This Transportation & Logistics (T&L) Insights series is based on research by Levvel, who joined the Endava family in 2021. The team surveyed over 500 US-based companies who procure transportation and logistics services internally and externally to get their views on their challenges, needs, and use of digital technology solutions.
While companies often perceive technology innovation to mean things like high-end robotics, artificial intelligence, and fully autonomous vehicles, there are many elements in the supply chain that can be modernized without requiring great effort or cost, while still providing the competitive edge T&L companies are looking for. In this series, we will present current industry challenges and how digital technology can help reduce friction, enhance efficiency, and provide a better experience for businesses and their customers.
RELIANCE ON LEGACY SYSTEMS
With today’s continuing supply chain challenges, every aspect of procuring, moving, and handling cargo must operate at peak efficiency to keep things running smoothly.
Levvel’s survey found that despite technology being available, many companies continue to rely on legacy systems and manual processes to convey vital information. For example, around 40% of businesses continue to rely on paper, a phone call, or a dock manager to lead the driver to a specific unloading dock.
These legacy systems may work for the smallest companies, but for anyone running a mid- to large-size operation, it’s simply not productive. The inefficiencies can create backlogs and increase driver detention and wait times, which can increase costs. With today’s labor shortage, many freight carriers are charging additional accessorial fees for detention and dwell time to avoid trucks sitting on site.
Companies can gain a competitive edge by using a yard management system (YMS). Yard management systems are designed to facilitate the management of trucks, trailers, pallets, containers, and personnel in the yard, warehouse, or distribution center (DC). A YMS provides real-time notifications to drivers and helps automatically route traffic.
OVERCOMING YARD MANAGEMENT CHALLENGES
One of the biggest challenges in the yard is manual operations, which result in difficulties locating inventory and assets, high operational costs, and labor overtime.
A YMS, integrated with a warehouse management system (WMS) and/or inventory management system (IMS), helps alleviate these concerns by creating a more streamlined solution. By monitoring dwell time and providing real-time visibility into the location of assets and their operational status, companies can more rapidly identify the best way to accelerate operations and control costs.
Other benefits include:
- Reduced manual walkthrough and inventory checks
- Proactive monitoring of delays in the visit lifecycle for carriers
- Improved safety by reducing personnel in the yard
- Consistent check-in and checkout processes
- Reduced queuing at the gate and yard congestion
- Improved spotter effectiveness with electronic notifications
- Reduced costs due to driver detention or demurrage
HOW YARD MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS ARE SHAPING THE FUTURE OF SUPPLY CHAINS
As in many other parts of business, time is money when it comes to managing the yard. By automating processes and reducing reliance on human intervention, companies can enhance speed and precision. Artificial intelligence (AI) and automation are shaping the future of supply chain management by using real-time data to improve resource utilization.
Automated gatehouse check-in saves time and automatically directs drivers to a dock door or parking bay. Drivers can receive a gate pass and any outbound instructions, allowing them to leave the site after delivery without having to check in with a transport clerk.
Internet of Things (IoT) devices, radio frequency identification (RFID) chips, and mobile sensors track and authenticate products and can evaluate shipments for environmental damage, such as temperature fluctuations or shock during transport. As part of an end-to-end supply chain management process, a YMS is essential to running a systematic operation.
Read our other Transportation & Logistics Insights articles to learn more about how technology can help alleviate industry challenges.