7 Yard Management Challenges Impacting your Bottom Line

Written by: 
Kimberly Mertlich
Posted on: 
November 22, 2019

The last mile in your supply chain may be the most expensive if operations are disorganized leaving gaps and inefficiencies that are costing you. Do you know what areas are negatively impacting your bottom line? Take a look below at the top ten challenges impacting yard management today and how a yard management system (YMS) can help.

1. Inventory

Your yard is a dynamic, complex and fast-moving area of your overall operation. White boards, Excel spreadsheets, legacy systems or no real system can cause a variety of problems for your team and does not provide a way to easily communicate effectively with all departments up to date information.

A yard management system provides you with real-time data so you know what’s in the yard, what’s inside the assets, priority loads, exceptions and what to do next. Without a reliable yard management solution, the entire supply chain is adversely affected when information is not properly documented and communicated. Lack of visibility impacts the warehouse, yard and transportation sectors. Some companies utilize RFID tags, others barcodes and some utilize GPS – all of which provide different areas of strengths and weaknesses contributing to visibility in the operations.

2. Detention and Demurrage Fees

When empty containers are stored too long or sit empty too long, charges are incurred known as detention and demurrage fees. How do you track which trailers are empty, where they are located and how long they have been there? As you are walking around a yard making notes, trailers are passing you in both directions. By the time that paper gets back to the desk, it’s already outdated.

Many yard management systems provide the ability to confirm or contest the fees and you may even allow the carrier to access some of the information themselves. System alerts, e-mails and text messages notify personnel of approaching deadlines and fees. Ultimately, you can reduce fees by 97% with a dependable yard management system.

3. Truck Driver Management

Driver management has taken a new turn with the ELD mandate deadline quickly approaching requiring certified devices that track driver hours, mileage location and edit history. Additionally, Eyesight Technologies has even created a camera that monitors drivers in great detail including head position, eyelids and eyes to gauge fatigue and drowsiness. It can be difficult to track what drivers are doing on the yard specifically and yard management is no exception to creating a solution that helps keep drivers accountable and organized.

A yard management system tracks who, what, when, where and how as well as driver tasks. Hourly, daily, weekly and monthly metrics will keep your drivers accountable while identifying opportunities to create more efficient processes.

4. Dock Management

The ability to locate empty trailers and request them to or from a gate is a common problem for every yard. Managing the dock is all about the ability to meet load schedules and avoid congestion. Imagine standing at the dock with a piece of paper and radio, trying to talk to the guard or yard hostler about every trailer coming and going and where empties are, or when the next one is about to come because the time you wrote was an hour ago, and the truck still isn’t here.

A cloud-based yard solution connects everyone together with an appointments and scheduling tool to ensure a dock runs smoothly. A calendar view provides a complete overview of pending and late receiving appointments as well as pending and late shipping appointments. Easily view the schedule, pending, completed and late appointments at the touch of a button, then use available reports to highlight yard inefficiencies that can be improved.

5. “He Said, She Said.”

Accountability is the key to great relationships in the work place. When all parties are aware their work is being recorded and used in reports under review, operations tend to run a lot smoother. Suddenly, honesty and integrity are part of the equation and respect grows between employees.

Reporting is key in a yard management solution to monitor and manage drivers, lot check time, fees, turn times just to name a few. Having the ability to create reports is only half the equation. Utilizing them with key areas and individuals of the yard are what make them valuable. Determine a time to review reports and a process for correcting and improving areas of opportunity in the yard. This is where the savings really comes into play.

6. Employee Retention

A great deal of time is spent talking about the logistics of your yard and how that impacts your bottom line but without your employees, the yard can’t operate. They are crucial to your operation and when there is a negative culture in the yard, nobody wants to stay. This is two-fold, addressing the culture of your yard and empowering staff with the right tools to help them succeed.

A survey by DC Velocity and ARC Advisory group rated warehouse staffing and “39.2 percent of companies did well on the "people" category, which defined success as a turnover rate of less than 10 percent of employees annually. The survey found 29.5 percent of companies had an employee turnover rate of 10 to 25 percent, while 21 percent had a turnover rate of 25 to 50 percent.” Steve Banker, vice president of supply chain services at ARC said “management matters”.

Set clear expectations that are realistic so staff can feel proud of their accomplishments and responsibilities. Without the right tools and information, your team may feel it’s impossible to perform the duties as expected. Give employees what they need to get the job done right, and all parties succeed. Retention levels rise, and training time is reduced.

7. Gate Management

When a truck driver arrives at the gate, the guard is responsible for collecting paperwork, data field entry and walking around to inspect the truck. Several situations can cause time delays at the gate. Collecting a lot of data can be time consuming. If the paperwork does not match with the truck “seal”, the load has been opened or changes and doesn’t match the paperwork code. Or perhaps the load is refused and is sent back to the distribution center.

A yard management system helps solve these problems by only capturing the data that is needed and helps identify or correct seals that may be trying to leave with incorrect paperwork so there are no issues at the destination gate either.

Between the warehouse and transportation is your yard. With all the moving parts, a reliable yard management system can help reduce costs by thousands. Learn more about how YardView’s full-suite, yard management software system addressed specific company challenges here.