Pick-Up Zone, Empties, Repairs, Priority Loads, etc.)
- Have instructions up for drivers arriving on site
- Reveal the crucial information needed to be captured (driver, contents, release date, arrival times, trailer number, seal number, etc.)
- Put accountability on the yard drivers regarding how and where they move trailers
Educate All Role Players Involved
Find a way to teach all role players involved such as drivers, team members, vendors and other staff members about the yard operations. For example, they need to learn about the proper procedures and protocols that include the appropriate use of YMS functions to streamline the arrival, loading and unloading, and departure of trucks. The lessons should also contain a detailed analysis of all the “Green” activities your business partakes in such as ways to reduce fuel costs by eliminating the number of hours a fresh shipment or produce sits in a running truck in your yard.
Track Appropriate Key Performance Indicators
Advanced supply chain analytics have key performance indicators that make it possible to track and measure the performance of drivers, assets, team members and other factors. Steve Baker of Logistics Viewpoints mentions that this includes automated appointment booking rates, gate reception compliance, percentage rates for empty, loading, loaded and delayed truck activities, assets sitting in the yard, detention charges, fuel levels, etc.
Automate Truck Arrival and Exiting Notifications
Automated tracking technology as discussed above, also needs to be used to automate notifications for truck arrival and exiting. This can also assist in streamlining check-in processes, allowing dock supervisors to know a truck’s arrival and departure times. Deadhead can also be reduced as well if the automated tracking technology is paired with shipment tracking.
Coordinate Yard Management and Warehouse Systems
Efficiency in warehouse operations is required in order to overcome yard management challenges – a reason why implementing a yard management system is important. Managers should find a way to coordinate actions and activities through integrated YMS, transportation management system (TMS) and fitting warehousing systems like order management system (OMS) or warehouse execution system (WPS).
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Source: veridian solutions