Yards are the intersection between warehouses and transportation. They are a critical linkage in logistics management practices and have a significant impact on the overall efficiency of the supply chain.

Companies of all industries and verticals that are involved in moving inventory through the supply chain, now realize that transportation delays often take place not only on the road, but while the assets are still in yards at distribution centers (DCs) and manufacturing plants. As all goods often go through multiple yards throughout the shipment lifecycle, any inefficiencies or errors in the yard are amplified as the effects propagate through the entire supply chain.

According to industry leading analysts, on average, a trailer shipment, between one facility to another facility, takes three days. Of that shipment time, over two-and-a-half days (80%), a trailer is actually in a yard idling either empty or loaded. The loaded shipments represent idle inventory and this idle time is, usually, the result of trailer status information delays and information inaccuracies along the supply chain.

While 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 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.

Distribution center managers and supply chain executives agree that without a dependable yard management solution, the actual arrival and departure times of trailers, location information in the yard, and load status are not properly tracked -- the entire supply chain is adversely impacted at each facility within the distribution chain. Errors and inaccurate information ripple throughout the supply chain. A late shipment or a misplaced trailer in the yard will impact all warehouse and transportation plans managers have in place and result in poor customer service.

The productivity of today’s complex warehouse and manufacturing operations can easily be impacted by inefficiencies in the yard such as: 

  • Delayed shipments to and from the warehouse
  • Lack of shipment and trailer visibility needed for efficient shuttling between plant and distribution centers
  • Unable to locate empties to meet outbound load schedules
  • Inefficient yard trailer management requiring higher spotter and shuttle spend
  • Gate congestion
  • Demurrage or detention charges
  • Truck driver detention
  • Higher trailer costs for dedicated operations
  • Inability to monitor operations for safety and compliance violations
  • Difficulty in reducing the carbon footprint without negatively impacting operations

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