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What is Yard Management & a Yard Management System?

Have you ever heard of a yard management system? If not, chances are good that you have heard of yard management. No, this is not inventory management of large items, like tractors or farm equipment. But, it is no less important than the effective management of a warehouse, distribution center or brick-and-mortar store.
Fundamentally, yard management is the process by which your organization directs inbound and outbound vehicles and trucks, personnel, shipments, pallets and everything moving in the yard to your docks. Having the right balance of inbound and outbound freight relies on effective yard management. In other words, radios and clipboards will not cut it, reports Inbound Logistics. Instead, your company needs a better yard management system, and you need to know how to pick the right one.

Define Problems in Existing Yard Management.

You cannot improve upon what you do not understand. To find a yard management system that helps your business, list the problems you are now experiencing, like extensive deadhead or late deliveries. Using these problems, identify the requirements in a system to correct them, like better scheduling or automated reporting of vehicle and shipment location through low-energy devices, like Bluetooth or radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags.

Consider Ease of Integration.

An effective yard management system must have integration capabilities. Obviously, some systems may be limited in integration, so consider working with a third-party integrator (3PI) to manage this process. It is also prudent to consider other ways of handling the problems, like developing an appointment management system, not a full-fledged yard management system.

Analyze the ROI of a New System.

Implementing a yard management system represents an added cost to your business, so you need to carefully evaluate its return on investment (ROI). Consider the system’s benefits and drawbacks, and remember to include both indirect and direct impacts.

For example, an indirect impact would be the system eliminating confusion and improving order accuracy, while reduced labor costs of those working in the yard reflect direct impacts?

Another factor to consider in ROI evaluation is the system’s framework. In other words, will the system’s primary software be installed on-premises or in the cloud?

Test the System.

After selecting a system, it is important to perform testing to ensure its operability and security. This will reduce risk and ensure speed during actual deployment. Moreover, some companies may offer minimal testing, but true, effective testing should include a thorough evaluation of the system’s core functions and abilities.

How Do You Find an Effective Yard Management System?

Now that you know what to look for, you need to know where to look. Start with companies that have a reputation for integrating systems or providing one-stop warehouse or inventory management systems, like Manhattan Associates. Afterward, you can begin the integration process with an established 3PI, such as Veridian Solutions, to enhance your company’s yard management practices.