From the moment we began providing supply chain visibility in 2014, our customers have extolled their carrier partners as the most important stakeholders across their operations. Still, the vital services carriers provide are bogged down by redundancy, manual workflows, and siloed communication and documentation tools. It only makes sense, then, that yard management system providers would invest heavily in tools to make drivers’ lives easier, right? Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case to date.
Here’s a small glimpse into the pain points carriers experience every day in the yard, and the types of solutions that can help alleviate them.
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Heavily manual workflows
For the average truck driver, the current system is rife with unnecessary touch points and manual tasks. First, they have to check in at the guard shack, then they have to let the shipping officer know they’ve arrived, after which they have to wait for a dock and fill out paperwork with the dock manager. It’s common for carriers to operate from technology that is siloed from shippers and 3PLs, leading to frustrating miscommunication and redundancies.
To help bridge the information gap, it’s important to look for a yard management solution that integrates carrier tools directly into the platform for streamlined, dynamic operations. An integrated appointment management tool is the trademark of a truly modern, automated YMS. FourKites recently surveyed hundreds of shippers and 3PLs to discover how technology plays a role in their yard management processes. The results of that survey showed that the biggest pain point for respondents regarding appointment management is heavily manual processes. To that end, it’s important to find a YMS that eliminates cumbersome workflows.
What is your biggest pain point when it comes to appointment management?
FourKites Appointment Manager, for instance, is integrated with Dynamic Yard to deliver comprehensive visibility to every stakeholder. Our appointment management portal enables carriers to self-schedule appointments, leading to a drastic reduction in phone calls to find available appointment slots, and maximizing office staff productivity.
Compromised driver safety
Now more than ever, we need to maximize the ability of drivers and other frontline workers to complete their daily tasks with minimal exposure to other people. Electronic documentation decreases the risk of transmission of viruses, such as COVID-19, and maintains a centralized resource for information sharing. In addition to safety, electronic documentation represents a tangible step toward reaching sustainability goals. Did you know that companies that ship 300,000 loads a year will use over 25 pallets of paper just on BOL documents?
Driver safety is a consideration that we continue to put front and center. Our e-Docs Gateway solution leverages digital documentation – including bills of lading and proofs of delivery – to make facility check-in processes touchless. Additionally, it offers one, cohesive view of loads across the supply chain, capturing all comments and supporting images in a clean, easy-to-understand format. Approved documents are automatically published to all stakeholders for immediate payment processing so that carriers no longer have to wait weeks for drivers to turn in physical copies. Additionally, carriers can use FourKites’ CarrierLink mobile application to generate a QR code to further accelerate check-in and find detailed facility reviews left by fellow drivers.
“Progressive shippers and 3PLs collaborate with their carriers, and this collaboration includes providing carriers with access to the yard management solution so real-time shipment notifications can be sent.”
– Bart de Muynck, Vice President, Research, Gartner
Lack of visibility
Carriers are beholden to any number of contractual, site-specific obligations. One that continually proves difficult for them is inventory management. Carriers sometimes have contracts with sites to maintain a certain count of empty trailers in the yard to improve efficiency, but keeping track of those is difficult without the technological horsepower to support trailer visibility in the yard.
In addition to trailer inventory, carriers need visibility into trailer status. Is the trailer ready to be picked up, or is it still sitting empty in the yard? These are the questions drivers need answers to, but yard management platforms haven’t been able to solve for these obstacles.
During conversations with our carrier partners, lack of visibility in the yard and beyond was a persistent theme. In developing Dynamic Yard, we decided to tackle this issue head on. Dynamic Yard offers trailer visibility and status updates through comprehensive, integrated carrier tooling. In addition, CarrierLink includes carrier messaging, improving cross-operational communications and visibility to make sure all supply chain stakeholders are on the same page.
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According to a recent Gartner report, it’s becoming increasingly critical to leverage technology to enable greater collaboration with carriers and eliminate inefficient processes across our supply chains. We at FourKites continue to invest in the tools to make day-to-day operations easier, safer and more convenient for our drivers, dock workers and other frontline employees. It is our hope that this investment reveals the long-term benefits of a vast sea of data that will ultimately help all parties lower detention, generate operational improvements, and improve customer satisfaction.