This week, FourKites had the honor of co-hosting a webinar with Gartner’s VP of Research Bart De Muynck and Freightwaves’ Vice President Mary Anne Hensley, titled “YMS Disrupted: Why Yard Management Is Critical for Today’s Agile Supply Chain”. The webinar focused on the latest trends in yard; why disruption has driven broader adoption of technology; the importance of a yard management solution (YMS); and how legacy YMSs are getting a necessary reboot with real-time visibility. If you weren’t able to join us, you can catch the full webinar here!

Why is yard management such a hot topic right now?

Broadly speaking, digitization and automation are increasing throughout the logistics industry. This is especially true during times of disruption, when companies are adjusting their business models and processes to adjust to consumer demands, and optimizing their processes to remain nimble in the face of uncertainty. De Muynck stressed that the industry’s desire for digitization is increasingly centering on yard management. Why? Particularly in the yard, COVID-19 has highlighted some difficult challenges, forcing organizations to take a hard look at the ways they can improve operations. Some of these challenges include:

With the increased need for more automation in the yard, De Muynck pointed out, the need for a YMS that incorporates real-time visibility and dynamic appointment scheduling is paramount. Such a solution will drive greater efficiency in the yard and better collaboration with carriers.

Why is a YMS so important?

Optimized YMSs serve as the connective tissue between transportation and warehousing. Key focuses include trailer visibility, inventory management, appointment management for loading and unloading freight, and security and compliance, to name a few. Until now, this integral part of the supply chain has been largely manual and static in nature.

To drive greater efficiency for the yard, Gartner recommends:

  • Addressing the gap between warehouse and transportation operations
  • Investigating how next-generation yard management solutions can increase your company’s yard visibility, optimize asset utilization, enhance transit flows and decrease costs
  • Determining if you can easily expand your current capabilities by extending visibility into the yard, or if you need a full yard management solution
  • Identifying other capabilities that can be easily implemented to further automate yard processes and provide value

On the need for comprehensive yard visibility, De Muynck said, “Historically, YMSs were implemented in companies with very large or complex yards, not based on industry or mode. But with the new generation of YMS, we don’t necessarily need a full YMS; rather you can benefit from parts of it with yard, visibility and dynamic appointment scheduling. Those are important for anyone who receives or ships product.” In Gartner’s view, this new generation of YMSs is democratizing these technologies. “You don’t have to be a huge company with a huge yard to benefit from these platforms. Now, you can be a small company with fewer movements, and you can use this same technology to get similar benefits.” Moreover, he points out, many of these new solutions are cloud-based, which translates into lower upfront cost and quicker time to value.

What makes Dynamic Yard different?

In order to proactively manage exceptions across the supply chain and enable true digitization and automation, your YMS and in-transit freight visibility solution need to communicate with each other – but these integrations can be difficult and costly. FourKites’ recently announced Dynamic Yard offers both seamless integration with our real-time visibility platform and unprecedented automation, from dock and appointment scheduling to gate and spotter task management, all in one, seamless solution.

“Real-time visibility continues to be at the heart of all of our solutions,” FourKites Chief Product Officer Priya Rajagopalan told our audience. “Just as we founded a new category with real-time visibility, we’re thrilled to be doing the same with Dynamic Yard. And like many of our best innovations, the idea for how to revolutionize the yard management space came from conversations with our customers.”

Here’s how we addressed their needs:

  • Visibility + Automation: Traditional YMSs claim real-time visibility, but that visibility stops at the gate, leaving carriers and yard teams siloed and in the dark when it comes to the real-time load status. An industry-first, Dynamic Yard offers real-time and predictive in-transit and in-yard visibility, providing you with end-to-end automation.
  • Appointment Management: Legacy YMSs have no ability to dynamically update appointment times when loads are running late. Appointment scheduling has historically been one of the most frustrating aspects of logistics, and a highly manual process. Even for those facilities that use an electronic appointment scheduler, multiple systems need to be updated in the case of rescheduling, inevitably involving a series of  phone calls and emails to get the job done. And without in-transit visibility, those systems lack clear insight into when trucks will arrive. With Dynamic Yard, trucks running late are flagged and appointments can be dynamically swapped or rescheduled.
  • Gate Operations: Traditionally, gate guards are the last to know that a truck is missing its appointment. Dynamic Yard auto-updates the gate appointment list to reflect real-time ETAs and keep all stakeholders in the know.
  • Dock Scheduling: Without proactive notification that a truck will miss its dock appointment, the dock team waits idly and productivity nosedives. With dock schedule optimization in Dynamic Yard, a new schedule is dynamically created to minimize dwell time and drastically improve productivity.
  • Spotter Tasking: Traditional YMSs offer only static spotter task assignment, which is misleading for spotters and increases their idle time. Dynamic Yard auto-adjusts spotter task assignments on designated tablets, giving spotters the most up-to-date task list and a comprehensive yard map showing where trailers should be moved in real time.

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In the same way FourKites redefined supply chain management with real-time visibility, it is now bringing real-time in-transit and in-yard visibility to reimagine the yard. As De Muynck noted on our webinar, “The new generation of yard management is more dynamic, enabled by visibility and automation.” At FourKites, we’re thrilled to be able to build the solutions that help our customers and the logistics industry at large achieve true end-to-end visibility and automation.

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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