Different levels of automation for yard management
The megatrends of digitization, optimization and networking are not new in logistics. The availability and proven market suitability of new technologies, as well as the generally increased awareness of the importance of and willingness to rethink processes end-to-end, are leading to a shift in thinking, particularly in site logistics. The focus is not on digitalizing for digitalization’s sake, but on creating the necessary basis for far-reaching automation and the associated increase in process reliability. In the following, we present three different levels of automation with their respective differences and advantages for your yard.
In a manually operated yard, appointments for delivery and collection are booked in an online calendar. While gatekeepers manually register entries and exits in an input mask, forklift and hostler drivers work through an order queue. The scheduling of means of transport at loading points and internal transfers is carried out via list UIs. A status overview provides the dispatcher with transparency regarding the degree of processing. Finally, the loading paper printout is triggered after completion of loading and handed out at check-out.
The semi-automated yard is characterized by contactless registration. This includes digital registration of all movements of load carriers and means of transport, as well as optimized loading and unloading through complete systemic mapping. Scheduling is managed as far as possible by sets of rules. Allocation takes place in consideration of availabilities and in compliance with restrictions. Processor orchestration already runs based on real-time information.
In contrast, time slots in the automated yard are not booked in advance, but allocated on the basis of real-time data in the truck inbound. The automatic logging of all movements of load carriers and means of transport is based on real-time localization (RTLS). Communication between all parties involved in the process is fully digitalized, and driverless means of transport and the extensive use of IoT contribute to the greatest possible automation on the site. Feedback on the degree of processing is provided in real time and fully automatically, for example through geo-localization or smart sensors. Manual intervention is only required in exceptional situations (management by exception).
So which level of automation is right for your yard?
The question can hardly be given a blanket response, because the answer depends on the specific physical conditions on your premises, the daily volume to be handled, and your personal objectives. After all, hardly any yard is the same as another.
But together we will find the right solution for your requirements. With our know-how, we think holistically, look beyond the end of our nose and ensure the long-term success of our site logistics projects with our solutions. That is why we speak with conviction of the logistics of the future when we present our yard expertise.
From our point of view, it is not a matter of digitalizing every process at any price, but rather of approaching it with a sense of proportion and considering which measures make sense and which ones overshoot the mark. It often pays to view the automation of site logistics as a process and to proceed step by step. The advantage of this is that you can quickly leverage initial potential and build on the results achieved. Do you have any questions? Feel free to contact us at email@example.com.