FourKites recently co-hosted a webinar with Gartner and FreightWaves, welcoming over 400 attendees to discuss the importance of yard management technology for the modern supply chain. Bart De Muynck, Gartner’s Vice President of Research, outlined the many challenges facing organizations’ yard operations during COVID-19 and beyond, as well as what to look for in a yard management solution. He also included an overview of FourKites’ new Dynamic Yard offering, and what differentiates it from anything on the market today. 

With such an engaged audience, we weren’t able to answer all of our attendees’ questions about this important topic, so we’re doing that here. Below, you’ll find those questions, and important information on why yard management is becoming increasingly important, and why there’s never been a better time to expand your organization’s visibility beyond the road.

And if you didn’t have a chance to tune into the webinar itself, you can listen to the recording here!

What is the value of Dynamic Yard?

  1. What is the #1 impact that customers are seeing from Dynamic Yard? What quantifiable impact does that have on the P&L? 

ROI can come from multiple areas, including reduced detention/demurrage costs through increased visibility to trailer status and dwell times; reduced labor expense with more efficient yard jockeys; reduced infrastructure costs from reduced need for yard vehicles; and more. To date, reduced detention expense has been the largest area of improvement in our current implementations, with real-time trailer and load status awareness being the biggest drivers of reducing those expenses. The biggest impacts on ROI can be site-dependent, as FourKites tailors the solution to address each site’s unique challenges. 

  1. Does Dynamic Yard offer a YMS that is built for smaller yards that are unwilling to invest in a full IoT product? And do you see a scale of value for yards based on size and volume implementing this technology?

Yes. Dynamic Yard is scalable to suit the needs of most organizations. Dynamic Yard provides three product levels, with the purpose of providing a solution for all yard sizes to maximize the organization’s ROI. Some facilities will need IoT capability, while others may only need to manage the gate and detention/demurrage costs. However, Dynamic Yard adds an additional layer of value to all Dynamic Yard users – regardless of product level – that no other YMS solutions in market provide, which is the ability to implement one integrated platform across all facilities in an organization. The impact of having a single source of information – from freight tracking to appointment scheduling to documentation – adds significant value to facilities of all sizes. 

  1. Are you seeing YMS adoption in one particular segment over another? (i.e., pure LTL vs. multi-modal ) Or a particular industry? 

Dynamic Yard is flexible enough to adapt to any industry, yet complex enough to drive value in each of those industries. 

  1. How would you rate yard efficiency and visibility improvement with digital mapping of the yard territory and enablement of location services?

Mapping the yard, in combination with GPS and RFID, allows the solution to maintain real-time positioning of all trailers in the yard. Depending on the yard size, this can create a tremendous efficiency gain when drivers are navigating the yard for trailers. As far as behavior analysis, we use accumulated data from active drivers to manage their efficiency – everything from idle time, cycle time, logged-in time and more. This data allows us to build performance metrics to optimize driver utilization.

What solutions are integrated with Dynamic Yard? 

  1. Are the automated BOL documents and other e-documentation a part of Dynamic Yard or separate?

FourKites’ eDocs solution is fully integrated into Dynamic Yard, enabling carriers to upload documentation into the platform and share for ease of access across your supply chain.

  1. How do carriers upload documentation for inclusion in the Dynamic Yard eDocs functionality?

Using eDocs, carriers can take photos of documents via mobile app and upload them. If a carrier is accessing the platform via in-cab computer, they can click the link to upload a document via the computer’s file system. This documentation will then become available to all stakeholders via Dynamic Yard. 

  1. You mentioned that FourKites’ Appointment Manager can help automate scheduling within the yard. Does it automatically shift appointments based on ETA? 

Right now, Appointment Manager flags appointments that are at risk based on their predictive ETAs. We are working with our early adopters on this capability, and it is on our short-term roadmap.

  1. Is integration possible with TMS, WMS and other systems?

Yes. Dynamic Yard has an extensive suite of standard integrations that work with virtually any system. FourKites also has the ability to build upon these integrations to fit system requirements.

  1. TMSs typically do not choose tractor or trailer IDs while building dispatches. How does TMS ingest the trailer data in the yard to create a load/dispatch with the right tractor/trailer combination?

Dynamic Yard takes care of dispatching the right trailer through customizable business logic, and it integrates with multiple systems to become the single source of truth. This is incredibly powerful when an organization’s tools funnel to one system to provide accurate, up-to-date information to be shared with stakeholders across the enterprise. 

  1. Does Dynamic Yard track operational metrics and link to TMS financials? Yes. All trailer profile characteristics can be tracked, as can an organization’s private fleet. Although not a standard integration, Dynamic Yard can integrate with a TMS or fleet maintenance software to push and/or pull information pertinent to the organization. 

How does Dynamic Yard work?

  1. How does FourKites track the location of trailers in the yard?

Dynamic Yard uses a combination of passive RFID tags, RFID readers, cellular routers and android/iOS devices to provide a large suite of functionality from real-time trailer positioning, trailer location reconciliation, move tasking, gate mobility, product protection and auto gate arrivals/departures.

  1. How does Dynamic Yard find the particular container in the yard?

RFID and trailer number or commodity in the trailer are used to locate containers in the yard. Trailer locations are kept up to date in real time, either by yard jockey movements using GPS, or with the utilization of IoT technology, as trucks navigate through the yard.

  1. Is traditional GPS good enough for yard management, or have you found that the more precise, compressed space of a yard requires a different approach to location determination?  

Dynamic Yard has extensive logic that parses “bad data” in order to provide positioning data that’s superior to what you’d get with traditional GPS. From a yard standpoint, the main purpose of providing the trailer’s location is to send a driver directly to the asset versus navigating an entire yard to find it. In that regard, getting to the trailer within a couple “parking spots” is incredibly valuable.

  1. Is it possible to have visibility from your application of inbound container movement for intermodal movement as your shipments transfer from ocean to road, or ocean to rail? 

Yes! We do that today for many global customers of our tracking platform. FourKites tracks freight across air, ocean, rail and road, including dray moves.

  1. How do you optimize your yard jockey movements in Dynamic Yard? What is the logic that prioritizes these tasks?

There are different types of optimization engines: FIFO, proximity, zone-based, driver-based, etc. The two major drivers of yard jockey movement for optimization are: 

  • Our base task dispatching engine, which assigns tasks based on the age of the task (FIFO)
  • Our dynamic task dispatching engine, which assigns tasks to the driver based on their GPS position to the nearest task available 

Additional configurations, such as task dispatch rules, driver rules and parking rules allow organizations to tailor how tasks get dispatched. For example, if a facility has an offsite lot that only CDL drivers can access, the system allows the site to configure driver profiles so only those with CDLs can pull trailers from the offsite lot.

  1. Would yard management benefit from hostlers “communicating” directly with an automated YMS? 

Yes – this is a huge benefit when seeking to automate and optimize your yard and maximize hostler efficiency. Simple routing across the yard and finding the right trailer or product quickly can tangibly increase the number of moves a hostler can make throughout their day.

  1. Have you used this solution in a Drop and Hook transportation scenario? 

Yes! This is very common in a drop trailer environment. 

How can I get started with Dynamic Yard?

  1. How do you get full buy-in from the operations team to corporate stakeholders? 

FourKites has extensive experience deploying software solutions to organizations of all sizes. From a Dynamic Yard standpoint, FourKites has a robust implementation methodology that incorporates site-level operational teams, site end-users and corporate stakeholders to build buy-in at all levels of the organization. 

  1. How much hardware and setup is involved?

With Dynamic Yard, we offer software-only solutions, as well as flexibility on the amount of hardware employed. 

  1. How long does it take to implement Dynamic Yard at one location?

The average deployment is eight weeks. Our software-only solution can be deployed in four weeks, while the full IoT solution takes anywhere from 8-12 weeks, depending on site size and complexity.

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For more information on how to optimize your yard management and supply chain visibility, please visit our website or reach out to our yard experts at hello@fourkites.com.

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