The “Why” for Leaders in Yard Management

The famous author and speaker Simon Sinek tells us that we should always start by asking “Why?” So, why implement a Yard Management System?

In a Talking Logistics video series we conducted a few years ago titled “Profiles in Yard Management Excellence,” we interviewed several supply chain and logistics executives whose companies are leading the way in driving continuous improvement and innovation in yard management. Here is how these executives answered the “Why a YMS?” question:


“Visibility to incoming and outgoing shipments is not only a critical need, but it’s a very necessary part of doing business,” said Andra Gibson, Project Manager, Logistics Service Solutions at Carhartt. “Our team needed to know which trailers were onsite, how many times those trailers moved, what was on their inbound and outbound loads, and then when those vehicles exited the premises. We needed a solution that was more effective than manual yard checks and a paper trail that we utilized up to that point, to support the volume of movements that we were actually doing. We also needed a better way to track information on the drivers and equipment that were passing through our gates for security purposes.”

Venture Global Solutions

“Our business with Subaru grew from 100 trailers to 1,000 trailers,” said Mike Meier, President at Venture Global Solutions. “From a yard management perspective, our existing approach wasn’t able to give us the robustness and flexibility that we needed. When trailers are getting pulled at a high rate of speed, by the time you perform a [manual] yard check for 1,000 trailers, the whole yard has changed. We wanted a very flexible, robust system that would give visibility, KPIs, and tracking to know exactly what parts and what containers were in which location at any given time.”

Batory Foods

“As part of our growth, we began providing 3PL services to one of our suppliers which involved importing a large volume of dairy product containers from New Zealand,” says Daryl Fisher, who at the time was Director of Supply Chain Solutions and Analytics at Batory Foods. “That meant we had to manage the container locations, maintain accurate inventory, and then share that information with our partners. The introduction of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) put extra onus on yard security and our ability to track driver activities and validate their identifications. We were doing things manually, with a clipboard and a driver sign-in sheet in the office; it was a pretty simple process.” 


“We had very little visibility over our yard processes, which we monitored and tracked via Excel spreadsheets,” said Chris Snow, who at the time was Midwest Fleet Manager at Pactiv. “Individuals often forgot to update the spreadsheets or neglected to save it to the shared drive. Spotters would spend 15 minutes or more looking for a trailer that we needed to unload or load quickly. And with up to 300 trailers in our yard at any given time, those 15+ minutes would quickly add up to hours wasted every day. We were also experiencing high inbound trailer detention fees because we weren’t always unloading carrier trailers in a timely fashion. After three days, carriers would start charging us trailer detention fees. That’s an extra $100 right off the top. If you’re not keeping a close eye on it, that total can grow pretty quickly.”

In an era where providing an enhanced customer experience is becoming a greater competitive differentiator, the simplest answer to “Why a YMS?” today is “Because we can no longer compete without one.”