iTECH: Yard Management Systems Enable Carriers to Raise Their Trailer Productivity
By Stephen Bennett, Contributing Writer
This story appears in the August/September 2013 issue of iTECH, published in the Aug. 5 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.
Yard-management systems at large manufacturing plants, distribution centers or retailers’ warehouses can benefit the motor carriers serving those facilities by returning trailers to service quickly, improving overall equipment utilization and fleet productivity, users and vendors of yard systems said.
“At a click of the mouse I can see how many trailers I have at a given facility and which are loaded and which are empty,” said James Bagwell, executive vice president of MLI/ILG, a Buford, Ga., logistics services provider that owns and operates about 110 tractors and some 200 trailers.
The company also brokers loads to other carriers when it needs additional capacity. “Our carrier partners also have that same visibility specific to their equipment,” Bagwell said.
MLI/ILG uses a Web-based yard-management system, YardTrac, provided by New York-based Exotrac. The system relies on bar code stickers attached to trailers. Yard workers scan the bar code and record the location of the trailer, using handheld units with built-in GPS. That information is transmitted via cellular service to the yard-management system and presented on a website. Information on the status of trailers — their location, whether they are full or empty — appears in a color-coded graphic rendering of the yard. Empty trailers are indicated in green, while trailers being loaded appear in red.
Partner carriers with dropped trailers in the yard have passwords for limited access to the website so they can check on the status of their trailers. “It allows them to see that they have five trailers on the yard at this site and four of them are empty,” Bagwell said.
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