Warehouse yards can be messy at best and chaotic at worst. Technology can help companies better take control over their yards.
YMS: Is It Right For Your Operations?
Choosing a standalone or integrated (with WMS or TMS) solution depends on a variety of considerations.
"I think rather than trying to solve all the problems at once, it makes sense to first understand what's happening in your yard," says Aleks Gollu, CEO of PINC Solutions in Berkeley, CA. "A standalone solution like ours gives you the visibility you need to accomplish that. Once you improve what's going on in the yard, you can integrate with WMS and TMS in a phased approach."
Gollu adds benefits are immediate and implementation is quick with a standalone system.
"When you do an incremental amount of integration, your information is coordinated across the system, so your yard is operating better, which translates into better warehouse operations."
Although the size of your yard matters to a certain extent, deciding if you need YMS relates primarily to the number of trailers in your yard, says Tom Kozenski, vice president of product marketing for Red Prairie in Waukesha, WI.
"If you routinely have 30 to 40 trailers and the turnover rate for those trailers is about 25 percent to 50 percent a day, you have enough ROI for a system."
Jim Harris, president of Houston-based Cypress Inland Corp., reports customers rate visibility and reduced chaos as the major benefits of YMS, in addition to soft savings and improvements like better customer service. "Because the effects and cost of poor yard management is spread over many departments and is not tracked well, it's difficult to articulate why a company should consider implementing YMS programs. Until we can do that as an industry, companies will be slow to adopt solutions." -A.T.