CHESHIRE, Conn. — Bozzuto’s, a wholesaler based here, has begun implementing an internally developed yard management system to manage trailers in its warehouse yards.
For example, Bozzuto’s has reorganized the yard at its main DC with parking slots for all trailers, said Jerry Nappi, transportation manager.
The “yard jockeys,” responsible for rounding up empty trailers and bringing them to specific docks for loading, punch the trailer’s location into their onboard computer and do the same after arriving at the assigned dock, time-stamping the whole process. They also scan a bar code on the trailer to confirm it is the right one. This was all paper-based in the past.
Because of the automation, the jockeys’ efficiency “has greatly increased,” Nappi said. Bozzuto’s can also monitor the yard jockeys’ productivity, such as how many moves they’ve made through the day and how quickly they made them. “So we can see whether we’re overstaffed or understaffed,” he said. Eventually, the process will be even more automated, with the system giving the yard jockeys all of their instructions.
The increased productivity of the yard jockeys has had a “snowball effect,” increasing the efficiency of the warehouse as well, Nappi said.
Yard management has also helped drivers find their trailers after they have been loaded and staged for delivery in the yard. “In the past, the trailer could be anywhere in the lot,” said Nappi. “The driver would drive around looking for the trailer.” But now the driver knows exactly where the trailer is located. “There’s no guesswork,” he said.
The yard management system has begun to incorporate appointment scheduling for inbound backhaul deliveries. The backhaul driver, upon picking up his load, calls the warehouse with the information, which is fed into the system. “By the time he’s back, he knows what bay to back into,” said Nappi. In the past, the driver would be directed to a backhaul area.
Change management has been the biggest challenge in implementing the yard management system. But as time goes by, “everybody’s buying into it,” Nappi said. He is certainly pleased with the system. “I’ve been looking for this for a long time,” he noted.