While the cost of YMS has dramatically declined in recent years, that alone doesn't make a case for needing it. But given the benefits it can confer on an operation, there are many reasons to consider implementing one.
We've put together 8 key signs that your operation might benefit.
1 - It feels like you need another yard driver
If your yard drivers are spending valuable time hunting for misplaced trailers, moving the same trailer multiple times and/or the operation is continually waiting on yard drivers to either remove or bring in trailers, you have a good case for implementing a YMS.
One of the largest costs of operating your yard is the driver. When productivity slips due to inefficient or non-existent planning, that driver is overworked and it looks like you'll need another person doing that job.
A YMS will optimize the drivers' tasks, help prevent double moves, streamline communication and eliminate hunting for trailers in the yard.
2 - Manual yard checks are becoming more frequent
If staff are out in the yard doing trailer inventory several times a day, they are wasting valuable time and collecting information that is immediately out of date.
With a YMS you can enforce best practices so that trailers are where they are supposed to be, and manual counting will be a thing of the past.
3 - Yard operations are not optimized
A lack of planning means that activities are haphazard, nobody takes responsibility and there is a general lack of visibility into activities and trailer locations.
A best-of-breed YMS requires a thorough planning process, taking into account business objectives and constraints and building operational rules that will optimize labour and asset utilization.
4 - The gate is a chokepoint
Manual in and out processes are slowing things down and causing lineups at the gate. The delays then encourage drivers to just drop their trailers in the first available spot instead of where they've been instructed to put them.
A YMS will allow for automatic check-in via mobile device, and will direct drivers to leave their trailer in an easy-to-find and logical location, thereby helping to encourage good practices.
5 - Carriers want to drop trailers so their drivers can leave
With the severe and worsening driver shortage affecting carriers' ability to deliver loads, it's no wonder they are increasingly requesting drop and hook programs. Enabling a driver to spend less time at the DC delivering his load means he is more productive for his employer and can make more money for himself.
A well-managed, YMS-enabled facility makes it possible for drivers to roll in, drop their load and move on, in the quickest possible timeframe. It will also help avoid driver detention fines imposed by carriers.
6 - Trailer demurrage fees are high and climbing
If you cannot process third-party trailers quickly enough with your drop and hook program, you will end up paying charges for container dwell time. The worse the backlog, the more demurrage fees you'll end up forking over.
Since carriers normally include a standardized amount of 'free' time before demurrage fees kick in, your YMS can build that in, and will be able to prioritize the trailers that need to be moved to avoid being charged. The Yard Management Software will also automatically notify carriers that their trailers are available, eliminating.
7 - Dock staff are frequently waiting for trailers
If docks are sitting idle waiting for trailers, you are wasting valuable human and infrastructure resources, not to mention potentially delaying important outbound shipments, and impinging on warehouse operations.
A YMS will provide visibility into when a dock is becoming available, and will notify the yard driver that a particular trailer needs to be moved there. Based on your business priorities, it will ensure the maximum throughput is achieved with minimum idle time.
8 - Costs are out of hand
The lack of coordination combined with excessive trailer moves, demurrage charges and wasted labour are all adding up to increased costs for yard activities.
A Yard Management System can ensure that all resources are used to their optimum advantage and waste is minimized.