PINC, says Gollu, stems from Position Inc., which is essentially what a good yard management system should do: achieve optimal positioning in the yard through real-time visibility. That, in turn, will result in increased yard velocity, more on-time shipments, reduced operating costs and better customer service.
It seems like a lot to expect from something that's a relatively small part of the overall supply chain, certainly when compared to transportation and the warehouse. But a poorly-run yard can seriously impact those operations, enough so that the benefits one expected from efficiencies in those areas can be lost.
"If something is not moved to a dock door on time," Gollu says, "a manufacturing plant may have to stop or a shipment can be delayed." Obviously, the downstream effects of that can sting retailers and many others.
Yard management has largely been manual, Gollu notes. User entry at the gate and in the yard itself may be done by somebody walking around with pad and paper. Yard management software can capture that information, but the traditional approach also relies on manual input of data. Today, GPS and RFID technologies are mature enough that all of this information can be captured automatically, and that's important because the yard typically is a highly dynamic environment.
A well-built YMS will fit into the overall system without being a burden, Gollu says. Savings on labor, reduced inventory and trailer pools and late fees are difficult to generalize. But a good system can save $100,000 per 8-hour shift over a year.
Gollu says you shouldn't think of the YMS as a stand-alone item. Rather it's part of the overall supply chain. After all, the yard is the connecting point among companies shipping goods from one facility to another. In a sense, it's a money pit.
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