Tablets Ensure Much Better Communications For Yard Spotters

January 18, 2018

Visualize for a moment your entire yard operation.

Are you seeing a lot of yard trucks dead-heading in your yard searching for their next trailer? If so, that’s a sure sign of an inefficiently managed yard.

Ideally, you should not see any yard trucks moving without a trailer attached. A truck should always have a trailer attached to maximize the efficiency of your operation.

That’s where a best-in-class yard management solution will step in to automate your yard truck movements. 4SIGHT YARD Management will optimize your yard truck efficiency, save you time, and reduce fuel usage that’s otherwise going up in smoke through your yard trucks’ exhaust pipes.

Outdated approaches are now bad approaches

Without a truly effective YMS, yard truck management essentially comes down to three inefficient methods:

• Manually writing down your trailer moves on a piece of paper and handing it to one of your yard truck drivers who may or may not be the most optimal person to make the move, also known as the “scratch pad method”;
• Using a radio to blanket broadcast to drivers when a trailer move is ready, and then having them waste time talking amongst themselves to figure how who’s available to make the move;
• Or, if a home-grown YMS or YMS via WMS is in use, sending a trailer move alert to all drivers and terminals at the same time; the first driver who then hits “accept” gets the move, but that driver may not be the best person to make the move.

Without a system-directed approach to yard truck management, you’re leaving that aspect of your operation up to human decision. For example, a driver might pick a specific move primarily due to convenience, or perhaps the yard area involved is one that a driver likes to work in. These types of real-world scenarios can create a lot of inefficiencies over time.

Because very few facility managers have actually spent time in yard trucks, they often don’t understand the mindsets of their drivers and why they make the decisions they do. In addition, your transportation department might fully understand carrier management, but may not be at all familiar with yard truck management.

The smart approach to yard truck management is to let an intelligent system such as 4SIGHT YARD Management determine when to make trailer moves and who will make them by communicating with yard truck drivers via their tablets. That eliminates both paper and excessive radio chatter that are still so commonly relied on today.

If for some unforeseen reason a driver cannot make the YMS-directed move — due to a sudden trailer maintenance issue or other red-tag reason such as a flat tire or frozen brake line — the yard driver does have the option to place the move on hold.

Aligning with your operation’s priorities

The most important benefit to remember for proper yard truck management with YMS is that the system will select the best driver to make the most efficient trailer move at just the right time. This happens because the system is also calendar driven, meaning that it can predict the future. The system knows your operation’s priorities, what trailers you want at which dock doors and at which time.

With YMS, system-directed, prioritized tasks force drivers to make the most optimal moves for your operation. Bottom line, shorter cycle times per move mean your drivers are driving less to make each move and you then become more efficient.

The downside of relying on humans to make such decisions — especially those that involve pulling trailers away from dock doors instead of delivering them — is that there’s always more work involved and more can go wrong. That means getting out of the truck, closing doors on trailers, putting on seals, verifying it’s safe to pull the trailer or even deal with a trailer restraint that’s still engaged because the operations personnel inside forgot to release it.

Hooks per hour gains significant

An important goal with yard truck management via 4SIGHT YARD Management is to obtain the highest number of hooks per hour (HPH) in the safest and most efficient way possible. The table below shows the potential gain in hooks per hour once you convert from a home-grown computerized automation method or early generation YMS that you might be using.

Projected Gains in Hooks per Hour (HPH)

(when converting from limited computerized method or home-grown YMS to full YMS)
Automatic Location Only Version ————————- Projected 15% gain in HPH
Automatic System-Directed Moves Version ————- Projected 25% gain in HPH
∗Source: 4SIGHT Logistics Solution

For an operation that converts from old-school paper or radio communication to full YMS, the projected gains in hooks per hour is even significantly greater as shown in the table below.

Projected Gains in Hooks per Hour (HPH)

(when converting from paper and/or radio communication to full YMS)
Automatic Location Only Version ————————- Projected 25% gain in HPH
Automatic System-Directed Moves Version ————- Projected 35% gain in HPH

∗Source: 4SIGHT Logistics Solution

Remember that without a best-in-class YMS, you simply won’t have the resources in place that will allow you to take advantage of the level of intelligence you need to operate the yard as efficiently and smoothly as possible. That, in turn, will cost your company in both wasted time, labor resources and money, ranging from increased reliance on additional personnel to unnecessary detention or demurrage charges due to lack of improper yard management.

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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.