3 Questions and Answers on the Future of Yard Management



The best questions and answers from our theme month on site logistics.

As part of our motto #futureofyardmanagement, we spent a month taking an in-depth look at the future, challenges and solutions of yard management. Via our social media channels, you asked us exciting questions about the areas of responsibility of the individual logistics disciplines, equipment tracking and the software mapping of dynamic process requirements on the plant floor – and we answered. In this article, we have collected a selection of the most exciting questions and summarized them for you once again.

Yard and warehouse interests and respective areas of responsibility.

Andreas Löwe, host of the podcast “Irgendwas mit Logistik”, wanted to know:“How do the processes upstream of the warehouse, i.e. the yard processes, actually influence the warehouse itself? Where does the responsibility of the warehouse end – and where does that of the site logistics begin?”André Kaeber, CEO leogistics GmbH: “The answer seems quite simple at first: The transfer point of the goods represents the interface of warehouse and site logistics, and this is usually the door or the ramp. However, looking closer, we find in many cases that the processes in the yard extend deeper into the warehouse. What determines the capacity of the loading and unloading areas? Is it circumstances such as the number of docks or the availability of personnel?Matthias Kraus, Consulting Director SAP EWM leogistics GmbH: Exactly! What is important is how quickly the warehouse can provide goods at the right time in the correct loading sequence and react to changes in the loading sequence and the number of packages. Which means of transport should be called to the ramp when and with which priority? Which equipment is needed where? What resource capacity needs to be held in reserve based on the underlying workload to ensure timely processing? All this with the aim of supporting the overall process synchronized with sub-processes. The responsibility of the warehouse thus results from the timing and planning of the yard. This also applies to the goods receiving scenarios. Both yard and warehouse have the same basic interest: efficient and coordinated processing of their tasks – because only when both components harmonize does a smooth overall process result.André Käber: Historically, site logistics projects were often initiated from within the warehouse. Only in recent years has yard management established itself as a discipline in its own right between warehouse management and transport management. The gatekeepers have been assigned increasingly complex tasks. In addition to pure check-in and check-out, they carry out safety briefings and checks. And in many cases they take on a coordinating role: Who is sent directly to the dock after check-in? Who arrives without notification and first has to go to a waiting area?Matthias Kraus: So the answer is not so simple after all, and the responsibility of a well-orchestrated process on the site consequently has more than one level: On the physical level, it is the transfer point to the warehouse or to the means of transport. But the process also includes the information level. Here, the processes extend far beyond the loading and unloading processes – and thus into adjacent areas such as transport management. With a consistent and continuous flow of information and data, an end-to-end process is achieved that can react flexibly to deviations in a specific process area.

Is there a way to track forklifts?

The following anonymous question reached us via Instagram:

“Hello, there are electric forklifts all over our factory premises. These are used by virtually everyone and then left at the last place of use. But when you need a forklift, you first have to look for it (our site is anything but manageable because of the many shelves) and if you’re unlucky, the battery is empty. Do you have a way to track the forklifts? And can you display this on a map? The best thing would be to see what the battery status is.”

Mirko Hartig, Associate Consultant IoT leogistics GmbH: “Yes, of course there is! Locating forklifts on the factory premises is relatively easy using Bluetooth tags. These are first attached to the forklifts. So-called location trackers are then distributed on the factory premises to track the tags. These determine the exact position of the tags, i.e. the forklifts, and pass the information on to software, e.g. a yard management solution. This in turn enables the forklifts to be displayed on a map, for example. One look at this and the search is over. But there’s more: With the help of the movement data of the individual forklifts, you can determine where they spend the most time and, as a result, place the charging station there if necessary. Or you can use the data of the total travel time to identify service intervals.”

Alessio Meloni, Solution Architect IoT & Automation leogistics GmbH: “It would also be possible to identify busy sections and thus prevent traffic jams at such bottlenecks if necessary. And to ensure that the batteries of the trucks do not run down at inopportune times, it would also be possible to provide the tags with information such as the battery charge level. All that would be needed is an interface between the Bluetooth tag and the battery level controller. The tags themselves can also relay telemetry data from the diagnostic port (e.g., OBD) or – of particular interest to forklifts – sense shocks and transmit them to the yard management solution.”

With our Process-as-a-Service platform myleo / dsc, tracking assets such as forklifts in the yard is readily possible. In fact, in cooperation with our partner Quuppa, we can offer you a complete package of software and hardware from a single source.

Dynamics of processes and importance of communication & interaction between participants

Oliver Hanke, Business Development / Strategic Projects at our client Evonik Logistics Services GmbH, asked us:

“From the point of view of leogistics GmbH, is there a trend/consideration or a roadmap for how the sometimes very dynamic process requirements can be mapped in yard management in the future? In addition, the topic of communication and data exchange between deployed operational systems will grow strongly. Does leogistics GmbH also see this as a decisive factor in the further development of the yard management solution?

Christiaan Carstens: “For us, communication, collaboration and a high degree of flexibility with regard to interfaces between the different systems are the key factors for future-proof yard management. Because so many players come together on the site in particular, transparent collaboration and the digital exchange of information are essential. At the same time, staff and external service providers must not be forgotten in the transformation, because the process is only as good as its manageability by the people on site.”

Andre Käber: “I agree. In order to meet the highly dynamic requirements on the site, in the future the motto must be: away from rigid customizing and towards flexible configuration! One approach to this can be sets of rules in process modeling (if this, then that), which make it possible to trigger different follow-up activities. The drawback: every eventuality must be defined by rule and master data must be able to be generated dynamically in the process. Basically, short lead times are required to bring new scenarios into the software. This is already possible today, for example, thanks to no- or low-code technology.”

Christian Carstens: “Across the industry, we are also currently recognizing various new requirements and trends. The topics of automation, real-time data, collaboration and integration are in conflict with flexible and very specific requirements depending on the area of demand in the yard.

In particular, the aspects of loading point control and bottleneck optimization are currently in focus at large sites. Here, we see a holistic perspective on operational process control, filling control and close integration of logistics service providers by providing telematics or status information as a solution approach.”

André Käber: “The bottom line is to achieve a compromise between low waiting and idle times and higher throughput at the loading point. To find an optimal strategy here, it is important to use data sensibly, to recognize patterns, and also to be able to precisely determine travel times on the yard itself. Time of day and construction measures etc. play just as much a role as the current capacity utilization of the loading point and the product to be loaded.”

We are here for You!

Thank you for the fascinating questions – we hope we were able to help. If you have any further questions about yard management or the future of logistics, please feel free to contact us at blog@leogistics.com.

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