Facing Yard or Dock Problems? Automation and Visibility Are the Solution

May 29, 2015

Much like the rapid advancements in mobile computer device and smartphone technology, the vast and diverse technology that the supply chain industry relies on is advancing at its own fast clip.

visibilityOn-site logistics improvements continue to drive innovation in the industry, and automation is an improvement area that the logistics world is watching very closely. And one way to clearly increase operational and logistics efficiency is via an integrated yard management system and dock management system (YMS/DMS).

Modular Components Can Be Tailored to Specific Needs

The optimal solution is a system approach that encompasses all on-site logistics needs, from gate control and management, to yard activity, the loading dock and its equipment and door management for an entire building. An integrated YMS/DMS should also contain modular components so that the system can be tailored to individual applications and needs.

For example, the dock is an ideal place to initiate superior logistics process goals. From loading dock teams to workers out on the yard, to teams that are working behind the scenes inside the facility, an automated system can help increase efficiencies and open up communication lines between each point in your supply chain.

An Ineffective Loading Dock Means a Less Efficient Supply Chain

In the recent past, most systems didn’t talk to each other. A loading dock and yard management system that doesn’t communicate between teams results in a much slower, less responsive supply chain. As a result, an ineffective loading dock will ultimately mean a less efficient supply chain.

Without an integrated system in place, something like a lost trailer in the yard could cause massive delays as a yard employee drives around from trailer to trailer, dock position to dock position in a slow and inefficient attempt to locate the lost asset. This is in addition to detention fees, demurrage charges, spoiled product or delay induced bottlenecks at the gate.

Here are just a few of the benefits you’ll receive by implementing a fully-integrated YMS/DMS:

  • Every trailer movement is recorded: A YMS/DMS that uses passive RFID (radio-frequency identification) and sensor technologies, as well as GPS tracking, will record every trailer movement. This increased visibility and monitoring creates real-time performance reports, with the ability to reduce yard check time by 95 percent, and yard labor and equipment resources by up to 30 percent.
  • No need to set up manual rules: With automated YMS/DMS locationing, you don’t have to manually set up a series of rules for yard trucks to follow. You simply let the system decide where to locate and position trailers and keep track of locations automatically at any given time. In fact, it’s been proven that YMS/DMS-directed moves can result in a 20 to 30 percent reduction in yard truck hours.
  • Increased inventory management efficiency: A clear example of yard inventory inefficiency, inventory must be taken as much as every two hours for cold products, or for a dry warehouse, once at the beginning and end of each shift. A YMS/DMS can produce accurate inventories, and from an ROI standpoint, eliminate the need for up to 95 percent of all inventory labor, which is at least two hours a day to eight hours a day, depending on whether cold or dry items are in play.
  • More effective decision making: A YMS/DMS will utilize specific dynamic business process rules to help decipher the best dock position to send a certain trailer to. Decisions can also be made while yard activity is in motion. The system will send an automatic task to the driver in the trailer so that things happen in real-time. A YMS/DMS also serves the internal boundaries of your loading dock so all loading dock equipment—dock levelers, dock doors and restraints—can be managed and controlled automatically.
  • Better door and security management: Remotely monitor the status of loading dock equipment at a facility via a YMS/DMS. Remotely controlling that dock equipment will cut waste, save money and help you stay in compliance with government regulations and auditors. An integrated YMS/DMS program will also benefit the overall security solution of a facility. For example, trailer presence sensors, combined with trailer restraints, allow users to virtually “lock down” a trailer to a dock door.

To learn more about how to solve your most pressing problems at the yard and/or dock, simply download the 4SIGHT Logistics Solution white paper: Doing More With Less: Yard and Dock Management Systems From an ROI Perspective.

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Most users see an ROI with 4SIGHT within 12-16 months. However, some users have seen an ROI as quickly as 6-9 months.