How SAP Yard Logistics overcomes obstacles in the yard

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Published on April 20, 2021 – Til Mattenklott, Consultant Yard Logistics at Westernacher

Weaknesses and problems at warehouses of the Consumer Goods and Retail industry: Concerns and solutions by using SAP Yard Logistics.
The coronavirus crisis created not only losers, but some winners too. One winner is the retail industry, which made great gains from the global pandemic, especially in the food area. According to estimates by the Federal Statistical Office, sales grew between 3.9 percent and 4.3 percent after adjustment for price (provisional values).[1]
In particular, logistics companies, retailers and the e-commerce sector have had to maintain their services for systemically important sectors such as hospitals, pharmacies and supermarkets. The order situation is difficult to manage and significantly more volatile than before, as the number of orders and shipments has skyrocketed.
Grocery retailers are struggling to keep up with the demand. In order to stay on track with the new requirements and the pace of the market, the efficiency of current processes must be checked. Keeping things running smoothly seems more important than ever.
Every delayed delivery, whether incoming or outgoing goods, causes costs as well as damage to one’s reputation. The shortest possible lead time for vehicles is particularly important at peak times. The cost pressure has increased too, causing the digitization processes to pay off even faster.

Eliminating pain points with optimization.

Despite all the problems mentioned, a large part of the processes at logistics locations is nowadays executed manually. Excel-based planning, unrecognized vehicles in the yard and forgotten trailers are just some of the pain points in reality. This is exactly where yard management software such as SAP Yard Logistics comes in, offering a wide range of optimization options. What are the advantages of such a computer-controlled system for retailers?
Let’s approach the classic logistics process chronologically:

First of all, SAP Yard Logistics is able to systematically map a clean and detailed plan of the arriving and departing vehicles. This primarily includes booking a time slot at a specific gate to ensure that the loading and unloading capacities are used in the best possible way.

In Yard Logistics it is possible for this purpose to define gate groups, which combine an unlimited number of ramps with equal properties. For each ramp group, the length of the time window and the working time can be set. The combination of working time, time window length and number of associated gates results in a potential number of appointments that can be assigned for each ramp group per working day.

If the solution is to be even more intuitive and less time-consuming, there is the option of using the Westernacher Carrier Portal.
In the Carrier Portal, the freight forwarders can log into an online booking portal to book their appointments in advance. Both the freight forwarders and the retailers benefit from greater planning security, less effort and thus potentially more sales.

Because of this, your customers are able to establish a direct connection to your yard logistics system, so that their transport planning can be automatically converted into a yard logistics-specific document.
Illustration 1: Westernacher Carrier Portal – Loading Point Pallets

Data protection has also been thought of: Every freight forwarder only sees his own time windows. External appointments are marked as “booked” and can no longer be selected.

Internal employees of the retailers have access to all bookings and can easily change, move or even delete appointments using a drag & drop functionality.

Easy check-in with Westernacher’s app.

On the scheduled date, the trucks will arrive at the corresponding warehouse. The next bottleneck presents itself here: Every vehicle must enter the factory premises through the entrance gate.

In the classic process, this is realized by an entrance barrier and one or more porters who have an overview of the yard and are thus able to send the trucks to the correct position on the site. As already mentioned, every minute of downtime costs money. In order to automate the check-in process and avoid waiting time, we have built the Westernacher Check-in App.

With the app, vehicle drivers can register themselves, for example on a terminal, in their respective national language. Of course, the Fiori-based application can also run on a normal desktop PC and smartphone, to make the use-cases as diverse as possible.
Illustration 2: Westernacher Check-In Application start screen
In the following process step, the user has the option of identifying himself with an individual, customer-specific transport number in order to be able to establish a connection to the previously constructed planning in SAP Yard Logistics.
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Illustration 3: Westernacher Check-In Application identification screen
Our experience shows that the check-in of a vehicle can be reduced to approximately one minute this way. In addition, possible hygiene guidelines, house rules or road traffic regulations can be displayed in the application, and even be signed by the driver if necessary.

If the driver is registered on the factory premises with his truck, he can be sent to the next place using the SMS communication supported by the SAP standard, even without leaving the truck. This not only ensures efficiency, but also reduces the number of contacts to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Holistic overview and further process improvements.

The efficiency of a process suffers enormously if lanes, parking lots or loading ramps are blocked at the wrong time. You can quickly reach the individual drivers in exceptional cases. For example, if a driver is late, you can communicate with him and, if necessary, assign and inform him of another free gate.

Furthermore, exceptions such as damaged scales, terminals or lanes can be reacted to immediately in order to divert the following vehicles. The so-called Yard Cockpit was developed in a way that every employee can keep an overview of the vehicles which are currently on the factory premises. It is also part of the standard functionality and includes a 3D visualization of your location, among other things.
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Illustration 4: 3D Visualisation in the Yard Cockpit
Furthermore, retail-specific requirements can also be recorded, controlled and monitored by the system. The temperature monitoring of trucks plays a central role here. Depending on the product, refrigerated trailers have to last between 8 and -24 degrees Celsius in order to be able to bring the goods to their destination intact.

With the help of SAP Yard Logistics, the target temperatures can be recorded and documented in the corresponding document. The use of additional applications allows for checking and monitoring of temperatures to ensure that only correctly pre-cooled trailers are being loaded.
Another example is the mapping of different types of trucks and trailers. Loose products such as flour, sugar or milk are usually delivered in silo vehicles, while pallet goods are transported in classic trailers. Some locations operate with gigaliners, while other locations merely load and unload 40-ton trucks.

With the creation of additional inspection tasks, SAP YL can map and save damages, cleanliness and, if necessary, seal in the system, which creates legal security in addition to procedural visibility. SAP Yard Logistics not only increases the security at your logistics location, but also reduces the organizational effort and error rates. Court processes can be mapped digitally and without contact.

If you want to digitize your yard and take it to the next level, please contact our experts.

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