Royal 4 Warehouse Management System: Yard Management

WMS Solutions  |  Voice  |  Yard  |  Asset  |  RFID  |  Mobile  |  WISE  |  Slotting

Royal 4's Yard Management

The Yard Management System module is a natural extension of the WISE warehouse management solution. Yard management is the function of managing the inventory of trailers or empty trailers parked outside the warehouse. Yard Management is generally associated with cross docking operations and may include the management of both inbound and outbound trailers.

Features include:

  • Appointment tracking
  • Trailer check-in & check-out
  • Trailer movements
  • Yard inventory report
  • Email alerts

The Yard

In distribution, the yard is key to the daily movement of goods - all incoming inventory and outgoing customer orders must pass through this portal to and from the warehouse. This critical link in your supply chain is a virtual outdoor extension of the warehouse - serving as outdoor storage for incoming inventory, and providing the final step in order processing for all outbound shipments. Through the automation afforded by mobility, enterprises can reduce errors and increase throughput in the yard - without adding staff or assets. A new level of information visibility is achieved - and the sharing of this information with your other business systems forms a bridge that enables new levels of efficiency in the travel of supplies and goods throughout your supply chain.

Cross docking and interleaving

The new expanded view of the entire yard enables the implementation of two functions that can further enhance the productivity in the yard: cross docking and interleaving. The moment a shipment arrives at the guard station, dispatchers can see exactly what is in the shipment and the entire dock schedule, allowing appropriate shipments to be cross-docked to reduce shipment handling time and inventory handling cost. That same visibility also enables very judicious movement of trailers, known as interleaving. A trailer parked at an inbound dock for unloading might be identified as the right type of trailer for an outbound load that is ready on a nearby dock. Instead of returning the trailer to the yard, the trailer can be delivered immediately to the outbound dock for loading - rather than taking an interim trip to the yard.

Improved gate throughput

When guards at the gate are outfitted with real-time mobile computing devices, the check in process for arriving vehicles can be highly automated. Trucks can be immediately identified and loads reconciled with purchase orders, eliminating long delays at the gate and gate congestion - without adding guard stations or guards.

Improved load sequencing at the dock

WISE ensures that the right trailer is scheduled for the right dock at the right time. Dispatchers no longer need to wait for paper to trickle down from the guard station to obtain the information needed to best schedule dock appointments - the information is transmitted wirelessly the moment it is collected. Now, all the critical information dispatchers need to create the most effective dock schedules is instantly available, including: trailer type, trailer content (down to the SKU level), load type (perishable, dry or hazardous), length of time trailer can be on the lot before penalty charges are issued by the carrier, purchase order associated with the load, and any errors or exceptions to the purchase order.

Improved productivity

The automation of many tasks can result in significant improvement of worker productivity throughout the yard, enabling the same staff to handle an increase in volume in the yard - without affecting service levels. For example, at the guardhouse, the reduction in paperwork enables guards to handle more transactions. When a yard dog is outfitted with a mobile RFID reader, a worker can take a complete inventory in a typical warehouse yard that is approximately 350k to 500k square feet in just twenty minutes - a task that can often take up to half a day. And instead of searching for the right trailer, workers on yard dogs are now provided with the exact location of the right trailer - and a quick scan of the RFID tag with a handheld or vehicle mount mobile computer provides a valuable double check to ensure the trailer is correct.

Better labor management

Typically, task assignments are verbal only, received via a two-way radio. Verbal communications do not allow for any type of audit trail to analyze worker performance, from either an error or task volume perspective - and can be easily misunderstood in the noisy yard environment. When yard workers are armed with a mobile computer, the ability to issue text-based task lists to a worker can greatly eliminate errors. Workers can acknowledge when the task is complete, and your system can show the error rate and volume of tasks for all of your workers. Two-way radios can be eliminated - in the event you wish to maintain voice communications with your yard jockeys, you can select an integrated voice and data device that will allow you to place a call to one or all yard jockeys (via one-to-one and one-to-many walkie-talkie style voice communications). And Voice-over-WLAN (VoWLAN) capability delivers cost-effective voice as well as data communications for yard workers.

Visibility into productivityand performance metrics

A WISE mobilized labor management system enables enterprises to efficiently determine who is doing what and how long it takes by providing the granular data required for an accurate comparison of productivity metrics. For example, to compare pickers in a warehouse, you need to reach well beyond the number of orders picked to factor in the type of equipment in use (such as a forklift or hand cart), item location (within reach or high on a top shelf), item size and any special handling requirements (for example, for highly fragile items) to fairly assess employee performance. With a WISE labor management system in place, enterprises can easily integrate information from the warehouse, yard and transportation mobility solutions with core business systems, (such as the warehouse management system) to easily and automatically monitor, track and analyze the time each employee spends on each task - and push the results to the manager's own mobile device. Now, managers have the data required to get and keep the workforce operating at peak productivity. Managers can:

  • Determine achievable realistic and task specific key performance metrics to enable a meaningful measurement of individual employee productivity levels.
  • Track individual worker performance against those metrics.
  • Identify all non-productive time, including where it is spent, how much it is costing the enterprise - and how that time can be eliminated.
  • Identify the most productive employees to ensure those workers receive recognition and incentive to continue their excellent performance.
  • Identify underperformers - and develop a plan for improvement tailored specifically to help each employee achieve key performance metrics. For example, one employee may need additional training on a specific task - while another simply needs to spend more time working and less time on breaks.
  • Understand the true capacity of the workforce to ensure the bar for departmental metrics is properly set.

Continuous and automated performance feedback

In order to achieve peak workforce productivity, workers need to understand clearly what it takes
to achieve or exceed expectations - and what the reward will be for doing so. Through Royal 4 Systems automation, enterprises can automatically calculate and distribute personal performance goals and metrics to workers, providing a vehicle for continuous everyday improvement in workforce productivity levels. Instead of presenting employees with a piece of paper that outlines goals each quarter or at the half year mark, employees can access their personal daily goals right on their mobile computers at the start of each work day. And at the end of the day (or other preferred interval), employees can view their performance improvement and how close they are to achieving their personal goals - as well as departmental goals.

Better resource planning

When information from your WISE warehouse and supply chain management solutions is
integrated into your labor management system, managers have visibility into the true capacity of the workforce for improved resource planning. Armed with this information, managers can anticipate the peak and valleys that may occur throughout the year and better plan staffing requirements to address fluctuating demand. For example, during holidays when orders are at an all-time high with high customer expectations for shipment turnaround times and order accuracy, managers can better determine when and how many additional workers will be required to ensure service levels are preserved in spite of the increased volume. With proper manpower planning, the value of this large cost center can be maximized, allowing managers to ensure that:

  • The right workers are on staff at the right time and assigned to the right tasks - reducing errors and increasing customer service levels.
  • The need for temporary help is reduced, improving control and reducing staffing costs.

Better management…with less management time

Managers can better manage workers in less time through two key capabilities: the automatic collection and analysis of information from your mobile warehouse or other supply chain management solution, and the two-way communication that allows the delivery of pertinent information to the mobile devices of managers as well as their staff. The result is:

  • The elimination of many manual administrative tasks - such as the compilation of data to obtain key metrics or regular meetings with employees to discuss goals and progress towards goals.
  • The ability to provide a continuous feedback loop to the workforce with virtually no effort significantly incents employee self-direction. Real-time on-the-job performance monitoring, clear communication of job expectations - from how long tasks should take to how many tasks should be completed in a day and what is an acceptable amount of break time - and real-time communication of current performance metrics promotes a self-driven workforce.

And when the workforce strives to better manage itself, managers are free to focus on higher level management initiatives.