The yard is an integral area where transportation and distribution components meet. With numerous parties and tasks to coordinate, it’s critical that the transition at this stage is seamless. Having the right resources and partners can help companies become more efficient, operationally and financially.
With many moving pieces involved, yard management can greatly impact how successfully operations receive and ship loads. Companies may not realize that they are spending more time than necessary locating trailers, or that they may experience congestion issues as trailers are unloaded, loaded, or set aside and parked for later use. Although the yard could be a bottleneck, with a strategy and partner in place, it can also be an area for opportunity.
Spotting, shuttling, and trailer spotting services are a few ways companies can improve how efficiently their yards run. These solutions can improve the movement of trucks and trailers through the yards of manufacturing, warehouse, and distribution facilities, ensuring a more efficient flow of goods and smoother operations.
Streamlining with Spotting and Shuttling Services
When high volumes of trucks and trailers need to enter or leave a yard, congestion can drastically hinder productivity. As an extension of the facility or transportation operation, spotting and shuttling services can improve communication between drivers and facility operators, mitigating disruptions and enhancing distribution.
Spotters organize how trailers are arranged and can optimize how trailers move through the yard. Shippers can leverage shuttling to move trailers to and from dock doors, and in some cases, to nearby facilities to assist in inventory management. Implementing these solutions can help operations inside and outside of the facility to collaborate and improve overall service. Outside spotters can help prepare dock doors and trailers to be loaded or unloaded, while inside spotters can ensure that the dock is safe, secure, and prepared with the appropriate equipment. In many instances, companies may look to their 3PL that provides transportation or distribution to also provide the spotting and shuttling services. These providers can deliver labor, assets, enhanced customer service, and integrations, further strengthening the partnership.
Taking a Technical Approach with Yard Management Systems
To further manage the yard, companies may look to implement a Yard Management System (YMS) to gain greater visibility and communicate data more efficiently. Each YMS may have unique capabilities, but most systems enable better operations management by providing the ability to schedule dock appointments, communicate the movement of trucks and trailers among those working in the yard, and evaluate yard activities. Aside from operating more efficiently, YMS’s collect data on the performance of the yard, providing opportunities to further improve efficiencies.
With a logistics partner and supporting technology, efficiencies in the yard can become an area that improves the flow of products and the overall operation. As volumes increase, a logistics partner with integrated solutions can provide the resources, data, and insight to accommodate continued growth.