YMS increases 3PL’s yard velocity

Real-time view into massive yard boosts efficiency while reducing the number of yard tenders.
Universal operates one of the largest crossdocks in the United States, supporting leading automotive manufacturers and component suppliers. To coordinate daily visits of more than 800 trailers to 350 doors and 500 trailer parking spaces, the company deployed a yard management system (YMS) combining RFID and GPS technologies. The system’s real-time functionality has significantly improved yard efficiency.

Before the new system, a massive queue of trailers often built up at the facility’s entrance. Once inside, drivers would then have difficulty locating trailers. Daily manual yard checks performed by six yard trucks per shift were a time-consuming and unmonitored activity.

The project (PINC Solutions, pincsolutions.com) included the creation of a facility map and the installation of RFID readers at the gate and on the yard trucks. Rugged touchscreen displays in the yard trucks enable drivers to interact with the YMS. Using RFID and GPS, drivers, managers and yard truck operators now have real-time visibility into the locations of trailers and equipment.

These yard trucks scan temporary RFID tags that are assigned to inbound trailers when they check in and are removed at check out. Guards at the gate can now direct drivers to a drop location or dock door and provide move requests to the yard truck drivers.
“The previous approach limited the volume of trailers we could process,” says Paul Adams, general manager. “We’ve been able to scale to more than 800 trailer visits per day, and reduced the number of yard trucks by one per shift.”

Adams also notes improved service times for Universal’s automotive customers and improved yard safety as a result of tracking the speeds and travel histories of yard trucks.
By Josh Bond, Senior Editor