Managing The Yard With Technology

A smart yard is the first step to a well-run and efficient distribution center.


Alerts transmit to jockeys, who receive requests in their task queue of all the activities they need to do in the yard.

Scale drawings of the yard show the location of every pad and the distance between pads. "We know all the metrics related to the yard, including the distances of dock doors from the gate," Bealke says.

All activities in the yard are recorded in sub-second timing, allowing accurate data to help managers see who is closest to a trailer that needs to be taken to a dock door.

"All the inefficiencies have been taken out of the process and yard management becomes more like WMS so you know immediately where all the 48-foot trailers are located when you need one right away at a dock door."

Bealke adds an often-overlooked area is salvage management, especially for the food industry. An intelligent YMS initiates the salvage process of cleaning the trailer and getting it back into service again.

Smart Yards: Fast, Fluid

The more efficient the yard process, the larger the increase in the velocity of your yard, Kiang at PINC says. "Things won't have to stay in your yard as long so you are effectively increasing your yard capacity."

The customer service benefit is obvious, especially when the relevant parties can share data. "The way other departments within the company get their information is via faxes once or twice a day-but that is not real-time information," explains Kiang. "Customers can see the status of their orders online, eliminating the need for phone calls and faxes."

So with all of these inherent benefits of YMS solutions, why aren't top-level executives enthusiastic about more deployments? Belke notes many still don't truly understand the value of a YMS.

"I hear time and time again from people that they never realized yard management entailed as much as it does," she says.

Even so, Belke reports 2007 was a record year for Retalix yard management deployments and notes deployments in general have increased significantly over the last year.

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