Are Your Yards Connected to the Supply Chain Ecosystem?
By definition, an ecosystem is a group of interconnected elements, formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with their environment. The same concept applies in the supply chain, where networks of organizations—including manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, retailers, customers, and carriers—are all involved in the hands-on delivery of a specific product or service.
While few would argue the important role that the manufacturing plant, warehouse, distribution center, and transportation channel play in getting goods from the raw material stage to the end user, at least one link in that chain is consistently ignored or overlooked. That’s because for the most part, yard management methods are still manual data capturing and processing processes. This reality is creating significant challenges in today’s fast-paced, omni-channel distribution environment where smaller and smaller orders are expected to reach their final destinations within ever-shrinking windows of time.
In the article titled Is Your Yard Ready to Join the Digital Revolution?, I stressed some of the key yard management challenges organizations are facing today. Corporations have made significant investments in managing their transportation and warehouse assets using transportation and warehouse applications; they now realize that without real-time, accurate trailer and shipment status information across their facilities, they cannot gain full value for these technology investments. For instance, delays in the yard can mean production down time for manufacturing operations, product spoilage if handling perishable goods, lost opportunities caused by stock-out for retailers, or credibility issues with carriers and customers.