Yard management: efficiently manage trucks on the premises

Stefan Seufert, CTO/Vorstand EIKONA AG
Truck trailers arranged in the row in the yard of a forwarding company.

Processes at logistics facilities are precisely timed and optimised for high efficiency. Operators who want to perfect them include the environment – known as the yard – in their management activities. Through yard management, they set the stage for optimised processes at the loading and unloading docks.

Managers of goods handling or loading processes are valuable transport resources who interact closely with trucks. Vehicle arrivals have to be synchronised as precisely as possible with storage and retrieval processes to optimise the timing of loading and unloading operations. This is a difficult balancing act – and the primary function of yard management solutions in logistics IT. As the interfaces to the vehicle and driver, they integrate trucks into the central process control system.

End-to-end process

Yard management interconnects processes

One of the most important things that yard management software does is providing early notifications about the execution of planned transports. It is used by shippers or cargo handling facilities to manage logistics movements in the yard. It generally manages time slots for vehicle loading or unloading. It is increasingly being used to track the estimated times of arrival (ETA) of individual vehicles, too. The software thus fulfills important basic functions:

  • Structure processes in your yard using time slots
  • Replace on-site registration processes with digital communications
  • Monitor and modify process plans with real-time information
  • Traffic management at the factory or logistics site.

In addition, yard management tools digitalise communication among everyone involved in plant logistics. They document inspections of vehicles and on-board safety equipment such as cargo securing materials.

Vehicle control

Apps handle communications with the vehicle

To have efficient processes on company premises, site managers have to be able to communicate directly with drivers via a yard management system in order to tell a truck that it can pull up to a loading dock, for example. Not that long ago, pagers that could show simple instructions on a single-line display – a 1990s-era technology – were used for this kind of dock management. They have since been largely replaced by logistics apps that can not only guide drivers in multiple languages, but also use maps and off-road navigation instructions to steer them to the loading point. They also record the current process status in real time, such as:

  • Waiting
  • At dock
  • Loading/unloading in progress
  • Truck dispatched
  • Left company premises

Downstream processes

Hand over loading documents, monitor load carriers

Once loading or unloading is complete, the yard management system can also control downstream processes for shippers or freight forwarders. This includes handing over the loading documents to the truck driver as a hard copy or digitally in an app before leaving the company premises. If the site is mapped, the position of trailers and swap bodies can also be registered. This may avoid the need for searches or allow pickup processes to be prepared based on digital instructions.


Yard management speeds up processes

Yard management streamlines vehicle-related processes – from scheduling to ETA monitoring and vehicle communication in the yard to preparing downstream processes. Tight coordination shortens vehicles' turnaround time in the yard. This is especially true where much of the work is still being done manually – turnaround times can shrink to as little as one-sixth of the time that was previously required. Digital processes therefore hold enormous potential.

Stefan Seufert
Stefan Seufert

As a design guru, the software developer delves into logistics service providers' requirements like no other. He is passionate about exchanging information securely and efficiently and thus speeding up the physical logistics process.

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