When people think of mobile devices and yard management it seems only fitting that the two would go together. That is actually not the case though! Supply chain software suppliers were very hesitant to jump on board with using mobile devices. Now you may ask, why? Often times companies using yard management software have asked the questions whether a mobile device used in a consumer market can stand up to the harsh environment on the yard? Can the latest and greatest YMS provide the same sort of stability and features as the trusted first generation since it’s on a mobile device now?
Keeping a few of the questions mentioned above as concerns from YMS users, lets discuss the reason why mobile devices enhance the YMS experience. The first thing that comes to mind is the fact that there is no need to install a Wi-Fi network in the yard. Whereas a first generation YMS forces a user to be confined to their computers for any YMS work that needs to be done. Shifting to the use of cellular networks and mobile devices allows for more freedom and stability, not to mention Wi-Fi can be costlier to have installed and cellular coverage is rarely an issue nowadays.
Mobile devices can be a lot less expensive than an actual traditional rugged RF device. Mobile devices would consist of cell phones, iPads, tablets, etc. which are definitely less costly. When you begin to think about the cost savings between a typical YMS device and a mobile device there is quite the difference, especially now that you can put the mobile device in cases that can prevent breakage or even clamped mounts. There are endless positives about having a mobile device right there at the tip of your fingers!
In addition, a user can call colleagues instead of having to use ‘old school’ devices such as radios that have static over the lines. Another feature of mobile devices is the location tracking ability in the event you are looking for users out in the yard. Tracking capabilities could also be useful when trying to find the nearest trailer on the yard or even the nearest available dock door.
When you think about yard marshals that walk around and greet those carriers coming into the yard there are a multitude of reasons why mobile devices just make sense. Yard marshals now have real-time visibility on appointment information, whether there are trailers in docks and drop zone availability. The mobile device is light weight and in most cases can hold multiple apps which means no other tool would need to be carried around.
At the end of the day, YMS users are not seeing a big change in the software but rather the way they are able to manage their day-to-day yard activities. Users are able to effectively and efficiently run their yard duties but at a lesser cost than before due to the introduced use of mobile devices. Companies using mobile devices to run their YMS, can also breathe easier knowing that their process is becoming more streamlined and they are keeping a few extra dollars in their pocket in the long run.