Yard Management is defined as “the overseeing of trucks, trailers, and inventory in the yard of a manufacturing facility, warehouse, or distribution center.” At Columbian Logistics Network, Yard Management means more than white boards with door numbers and hand written movement lists handed to a spotter or yard truck driver. Columbian uses a state of the art Yard Management System called YardView (www.yardview.com).
To understand the impacts of Yard Management as a discipline, it’s important to understand where a “yard” begins and ends. At Columbian, the yard begins where the warehouse ends- at the dock door. YardView is configured to include all dock doors in all buildings across the CLN campus. From there, the yard stretches to trailer storage areas, along fences, between dock doors, and in yards. The system can even be configured to give each individual trailer “parking spot” its own unique location. Finally, the yard ends at the gate, guard shack, or entrance of each facility.
Much like a Warehouse Management System (WMS), which tracks the life cycle of a specific pallet or conveyance through a warehouse, the YMS tracks the life cycle of each and every trailer that enters the facility. Again, like a pallet of inventory, each trailer has a unique set of properties, from identifiers like length, carrier, and trailer number, to qualitative measures like cleanliness, condition, and even inventory on the trailer. Similar records are kept for each user and truck in an operation.Putting together all of this data, the YMS is capable of managing several functions that in many cases are done manually, or not at all.
While the YMS provides plenty of benefits when deployed in a “desktop” deployment, the introduction of mobile technology allows Columbian to really unleash the power of the system. Starting in 2013, Columbian began installing tablets into all Shuttle & Switch trucks, along with the YardView mobile app. In today’s mobile deployment, moving a trailer from one door to another is as simple as dragging and dropping. From there, a notification is sent to the tablet in the truck and assigned to a driver. Upon completion of the move, the driver confirms, and the system is updated in real time.
Implementation of the mobile YMS was a relatively easy transition, and metrics related to driver productivity, trailer dwell time, and dock turns have all improved. Additionally, there is no special hardware to purchase. Columbian uses commonly available tablets and mounts with 3G cellular technology for wireless connectivity. In the right application, wifi throughout the yard could be possible as well.
Whether you do it yourself, or outsource the switching and shuttling of trailers to a third party provider like Columbian, a Yard Management System can do wonders for bridging the gap between plant operations and transportation.