Retailers and manufacturers are increasingly under pressure to maintain and improve productivity, efficiency, and on-time delivery for their customers. Many technology companies even estimate that by 2032, deliveries will be expected within a two hour window. With this kind of future in mind, the 2019 23rd Annual Third-Party Logistics Study advises that: “transportation and logistics companies will need to focus on digital fitness, cost efficiency, asset productivity and innovation if they want to meet the rapidly changing expectations of shippers and consumers.”
Companies are increasingly investing in WMS (Warehouse Management Systems), TMS (Transport Management Systems), or ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), and add-ons, in order to respond to these expectations and optimize their processes. Whilst these are excellent solutions for addressing in-warehouse and out-of-warehouse inefficiencies, there is a huge lack of attention to the area existing between these two – often the cause of major issues – the dock and yard.
On-site truck traffic and congestion, erratic deliveries, unpredictable suppliers and therefore scheduling, e-commerce expectations, error prone paper planning and documentation, or too many available and unavailable resources to keep track of; these are just a few of the issues experienced in today’s warehouse docks and yards, which are too often left unaddressed and overlooked.
These issues can significantly impact a number of important factors, such as transportation and resource costs, inventory costs, KPIs, time invested, human/machine effort, and customer satisfaction, making the need for a dock and yard management system crucial.
Dock and yard management systems address all activities related to or impacting the dock and yard, taking into consideration relevant capacities, resource availability, and constraints, as well as demand and company goals.
Gartner Inc. maintains that “[Dock and] Yard management presents opportunities to improve operational efficiency through increased visibility and process optimization”. Introducing a dock and yard management system significantly reduces costs, inventory stock, and congestion, increases throughput, saves waiting time, and speeds up loading and unloading.
However, Yard Management is regularly offered as a standalone product, aiming to fill a gap in current supply chain digitalization. As an out-of-the-box, finite “fix”, yard management products often fail to provide all-important servitisation – resulting in the product quickly becoming obsolete – and considers the yard as a limited target area, missing the bigger picture. This is detrimental to company visibility, reducing scope and overall understanding of the whole supply chain and the Company’s whole operation.
With so many new solutions and technological advances on the market, companies need something they can trust will keep up with the changing global market, and will always be relevant, keeping them at the top of their game. At Comtrade, that is exactly what we are offering. Ours is an integrative, flexible, and adaptable solution, and part of what we hope would become a long-term partnership.
SmartDock is Comtrade’s smart dock and yard management solution, connecting the internal and external worlds of warehouse and transport management, and offering improved resource planning, optimized communications, and significantly lower warehouse costs.
Based on the needs of the client, SmartDock uses different modules to coordinate manual and automatic processes, intralogistics flows, and hardware systems. Unlike other yard management systems, it aims to connect all the dots in the supply chain, bringing everything together into one solution by integrating seamlessly with current systems and hardware, and syncing with real time data to guarantee maximum traceability, visibility, efficiency and safety.
SmartDock offers among other things:
Being fully scalable and customizable means that customers can prioritize addressing their most impactful dock and yard issues first, adding to the SmartDock solution over time for constant adaptation and improvement.
Dock and yard management systems are one of the most overlooked solutions around, able to improve accuracy, efficiency, and visibility throughout warehouse and transport processes – if done right.
We understand that in today’s climate it’s important to think about more than just individual problematic areas, looking beyond this to digital transformation at large, and the future of global industry itself.
With customer demand and the global market changing as rapidly as it is, companies have to be looking for more than just an out-of-the-box dock and yard management service. Adaptability and flexibility is paramount, as are partnerships and cycles of improvement. This is the philosophy at the center of SmartDock, and at the center of everything Comtrade does.