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How a Yard Management Service Streamlines Supply Chains and Leads to Happy Customers

In logistics, few processes are as crucial as yard management. This umbrella term refers to various activities within a facility's yard, including the scheduling, coordinating, and directing of assets.

However, as with most logistics and supply chain elements, effective yard management is not as easy to execute as it is to define.

To track and transport freight effectively, future-proof yard management must focus on reducing delays, improving visibility, and automating processes.

This is where yard management service comes in. This software enhances yard operations and improves customer experiences, a critical component of last-mile logistics. 

To truly understand its importance, we must first examine the current state of yard management and its challenges.

Yard Management: An Overlooked Link in the Supply Chain

A recent surge in ecommerce, coupled with customers' ever-rising expectations, has placed immense pressure on the supply chain to deliver more items more quickly.

While transport and warehouse management are prioritized, yard management—the crucial link between the two—is often overlooked. Nearly 60% of the 2023 State of Yard Management survey respondents said only a fifth of their facilities had an effective system in place.

This lack of investment in yard management services and reliance on manual processes has led to many inefficient practices. It has also proven to be the most significant barrier to ensuring on-time deliveries and maintaining customer satisfaction.

Yard management strategies are poised to see significant advancements in the near future. McKinsey recently identified digital yard management as one of the technologies beginning to scale in transport and logistics.

Until then, yards will continue to be plagued by by outdated processes.

Challenges in Yard Management

Yard management involves overseeing the flow of inbound and outbound freight, organizing the movement of trucks, scheduling loading and unloading operations, and tracking and moving assets.

The broad scope of activity and complex processes have led to the following challenges:

Gate Congestion

Gate management is plagued with inefficient practices. Manual check-in and check-out processes, wildly outdated and impractical in the digital age, leave drivers waiting in long queues daily, especially during peak hours and seasons. This is a massive waste of time and fuel—two of the most critical resources in logistics and shipping.

Over time, even minor delays add up, leading to lost productivity, missed delivery times, and unhappy customers.

Time-Consuming Asset Tracking

Yard managers and logistics experts are expected to conduct routine inventory checks. They must know exactly how many trucks are entering the facility and identify which trucks will be loaded and unloaded with which items. These complex tasks are carried out manually without modern IoT-enabled asset tracking systems—including Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) or GPS-based tracking devices. This is incredibly time-consuming and prone to errors.

If perishable goods are involved, delays in asset tracking could result in spoiled inventory, which is a massive waste.

Long Dwell and Detention Times

Poor yard management practices, such as inefficient staffing or scheduling issues, lead to long dwell times, where cargo containers or trailers are kept at terminals or gates. If left unchecked, these dwell times lead to detention fees, usually passed down to the customer.

A 2018 study found that the successful reduction in dwell times could increase transportation capacity by 2% to 4%. It also showed that long dwell times pose a safety concern, as more fatigue among drivers was linked to a 6.2% increase in accident rates.

Ineffective Dock Management

Difficulties in coordinating the unloading and loading of freight at the dock, as well as delays in locating empty trailers, are also common yard management problems that lead to increased congestion. Manual processes are often the culprit—scheduling appointments and allocating staff becomes incredibly challenging without a cloud-based solution to coordinate all yard activity. 

Lack of Visibility

Limited visibility of trailers, personnel, and equipment is a severe challenge in yard management, leading to increased delays, errors, and security risks.

With real-time operational data on the movement and location of various assets, workers can efficiently prepare to load and unload trucks, keep track of parking spaces, or allocate personnel. This can result in the arrival of unanticipated trucks or congestion at the gates. A lack of visibility leads to frustrated drivers and yard workers.

Optimizing efficiency and increasing visibility requires real-time operational data and proper tracking tools, as provided by a robust yard management service.


Ensuring compliance with various industry regulations and safety protocols is another challenge that yard teams must face. Failure to comply will lead to penalties, disruptions, and increased safety risks.

With limited access to real-time data, teams struggle to promptly address compliance issues, including overseeing trailer inspections, identifying load limits, or ensuring loading and unloading procedures are up to the mark. The lack of digital tracking tools makes ensuring that all drivers meet the required standards difficult.

How Yard Management Service Can Save the Day

Yard management service is the ultimate solution for the challenges outlined above. Cutting-edge cloud-based software can automate and optimize many elements of yard management, such as tracking all assets, minimizing delays, maximizing resources, and ensuring satisfied staff and customers.

An effective yard management system also seamlessly integrates with existing warehouse management systems, transport management systems, and enterprise resource planning systems (ERPs) to improve team collaboration and ensure a seamless supply chain. Here are some features a yard management solution is typically known to offer:

Real-Time Visibility of Yard Assets

Three out of four respondents on a 2023 State of Yard Management survey reported that improving visibility was their top priority in the near future.

Advanced yard management software provides increased visibility into all operations and processes. By gaining access to real-time data on locations, capacities, and the utilization of resources—including personnel, equipment, and storage areas—yard managers can effectively minimize bottlenecks and reduce dwell times.

Real-time communication and information sharing, as offered by a yard management service, also optimizes resource management while significantly increasing worker productivity.

Increased visibility also allows managers to identify potential risks, thus minimizing accidents and ensuring worker safety. At the same time, real-time monitoring of personnel and equipment reduces the risk of theft and property damage.

Automation of Gate Management

Effective yard management service can also streamline gatehouse management. Electronic documentation ensures smooth and seamless arrivals and departures so guards can effortlessly direct trucks and trailers to a designated area based on their inventory. This level of automation significantly reduces the workload of warehouse staff.

Apart from improving wait times, effective yard management contributes to the accuracy of gate procedures and minimizes the risk of human error. Drivers can also leverage self-service options, such as managing digital appointment confirmations and accessing real-time data about parking locations within the yard.

Improved Dock Scheduling

Efficient dock scheduling features also ensure the optimized flow of goods in and out of any facility. Managers can quickly assign doors and manage the flow of trucks from a centralized platform. They can also access and update data regarding dock availability and scheduled shipments in real-time.

Appointment management features can help carriers and shippers identify available time slots and self-schedule appointments. Based on the dock door’s status, the logistics team can efficiently allocate resources, coordinate labor, and schedule inbound and outbound shipments.

Reporting and Analytics

Yard management service allows managers to extract vast amounts of data and turn it into actionable insights.

Critical KPIs and metrics are easily tracked through comprehensive reports and intuitive dashboards. These can range from gate metrics (e.g., number of transactions by load type or number of transactions by status) to equipment metrics (e.g., number of shipments by day of the week) and beyond. Data can be used to identify patterns and correlations within yard operations, unlocking the power of predictive analysis.

By making more data-driven decisions, yard managers can more effectively optimize yard layouts, manage and allocate staff, and fine-tune their daily operations. 

Undoubtedly, yard management service is indispensable for logistics professionals looking to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and make the most of their operations. The scalability of such a solution also ensures that it won’t be long before advanced technologiesan be leveraged to automate operations completely.

Streamline First-to-Last Yard Logistics with PackageX

When yard management practices meet PackageX, the results are revolutionary.

Teams that employ PackageX’s cloud-based first-to-last-yard logistics platform are empowered with real-time visibility to streamline yard management practices and the rest of their inventory management operations. PackageX has helped hundreds of enterprises digitize inventory, fulfill orders, ship, and manage operations with its developer-friendly APIs and modular suite of mobile and web apps.

The PackageX platform increases productivity, reduces supply chain complications, and reduces operational costs, all while improving customer and employee experience.

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