Automation is revolutionizing every aspect of supply chain logistics, and yard automation is no exception. Yard management is the process that organizes trucks, personnel, shipments, and everything moving in the yard to the docks. Traditionally, yard management has been a costly process that requires extensive labor hours. Automating some of the processes involved in yard management can reduce costs and improve turnaround times.
The right automated system could simplify many of the yard management tasks that were previously handled manually. Relying on these systems could save money and provide you with valuable information on how the yard functions. Learn more about why there is a growing focus on yard automation by calling our team today.
The benefits of yard automation systems are significant. In previous years, yard management required extensive man-hours to keep the trucks moving in and out on time. An initial investment in an automated system can lead to major cost savings over time, given the reduced labor needs. Automation usually lowers costs related to detention and demurrage, and these systems could also improve the flow of information while reducing mistakes.
Additionally, automation gives management an opportunity to improve their processes with live, accurate data updates from the yard. Recorded metrics are typically more accurate through an automated system than someone trying to count things manually. Improving supply chain process based on data gathered from the shipping yard could shave off more delivery time, ultimately maximizing your bottom line.
There are different ways to automate yard processes, each of which cuts costs and improves performance.
Most automated yard management systems rely on radio-frequency identification technology (RFID), which uses magnetic fields to identify objects or vehicles in a specified vicinity. Typically, each trailer is equipped with an RFID device that can be read automatically at various points in the yard. RFID tags could be useful in gate management as well as asset tracking.
Automated inventory tracking systems in the yard, combined with digital scheduling systems in the warehouse, can simplify the notification process for appointments, check-ins, and impending deliveries. This would also allow you to customize schedules based on average delivery times and newly discovered weaknesses in your yard management system.
One of the areas where automation could drastically improve yard operations is at the gate. Gate management has always been one of the major labor costs associated with shipping yards. This chokepoint can also lead to major delays when operated inefficiently. By automating gate-in and gate-out procedures, it could be possible to speed up all subsequent yard operations, as well as reduce accidents.
Gate automation is typically built on RFID technology that allows scanners at the gates to quickly identify trucks as they come and go. These systems can then forward important scheduling information throughout the supply chain.
Not every business is in a position to fully automate its yard operations. For some, the most efficient option could be to rely on third-party logistics for their yard.