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Kati Austin FourKites headshotKati AustinSolutions Marketing Manager, FourKites

Last week, FourKites’ released a brand new episode of The Supply Chainiacs, our podcast hosted by Logistics Yoda Glenn Koepke. In this installment, Glenn and our resident YMS expert, Seve Carnera, discuss the what and why of yard management technology to kick off our four-part YMS Industry Report mini-series. Over the four installments, Glenn and Seve will discuss the results of FourKites’ recent industry report, but in episode one, the focus is on the little-understood role of technology in the yard and the ways in which it empowers every member of the yard team with actionable data and automated workflows.

What is a yard management system?

For an industry as old and vital as supply chain, one would think it natural that the use of technology to expedite and improve workflows would be rampant. Unfortunately, shippers of all stripes have been slow to adopt technology, but nowhere in the supply chain has this been more prevalent than the yard. Warehouse and transportation management systems (WMS and TMS, respectively) have received widespread adoption, but yard management systems (YMS) have not been embraced to the same extent.

At its core, a YMS serves the important function of managing the movement of freight in, out and around the yard. Initially, yard management software prioritized yard visibility and gate efficiency. But the platforms’ ability to optimize these areas was limited by siloed systems and an industry not yet ready to embrace full digitization. Thankfully, the logistics industry is changing its tune. Let’s look at the ways in which YMS platforms have evolved to meet the needs of the modern supply chain.

“A YMS controls the operation from gate check-in all the way through gate-exit, helping enable efficiency, automation and security.” – Glenn Koepke, Senior VP Customer Success, FourKites

How have yard management systems evolved?

The functionality of the average YMS has matured in recent years, with the most recent solutions including functionality like  inventory management and dock scheduling capabilities, to name a few. But systems are still largely siloed, they don’t take into account in-transit data, and the vast majority of shippers are still relying on manual processes. Through conversations with customers, FourKites determined that further development was needed to truly digitize and automate the yard.

“Older YMS systems would have visibility to the yard, but not necessarily real-time locationing systems, meaning you didn’t have an accurate account of where trailers actually were.” – Seve Carnera, Solutions Consultant, FourKites

After identifying the biggest gaps in the YMS market, FourKites developed Dynamic Yard, which integrates advanced technologies to further streamline yard operations. The first solution of its kind to integrate yard management with real-time in-transit visibility, Dynamic Yard gives organizations unprecedented insight into last-mile operations and performance. It also includes live yard mapping, RFID-enabled technology and self-schedule, dynamic appointment management, all of which are informed by real-time ETAs. With this latest generation of innovation in the yard, Seve and Glenn are excited about the level of efficiency, collaboration and resource utilization that is now possible in the yard.

Learn more about Yard Management Systems

What does the future of yard management look like?

Seve attests that future yard management solutions will make expanded use of RFID technology to maintain a constant, reliable view of assets and equipment in the yard. This might even look like active RFID tags, versus the passive RFID tags in greater use today. (Active RFID tags contain a transmitter and their own power source, whereas passive RFID tags draw power from the reader.) This will eliminate hardware redundancies in the yard, thereby streamlining processes and reducing costs for shippers.

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To hear more about how the modern yard management system has evolved, catch the latest Supply Chainiacs episode here. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for the remaining three episodes of this series as we delve deeper into our latest research report, The State of Yard Management.


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