What is a yard managaement system? Why is it important for logistics and supply chain operations? What should interested companies look out for? To get these questions answered, we sat down with Yard Management Solutions founder and partner, Jeff Papadelis. His answers help paint a picture for the growing need for yard management systems in the logistics, supply chain, and material handling industries.
Q1 - How would you define/describe a YMS?
Think of the supply chain as a digital jigsaw puzzle where all the pieces need to come together to take any item from its point of purchase to its point of delivery. In that digital landscape, nearly every company has embraced digital warehouse management systems and digital transportation management systems. This includes online ordering right up to the point where someone signs on a digital pad to accept a product. So in that vast digital jigsaw, there is one major piece that some companies are still missing. It is the single greatest opportunity for companies to increase efficiencies, streamline operations and reduce costs in the supply chain. It’s that piece that connects the warehouse system to the shipping system. This is a yard management system.
Q2 - What attributes are key?
Here's a short list of items that are key when considering a yard management system for your operation:
- Easy to learn
- Simple to use
- Easy to install
- Easy to maintain
- Ability to expand
- Exceptional customer service
- Cost effective
- Visual based systems
- Cloud based systems
Q2B - Are there any red flags to watch for?
Absolutely. While there are many great yard managemey systems on the market, not all are created equal. Some red flags to watch out for include:
- Complicated systems / difficult to learn, use or implement
- Inability to expand easily to meet the growing operation
- High cost (Six figures +)
- High bandwidth demands
- Systems that merely replace paper are outdated.
- Costly add ons
- Lack of external integration capabilities (TMS, WMS, etc)
- Inability to expand easily to meet a growing operation
Q3 - When should companies consider a YMS?
Good question. Companies should have considered a YMS yesterday!
All joking aside, the multiple areas of financial saving and increased efficiencies for any size logistics yard operation demand the use of a yard management software. Whether it be a simple system for a small operation or a full visual based Eagle View type system for a larger operation.
Q4 - Are there any common misconceptions about YMS systems you'd like to address?
Yes, definitly. First off, cost: most companies see a YMS as an expense rather than a saving. With every company we have talked with, we have calculated an ROI between 3 and 12 months because of the multiple areas of increased efficiencies and savings due to the identification of operational weaknesses.
This means yard management software implementation is essentially free. Better than free because once you have your ROI you are ahead of the game and all further savings will add to the bottom line.
Any system that doesn’t predict an ROI within the first year should probably be avoided because these systems need not be expensive to install and maintain. YMS Eagle View, for example, comes in at roughly half the cost of an average full-time employee whilst typically saving an average of 3-5 times its cost annually.