When we talk about warehouses and WMS, we generally talk about the on goings within the warehouse itself. Everything from locations, stock levels, inventory management, order fulfillment, picking, and the list goes on.
However, for many logistics providers, 3PLs, and fulfillment centers there is more to manage than what transpires within the four walls of their warehouses. There is in fact an entire yard on the immediate exterior of the warehouse and a whole logistics transport element to account for as well. Having the right tools to manage all of this is critically important then. In this article we’ll discuss how YMS features and integration with TMS can support WMS centric tasks especially when it comes to managing truck loads and important logistics management tasks like cross-docking and freight planning.
Warehouses rely on WMS applications and software to manage their warehouse operations, the inventory within, and processes. For warehouses that are strictly receiving, storing, and shipping inventory the features of a WMS are probably sufficient for their ongoing needs as they fulfill either for their own business needs or those of their customers. However, when it comes to logistics providers that manage and plan the transportation of inventory additional tools are required be able to perform, track, and organize this aspect of their service.
Let’s look at the yard management component first. Warehouses have various needs comparative to each other. While some warehouses operations have perhaps fewer docks with limited inbound shipments that arrive daily, or even weekly, others may be a bustle of activity with multiple inbounds and outbounds having to be managed. Furthermore, some may even park trailers on their lots and operate their own facility rather than share it with others.
To manage their yards these types of operations require a means of being able to organize the traffic flow of inbound and outbound traffic from their facilities. YMS is the solution for these types of situations. With a robust set of features warehouses can schedule and organize the traffic of trucks coming to their facility. They can assign the trucks to their docks, manage how many truck appointments are allowed in a given timeframe, and reserve/categorize docks that are designated for a specific purpose (I.E. inbound vs outbound docks, dock according to vehicle type, etc.). Tools are also provided so that they can receive and send information to the drivers or logistics companies, as well as manage their facility gate for verification of appointments.
All of this helps them in the management of their inventory as they can prioritize which orders to fulfill on first and allocate resources for unloading and loading tasks. YMS also helps warehouses to avoid detention fees from carriers given that carriers will tend to give a limit of “free time” that a truck can be docked at a facility before incurring charges. By being able to manage their high traffic yards warehouse operations avoid confusion, disorganization, traffic line ups, and incurred costs.
Of course, many logistics providers, 3PLs, and the like often organize transport as well as managing the customer’s inventory. This means having a TMS solution which helps them to organize customer loads, plan out routes and transport, do freight planning, communicate with drivers, and so forth.
As we’re beginning to see logistics providers and warehousers need specific tools to be able to manage different parts of their business, not strictly a WMS. The key is being able to have the systems work seamlessly together. From a warehousing perspective you want to be able to manage the transportation of goods to and from your facility, while also being able to complete inventory related tasks, as well as a record of the actions that took place within the warehouse. This requires the sharing of information between applications and requires integration.
By integrating TMS to YMS and ultimately a WMS, a business can plan loads and transports, and then performs the inventory handling tasks required to fulfill on customer orders efficiently. This is especially helpful when it comes to specialized tasks like cross-docking.
Cross-docking is a warehouse task where truck loads are unloaded and then the inventory split and almost immediately loaded onto outbound trucks. By integrating a TMS to YMS warehouse staff can plan warehouse truck appointments so that the inbound and outbound truck arrivals coincide with each other. In this way little time is lost once the cross-dock within the WMS is performed which boosts efficiency and productivity.
Choosing the right tools and platforms though can go a long way in supporting this. For example Akatia’s WAM WMS solution has YMS as part of the application and is Salesforce native, making integration with other tools, like a TMS, relatively seamless. In fact, WAM already has this type of strategic implementation in place with TMS provider Revenova.
With this integration Revenova’s TMS passes along load information to the WAM yard management component allowing warehouse staff to schedule appointments, verify and check them in at the facility gate, and assign trucks to their corresponding docks. Once at the docks warehouse workers then begin using the WAM WMS to perform cross-docking by unloading and then loading outbound trucks. Once outbound trucks are loaded the information is passed back to the Revenova TMS and automatically does the freight planning for the outbound load. What’s more all of this is done on mobile scanners using the WAM Mobile application. This improves the efficiency, accuracy, and speed of the cross-dock and freight planning, and all in real-time.
As we’ve discussed integrating TMS and YMS can have major benefits for logistics planning and execution. It helps with the communication, organization, and scheduling of truck loads both en-route and at the warehouse. Furthermore, by choosing the right tools where integrations between applications are already in place, along with a WMS that has robust features and yard management as a built in component, will facilitate the consolidation and integration of your core business tools. In turn this will improve the efficiency of your business and let it operate at an optimum level.
If you’re looking to transform the way you manage your warehouse and inventory, click the link below to get in contact with us. We’d be happy to speak with you!