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Supply Chain Pros See Yards Overburdened by Manual Processes

February 4, 2021

Yard management represents a massive and costly blind spot for the world’s leading shippers and their supply chain partners, according to a new survey released today by FourKites. “The State of Yard Management: Industry Report 2021” sheds light on the barriers holding back the optimization of yard operations and includes responses from 375 supply chain professionals across the CPG, F&B, Retail and Manufacturing industries about their unique pain points and how they manage their yards.

The survey reveals that while more than nine in 10 respondents (92%) believe a yard management system (YMS)1 could add value to their organizations, only 25% currently use a YMS. This gap in perceived value and real-world adoption of YMS can be attributed to several factors, including organizations prioritizing investments in transportation management systems (TMS) and warehouse management systems (WMS), and deficiencies in many legacy YMS solutions.

As a result, companies have been forced to accept the many inefficiencies that stem from a lack of real-time visibility and automation in the yard, from time wasted locating equipment to escalating labor and operational costs, to name a few.

Key survey findings

More than half of respondents cite manual processes as their biggest challenge when it comes to both yard and appointment management (55% and 52%, respectively).

After manual processes, 21% listed locating equipment as their biggest yard management pain point, followed by 15% citing excessive operational costs.

After manual processes, just over 20% of respondents cited poor dock door utilization as their biggest challenge with managing appointments, followed by 18% citing siloes between appointment management and TMS/WMS.
27% of respondents do not maintain any kind of yard or appointment performance metrics.

More than 1 in 5 (22%) respondents are still managing gate processes on paper, and only 5% have taken steps to automate these processes.

Over 40% of Retailers have adopted a YMS, representing the highest group of users among the industries surveyed.

New, state-of-the-art YMS solutions enable first-mile to last-mile optimization
While traditional homegrown and legacy YMSs offer some minimal visibility within the physical borders of the yard, they don’t connect to other critical systems, nor do they offer analytic, predictive or automated capabilities. And while technology has increasingly been coming to the yard (e.g., IoT devices, sensors, autonomous trucking), it’s an area that has still been highly disconnected from what’s happening in real-time with shipments in transit.

Now, a new generation of yard management solutions are coming to market that combine robust integrations with TMS, WMS and real-time transportation visibility platforms (RTTVPs) to provide a full picture of operations and serve as the single source of truth for centralized analysis and monitoring. They provide comprehensive reporting and metrics to ensure every site is performing optimally, from the smallest up to multiple enterprise locations.

With COVID-19 disruptions only exacerbating the management of congested yards and gatehouses, many companies are now realizing the need for better last-mile visibility into inbound loads to manage the flow of traffic through their distribution sites. This new generation of YMS is poised to deliver, with average implementations improving workforce efficiency by 25-30%, increasing dock throughput by 20-40%, and reducing detention costs by 40-80%.

“Companies need real-time visibility into every mile of a product’s journey,” said Matt Elenjickal, Founder and CEO of FourKites. “Now, a new generation of yard management systems, integrated with real-time in-transit visibility platforms and other key systems, can help facility managers optimize the yard — reducing dwell times and increasing operating margins in the process — and track a product from point of origin to destination.”

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