Driving Dock Efficiency with a Yard Management System

Dock workers are the backbone of the yard. Without them, goods don’t make it in or out of a trailer. But when it comes to visibility, dock workers aren’t typically given the foresight they need to do their jobs efficiently. That’s where a yard management system can help.

Let’s take a look at the common dock management problems in the yard to better understand how a YMS can alleviate many of those day-to-day pain points.

“When it comes to physical domestic transportation, customers are demanding more real-time visibility into in-transit shipments … That will increase the efficiency of the loading/unloading process and decrease congestion in the yards. The yard can take advantage of these newer visibility platforms to stay better informed about truck estimated times of arrival (ETAs). The visibility platforms can also help with rescheduling dock appointments, and therefore, avoiding waiting times and lost warehouse efficiency for the dock assets and labor resources.”

Gartner’s “Yard Management Technology Trends and Selection Considerations”, November 2020

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Overtime costs due to lack of visibility

Without the visibility necessary to determine the real-time location of incoming shipments, it’s difficult to accurately plan labor. No matter how reliable the carrier, there will inevitably be delays in transporting goods that are out of the control of the driver and cannot be precisely accounted for. This wreaks havoc on the entire yard, but the dock team is especially affected, leading to wasted employee time and rising overtime costs for the organization.

But with visibility into the real-time location of incoming freight, dock managers can optimize hours worked and plan for these delays. Having advance knowledge of a late shipment empowers dock teams to make better decisions and coordinate timing of dock staging with trailer arrivals, which in turn boosts productivity.

In developing Dynamic Yard, we spoke to hundreds of companies to understand which features they needed most to streamline operations in the yard.

“While dock and appointment scheduling is important in all complex warehouse operations, lack of yard and warehouse space due to disruptions, such as COVID-19, have increased the use of cross-docking. In complex cross-docking scenarios, dynamic dock and appointment scheduling is critical.”

Gartner’s “Yard Management Technology Trends and Selection Considerations”, November 2020

Sub-optimal task completion

Typically, a dock team’s day is planned out according to arrival and departure of freight. But when the incoming and outgoing schedule changes unexpectedly, that schedule goes out the window. This leads to confusion and wasted time for the dock team when trying to prioritize tasks.

In a recent FourKites survey of yard management practices of some of the largest Fortune 500 organizations, we learned that the manual nature of appointment management is a leading pain point for the majority of companies.

With a modern yard management system like Dynamic Yard, you can expect auto-task creation to help your dock team determine which tasks they should be completing when schedules are adjusted in real time. And because FourKites Dynamic Yard is integrated with an automated appointment management solution, when an appointment is shifted, it informs the dock task list of this change and adjusts the tasks therein. This ensures that your team is always working on the job that is most efficient and highest priority for your yard.

“Yard management includes a set of capabilities that deals with the management and process execution activities related to or impacting a company’s shipping yard and dock doors. It takes into consideration equipment, facility and employee constraints, as well as activity demand.”

Gartner’s “Yard Management Technology Trends and Selection Considerations”, November 2020

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FourKites combines the best of yard management with the end-to-end visibility needed to tie operations together seamlessly. In your search for a yard management system, it’s not enough to select a solution that simply keeps track of gate-in and view documentation – though those things are certainly important. To meet increasing global supply chain demands, organizations need to select the platform that will move them away from reactionary operations, and into proactive supply chain management.

To learn more about Dynamic Yard and how it can help you take every aspect of your yard to the next level – including the dock – please reach out to us at hello@fourkites.com.

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