Yard Management Automation Done in 5 Easy Steps

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November 18, 2021

Illustration of automated gears and cogs rotating in a digital look with the words Yard Management Automation

When you are in need of streamlining your yard operations, yard management systems are the key to your team’s automation. YMS automation includes optimizing daily yard tasks, while ensuring system implementation and securing on-time deliveries. Automating your operations yard includes improving carrier relations, utilizing warehouse resources more efficiently, and ensuring on-time deliveries. YMS automation systems are collaborative tools for scheduling and managing warehouse operations. Let’s talk more about what yard management automation is and the process for achieving it.

What is Yard Management Automation?

If you were to mention yard management automation in a conversation, the initial assumption would be that it is more about understanding some type of complex algorithm that understands a complex system and explains supply chain operations. Fortunately, that is not the case. Implementing a yard management system is initially obtaining the right internal software system that can be integrated with existing tools as one cohesive and united unit. When you have an in-depth understanding of how the yard operation needs to run, you will realize what specific processes require automations to boost efficiency. Yard Management Systems (YMS) incorporate real-time information on various locations of trailers across the yard and allows employees to move trailers to docks and streamline operations. Once you know what you are looking for, it is smooth sailing from there.

Automate Your Yard Management in 5 Easy Steps

After realizing the areas of improvement that you will need to automate, you can follow this easy 5-step process.

  1. Determine Involved Software
  2. Determine Data Sharing Capabilities
  3. Identify Touch Points
  4. Plan
  5. Execute

Once all of the steps are in place, you will have the tools to automate your Yard Management System and take your yard operations to the next level.

Step 1 – Determine Which Software Systems are Involved

A man's hand grabbing a white symbol with the letters ERP for Enterprise Resource Planning rotating with other software icons

With so many software options on the market, you could have multiple software systems already in place and may be looking to add additional systems in the future. You want to research and determine the benefits of each software that will be feeding information to your yard management system before making a final decision. Below are some common software systems that we see installed at many logistics operations.

A Warehouse Management System (WMS) is used to support and optimize warehouse functionality and distribution center management.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a software used to manage day-to-day business activities including accounting, procurement, project management, risk management, compliance, and supply chain operations.

A Transportation Management System (TMS) is used as a subset to supply chain management for transportation operations.

Other enterprise systems are large-scale software packages that can track and control complex operations of a business where other systems cannot assist. With comprehensive data at your fingertips, your YMS system will serve as a single source for centralized analysis and monitoring. Information feeds from either a WMS, ERP, TMS, or other enterprise system will greatly improve operational efficiencies, boost information accuracy, and generate detailed reporting metrics and tools for your entire yard operation.

Step 2 – Determine Data Sharing Capabilities

Now since we have laid out all of the software system options that are integral parts to your yard operations, the next step is to identify the data sharing capabilities of each system and determine which one best fits your needs based on what they can share, what they can’t share, as well as which data can be sent and received freely throughout each system. Let’s refer back to those common software systems seen in most logistical operations and see how they tie into the overall automation of the yard.

Warehouse Management Systems provide benefits to your operational efficiency for both labor and physical space by monitoring work processes at various levels, thus enhancing productivity and asset utilization.

Enterprise Resource Planning provides enhanced business reporting tools to gain real-time information, improved inventory costs, and better supply chain management for yard operations.

Transportation Management Systems offer detailed plans and optimizations for route efficiency, streamlined vehicle load optimization, and collects vast amounts of data that can identify areas for improvement to boost efficiency.

It’s essential to analyze all current and future software implementations and determine their data sharing capabilities. The level at which data can be sent and received between integrated systems will determine how strong your operation can be as a whole.

Step 3 – Identify Actionable Touch Points

A man standing on the edge of a rocky cliff over the clouds with a telescope looking off into the distance

Once you research and identify the data sharing capabilities of each of your systems, the next step will be to discover actionable touchpoints for automation; for example, what specifically needs automating. You do that by visualizing how assets and tasks move through each system and determine key points that may be inefficient for future tasks.

Opposite of traditional yard management solutions that only show you what is happening in your yard, automated systems expand your real-time visibility that optimize your yard operations from all ends. Even though you might not directly impact yard operations with this expanded automation, you will indirectly boost efficiency. It is important to take action on those touch points with automation so future key decisions are streamlined and completed automatically.

Step 4 – Plan the Project

So, let’s recap. You have identified which software systems are involved with automating your YMS Solution. Check. You have pinpointed their data sharing capabilities and determined actionable touch points. Check and check. Now, it is time to plan the project. By utilizing the first 3 steps, you can now plan your yard management automation project. A good starting point will be to lay out all of the necessary steps and create a detailed strategy that outlines each detail on how to get the automation system in place. Once all details are in order, it’s time to implement and execute your plan into action.

Step 5 – Execute and Implement

Well, you made it! You have done all of the hard work to get to this point, and now it’s time to get the ball rolling. The next task will be to find people who you believe would be the best fit to get involved; you want to make sure you have the proper personnel on board. Then, you will select who you will employ as software vendors to help and direct. Build a team that you can rely on and feel confident that your plan will be executed as smoothly as possible. Once all of the boxes are checked, let go of controls and watch your automation system take flight.

Best Automated Yard Management Solution on the Market

Yardview Pro Yard Management Software white logo overlay on a blue background of a trailer yard

YardView is the leader in the industry for more than 20 years by providing innovative automated solutions for your operations yard. Our YMS solution is easy to install, easy to adopt, reduces detention/demurrage fees, improves trailer spotting, enhances visibility, and streamlines yard driver communication. We even provide 24/7 cloud-based access and support. But, most importantly, the YardView yard management system delivers an automation solution that is second to none. Our software automates key tasks based on yard inventory, and prioritizes responsibilities based on scheduled reports, delivering constant monitoring and alerting when needed. By offering the standard best-of-breed functionality on the market today, the YardView YMS provides powerful, user-friendly data and analytics so you can keep up with current updates. Demo our YMS software today!