With the millions of trailers nationwide sitting idle and unhooked 80% of the time, it’s time to take your yard out of the dark ages and into the digital world. When it comes to the warehouse or DC yard, traditional supply chain management software tools like Transportation Management Systems (TMS), Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) have failed the very shippers that rely on them. And while some “add-on” Yard Management Systems (YMS) promise to bridge this often-overlooked aspect of the supply chain, these options don’t go far enough on the visibility and optimization front.
Nor do they allow manufacturers, retailers, distributors, and third-party logistics providers (3PLs) to fully leverage the concept of the digital yard. Imagine, for example, a former supply chain “black hole” that is instead a highly productive, cost-efficient asset that actually adds value to a company’s bottom line.
While corporations have made significant investments in managing their transportation and warehouse assets using transportation and warehouse applications, they now realize that without real-time, accurate trailer and shipment status information across their facilities, they cannot gain full value for these technology investments. For instance, delays in the yard can mean production down time for manufacturing operations, product spoilage if handling perishable goods, lost opportunities caused by stock-out for retailers, or credibility issues with carriers and customers.
For most organizations that have not invested in a full digital yard experience yet, the challenges remain the same. In our recent blog post, 2017 top 10 yard management challenges, we list the key inefficiencies in yards that will impact today’s complex warehouse and manufacturing operations.
As companies look for new and innovative ways to improve the operational efficiency of their supply chains, more and more of them are turning to technology for yard management for help. Whether a midsized firm needs a better way to monitor and measure the effectiveness of its yard activities for competitive reasons or a large, multi-national food service firm needs advanced methods of tracking assets for safety and compliance across hundreds of locations, the end game is the same: Find a way to transform the yard into a viable, valuable link in the end-to-end supply chain.
Thanks to advancements in technology, including cloud computing, internet of things (IoT), drones, and mobile, yard visibility and management are now reaching new heights. No longer relegated to using clipboards, spreadsheets, phone calls, and manual systems to manage their yard operations, companies are figuring out how to better leverage today’s advanced technologies to run their yards even more efficiently, collaboratively, and gain a holistic view across their entire network of facilities.
The digital yard experience is real-time, data-driven, automated, integrated, and connected. It should also provide immediate value. We’ve seen that this is a particularly important “win” in a distribution environment where velocity is a must and 5 million tractor-trailers are moving among 250,000 plants and warehouses nationwide at any given time and 80% of the time those assets sit idle.
Rather than letting their yard be the “blind spot” in their supply chains, our customers see it as a valuable component that impacts and supports continuous improvement across the entire organization. It’s a competitive liability they understand they can’t afford anymore.
Matt Yearling is CEO of PINC Solutions. He joined PINC as chief executive officer in March 2013 and is responsible for the overall strategic and operational management of the company. Matt’s past roles include vice president and general manager of Encryption Products at Symantec Corporation, senior vice president of Global CRM Product Development at Sage Inc., Chief Technology Officer for Embarcadero Systems Corp (a Ports America company). As vice president of Oracle On Demand, Matt played a pivotal role in making it Oracle’s fastest growing line-of-business.