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Chris BrummetVP, Facilities & IoT Solutions, FourKites

As you battle for capacity, IoT devices can make you a shipper of choice today and prepare you for the future of supply chain innovation.

Logistics is riding an exciting wave of innovation

While recent supply chain disruptions may be distracting, the truth is, times like this usually accelerate the adoption of disruptive technologies.

For almost a decade now, autonomous vehicles have always been just over the innovation horizon. But with the first real-world trial featuring a fully human-less vehicle successfully completed, the industry received a final warning that this technology is real and is coming to your network.

How do you prepare? The balance of power in the shipper-carrier relationship has always been cyclical. However, if anything was made clear during the past two years it’s that you need to be a shipper of choice to get priority capacity, not just the highest bidder. That’s where your yard comes into play.

IoT is the gateway between today & tomorrow

If you want to be first in line to take advantage of the cost-effective, safe service that autonomous trucks will provide, you need to make sure that they can seamlessly interface and integrate with your yard operations by using IoT technology.

The great thing is IoT technology can make your life a lot easier today. From increasing the accuracy of data entered into your systems to dramatically reducing the time to complete tasks, YMS-enabled IoT technology can futureproof your supply chain while making life a lot easier for your current yard associates.

How to use IoT to be a shipper of choice today

Need some ideas? Here are five examples of how the leading supply chains are shedding cost and gaining time by using IoT devices in their yard:

1. Reducing truck queues by up to 50%

If you have a private fleet, dedicated operation or captured network capacity – why are gate guards manually checking known equipment each time it enters your yard? RFID tags and cameras can automatically transmit check-in and check-out information in a blink of an eye to an operating platform, registering the movement of a truck. This can reduce truck lines up to 50% while instantly and accurately capturing all tracking information.

Automotive shippers conducting “milk runs” to replenish just-in-time production lines use RFID tags to automatically check-in and check-out trucks as they pass through the gates, reducing truck queues and time spent on tracking localized capacity.

2. Sunsetting the spotter scavenger hunt

As yard activity heats up, the odds for carriers to make errors when dropping equipment becomes a little more likely. Errors like this are unavoidable, and if you’re keeping a manual inventory of trailers, spotters will have a tough time finding the right trailer quickly. RFID devices equipped to each trailer can be passively scanned during a yard patrol to update a dynamic map of your facility, so spotters know the accurate real-time location of every single trailer no matter where you told the carrier to drop it.

Before each shift, a major CPG manufacturer’s yard spotters perform a lap around the trailer lot, automatically registering the position of between 300-500+ trailers in a dynamic map to streamline and maximize that day’s productivity.

3. Eliminating yard pull errors

How often does a yard spotter drop a trailer at your door, only to find out you’re loading the wrong piece of equipment? Not only does it force you to reschedule with your carrier, but it also drains time from your dock associates as they work to unload and reset the load. Passive RFID tags on the front of trailers quickly alert drivers in the yard jockey cab to any errors before they hook to a trailer, letting them find the correct trailer every time.

Each year, thousands of incorrect refrigerated trailers are loaded – many of which have not been adequately pre-cooled for the temperature-sensitive goods they hold. This leads to millions of dollars of lost inventory and contributes to the 14% of food that spoils between harvest and retail.

4. Leveraging the door for more information

While your supply chain is measured in days – in the yard, it’s the minutes that matter. Gaining deep insights into the minutes that pass across your yard operations is an incredible indicator of how things are actually going. Sensors can track the time between when a trailer door was opened and closed, how long it took to load materials and even help track the age of door equipment to perfect your maintenance schedule.

During the heat of the summer months, cold storage providers need to know that doors are only open when a trailer is present. Door sensors and activity monitoring help quickly identify doors that are erroneously left open causing cooling equipment to work overtime.

5. Ensuring safety for everybody

Incidents at the door are some of the most serious in the yard. It takes just a second for a misplaced trailer to turn into an OSHA reportable incident. Devices like YMS-connected trailer restraints act as a safety pin when making move tasks before a truck is ready to be moved. If a forklift operator is still actively loading the trailer, dock workers cannot erroneously order a trailer move without the restraint being disengaged by those performing the task.

The immeasurable value of happy employees

Demand for warehouse associates is higher than ever. With added expectations for faster turn times, less damages and more productivity – taking administrative tasks off dock workers’ plates can be a win for everybody. Data entry, record keeping and check-ins rely heavily on the quality of data entered – and, odds are, if an employee’s focus is on executing dock activities, these types of tasks may not get the attention they deserve.

IoT devices, above all else, improve the quality, consistency and completeness of the data your entire operation consumes to operate. Investing in hardware and systems that support the ease and efficiency of capturing this information takes a lot of expectations off of your already hard-working team.

If you’re afraid that your business is being left behind in taking advantage of IoT in the yard, it’s not too late. From a personalized solution design, budget-focused planning and robust integration support – our teams chart your path to success from where you stand today. Ready to learn more? Contact us at [email protected]

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