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It’s hard to imagine what yard operations would be like if divorced from efficiency. Or maybe not so hard, if efficiency in this corner of logistics has been difficult to achieve at a high level in your organization. A yard management system is a good place to start, but as we will see, there’s much more that can be done beyond a standard YMS to optimize yard operations.

YMS technology has indeed come a long way from its roots in the 1990s It brings a measure of efficiency to the complex logistics of yard asset management, gate operations, and dock scheduling. It’s been relied upon as a key solution for reducing costs and enhancing yard operations at warehouses and manufacturing facilities.

But advances in artificial intelligence and dynamic data capture are behind the ability to create powerful integrated YMS (IYMS) systems. They have the ability to sync data, tasks, and scheduling between yard operations, transportation management, and warehouse management, taking intralogistics capabilities to a new level.

Understanding Yard Management Systems

The YMS certainly brought vast improvements to what were largely manual yard operations. It tracks yard assets and inbound/outbound shipments, schedules bay trips, and handles gate access control. YMS software is designed to increase yard visibility and efficiency. Over time, it has gotten more sophisticated, with the ability to incorporate RFID, GPS, and cloud computing.

For many companies, yard operations have the potential to become serious supply chain chokepoints, as they handle the flow of goods into and out of warehouse and manufacturing facilities. This was brought into sharp relief during the COVID-19 pandemic, as eCommerce volumes suddenly skyrocketed, creating chaos up and down the supply chain.

Yard management systems play a key role in helping companies alleviate delays that can happen at the entrance gate, the loading docks — really anywhere in a facility. A YMS monitors vehicle flow throughout the yard, keeps an eye on truck dwell time, and processes arriving and departing vehicles at the gate. This enables improved efficiency and safety, regulatory compliance — especially with emerging sustainability requirements — and maintenance of tight delivery schedules and turn times.

However, unlike inside the four walls of the warehouse with WMS, YMS adoption has not kept pace, with only about 7% of companies using the technology as of 2022. Even where YMS is in use, most systems lack the ability to provide a dynamic view of yard assets and vehicle movements.

Comparison of Legacy and Integrated YMS

Traditional YMS are standalone systems primarily focused on yard operations, lacking dynamic data integration and advanced analytics. They can be less adaptable to changing business needs, and typically provide less visibility, leading to inefficiencies and increased costs.

By contrast, an IYMS has access to dynamic data, thanks to integration with an AI-based intelligent system that pulls in and analyzes live feeds from yard security cameras. It can also be connected via API with OMS, TMS and WMS systems to sync interconnected processes (yard operations, transportation management, order flow, warehouse management). This type of broad integration creates a seamless logistics data flow and improves coordination between functions. It also enables more informed decision-making and improved efficiency.

When connected with an AI-based system and dynamic data analytics, an integrated YMS enables better coordination across processes and more proactive yard operations management. Companies can now make adjustments to processes and schedules on the fly based on analysis of live data, enhancing supply chain agility. In short, an integrated YMS helps organizations significantly reduce yard congestion and improve overall operational efficiency.

Dynamic Visibility With an Integrated YMS

An IYMS provides dynamic tracking and monitoring of yard activities that helps prevent congestion at the gate and the docks while optimizing resource utilization. With accurate information on vehicle and yard asset movements as they happen, yard managers can anticipate and resolve issues before they escalate.


Automation plays a critical role in IYMS by reducing manual interventions and streamlining processes. Automated gate systems, for example, can control access and manage vehicle flow efficiently, while advanced scheduling algorithms optimize dock scheduling. This technology not only boosts efficiency but also enhances safety by minimizing human error and reducing the risk of accidents.

Data Integration and Analytics

An IYMS integrated with WMS and TMS provides a unified view of related activities: inbound and outbound deliveries, yard drops, traffic flow, production and transportation schedules, and gate access. This integration enables a seamless data flow across systems, enhancing logistics efficiency.

Data shared can include appointment scheduling, bill of lading numbers, expected arrival times, and designated parking spots for different types of goods (dry bulk vs. refrigerated, etc.). The data flow depends on who carries the information and what is needed at the time.

Analytics and reporting tools embedded in an AI-powered IYMS help identify trends and predict potential bottlenecks. By analyzing historical and dynamic data, companies can continuously improve yard operations and adapt to changing conditions.

Benefits of an Integrated Yard Management System

There are several other advantages of an IYMS vs. a legacy system, including real-time asset tracking, a smooth flow from gate entry to departure, labor savings, less downtime and reduced detention and demurrage charges. Other benefits include:

Operational Efficiency

An integrated YMS improves coordination and reduces delays not only through dynamic visibility but also by automating processes. This helps streamline yard operations and reduce manual interventions, enhancing productivity.

Cost Savings

Better resource allocation and utilization and more efficient yard management result in lower operational costs. For example, companies can significantly reduce carriers’ detention and demurrage fees for trailers and chassis by optimizing vehicle turnaround times and minimizing delays.

Safety and Compliance

Automated checks and dynamic alerts proactively enhance safety by reducing accident risk and ensuring compliance with industry regulations and standards.

Customer Satisfaction

An IYMS contributes to improved SLAs, leading to higher customer satisfaction and retention. Better communication and transparency, including dynamic updates and notifications, enhance the overall customer experience.

Integration Challenges and Considerations

Adopting an IYMS can be challenging due to the initial costs and complexity involved. Companies need to invest in infrastructure, training, and change management to ensure a smooth transition.

These challenges can be overcome by developing a clear implementation strategy that involves key stakeholders and coordinating closely with vendor support. In a 2023 LinkedIn post, Brad Forester of JBF Consulting provides an excellent overview of how to formulate an integration strategy across the trifecta of YMS, TMS, and WMS. This includes considerations such as balancing live and trailer drop appointments, and when to use a TMS vs. a WMS for appointment scheduling.

In general, choosing a scalable, customizable IYMS is crucial for long-term success. The system should be able to grow with the business and adapt to changing operational needs. Tailoring it to fit your unique business requirements ensures maximum efficiency and ROI.

A True Integrated YMS

EAIGLE is a pioneer in applying AI to logistics across retail and manufacturing organizations. Its groundbreaking technology leverages dynamic data capture from a facility’s security cameras to optimize vehicle flow and yard asset management. EAIGLE’s platform seamlessly bridges the gap between TMS and WMS systems, and augments rather than replaces a legacy YMS — creating a true IYMS.

An advanced vehicle access control system (VAC) powered by AI captures vehicle data in real time. EAIGLE’s optical charac

ter recognition (OCR) technology automatically identifies and captures 25 separate ID characteristics as trucks, trailers, and chassis enter and exit the yard. This enables precise, dynamic tracking of location and activity, streamlines traffic flow, and optimizes space utilization for yard drops and storage. It also reduces errors from manual data entry. Gate access functions can be automated, speeding up vehicle and driver verification, eliminating backups, and reducing reliance on personnel.

Predictive management and planning are also enabled. By accessing live data via OCR, EAIGLE’s AI analyzes historical and current vehicle movement patterns to predict traffic and storage needs. Companies can preemptively reallocate resources and adjust schedules to avoid yard congestion.

Other benefits include improved decision-making through dynamic data analytics and insights. Yard operations managers can improve space utilization, as the system directs vehicles to dock bays and storage areas based on current capacity and scheduled arrivals. The system can also proactive sense and avert bottlenecks through predictive traffic management.

AI Technology Is Advancing the State of the Art in IYMS

Given the increasing complexity of supply chain management and the current climate of ongoing disruptive events, an integrated approach to logistics management is fast becoming a baseline capability. Thankfully, technology breakthroughs powered by AI are enabling tech stack synchronization, shared data, and analytical insights that unlock the true potential of collaborative intralogistics.

EAIGLE is pioneering the application of AI and machine learning to logistics operations, opening the door to a continual improvement process that has automation and intelligent problem-solving built into its DNA. Its solutions for gate management (AVAC™) and yard operations (YardSight™) are designed to improve operations through faster, more accurate yard asset management, fast, secure gate access, and greater efficiency in dock scheduling and queueing. To learn more, request a demo today.