It is not uncommon to find that your Warehouse Management System (WMS) comes with a Yard Management System (YMS) too, but what are you really paying for by implementing the “free” add-on?
Having a WMS with a yard management feature sounds like it would keep it simple for the end user but truth is, both systems are complex in design and having an add-on yard management system won’t make the cut for your operational needs, costing you more time and even more money.
A sibling relationship
A yard management software application tracks trailer movement, inventory, and operational processes in the yard. Along with scheduling appointments and driver/dock/gate management, this automated system streamlines the time it takes for gate checks, loading and unloading of assets.
Warehouse management systems improve the efficiency of inventory tracking throughout a warehouse or distribution center (DC), ensuring processes are faster and more accurate – in the warehouse, not outside in the yard.
Both systems typically used a cloud-based approach and it’s optimal for a WMS and YMS to work together for a smooth supply chain.
Can the “Free” add-on YMS offered by your WMS provider give you with all the features and functionality you need?
What to look for in your Warehouse Management System
Warehouse logistics can be challenging - tracking inventory,product counts and location, communication and processes. A WMS is essential to survive tech savvy consumer expectations in today’s economy and provides complete visibility into your warehouse.
Interestingly, only 2/3 of companies have implemented a WMS and will fail to keep up unless they make the switch. WERC wrote in a report that, “While 30% more facilities have implemented a WMS (than in 2008), almost 35% are still not using one to manage the warehouse, relying instead on manual means such as Excel and disparate modules to run individual functions.”
Some of these systems may still rely on a legacy model which was a better option when larger pallets and cases were being managed, however today’s “on-demand” consumer expects quick turnaround times and cloud-based systems are essential. Veridian outlines several benefits of cloud-based WMS, stating that “Cloud-driven WMS is the next frontier for effective supply chain management.”
Macy Bergoon, ODW's vice president of information technology speaks to the shift from a legacy system in an e-commerce world. "If a customer can cancel their order at any given time, that means the days of saying, 'Hey, we already picked your order and it's on its way to the retail store' are over. Right up until the moment that order gets put on the truck,you have to have the ability to stop the order, because the retailer is offering that option to the consumer."
According to Logistics Management, trends to look for when you are shopping around for a WMS include systems with machine learning, a system that can interject last-minute orders, provide precision management and one that has a friendlier user interface. Don’t forget about easy implementation.
What to look for in your Yard Management Solution
The last mile in your supply chain, may be the most important and costly for your operation without a quality Yard Management solution. Typical challenges of yard management include visibility in the yard and wasted time: empty trailers sitting at the gate, loading/unloading times and driver management to name a few.
A full featured yard management software is automated, easy to use, and provides complete visibility into the yard – location of trailers,if they are full or empty, time it takes at the gate or dock. At the touch of a button, drivers and trailers are managed increasing efficiencies and eliminating the need for paper and spreadsheets that contain out dated information by the time they get back to the desk.
DC Velocity outlines fivemust-have features in a YMS including the most basic being appointment scheduling – date and time - for truck arrivals to maintain flow of the yard. "From a warehouse operations perspective, the first and foremost feature is robust appointment scheduling functionality," says Mike Pujda, a project manager at the consulting firm Tompkins International Inc.
Alerts are another feature that notify managers and keep them on track. For example, to stay on top of demurrage fees that occur when you hold a trailer too long.
DC Velocity also mentions that integration capabilities is one of the most important for operations today since a wide variety of systems are used, in addition to a WMS or transportation management system (TMS).Fortunately, most all yard management systems integrate with common providers like SAP, JDA/Red Prairie and Thermo King. Click here to learn more about YardView’s integration capabilities.
What most operations don’t realize is that automation is a feature of almost any yard management system and you don’t have to use it either. The system is customized to your operation and needs and some of the automation features can make processes more efficient, while others may not bet he best fit for you.
Deciding on a Yard Management Solution
It makes sense for your WMS provider to offer a YMS solution because they go hand in hand but consider the costs and functionality. Is your WMS provider missing any functions that are essential for an efficient yard flow?
JDA, formerly known as Red Prairie offers a warehouse management solution with a yard management system, but trailer movement is limited when compared to a system dedicated only to yard management leaving gaps all over the yard. While it may work for some operations, it’s not a solution for all. Do your research to understand what features come with the“add-on”, where it falls short and how that will affect your bottom line. If the features are not full-suite, investing in a yard software dedicated company may save you thousands, cause less headaches and less stress – a much healthier end result for everyone.
YardView is a provider for yard management only, nothing else
YardView specializes in providing a top of the line yard management solution. With automation, integration and dock scheduling as well as driver and gate management, the software is all you need to run an efficient yard and improve communication with your drivers.
Below are just some of the benefits of the software platform, YardViewPro.
· Reduced detention and demurrage fees
· Improved trailer spotting
· Improved driver communication
· Cloud based – 24/7 access anywhere, anytime
Don’t skip on the features and functionality that are essential to running an efficient yard by taking the “free” version. If it’s not what they do exclusively, it’s probably not the best.