4 Ways to Apply Standards and Predictability in Your Trailer-Yard

Warehousing and Logistics

When it comes to warehousing and logistics, the biggest costs in shipping and receiving are equipment and people. Excessive amounts of waste (in the form of waiting, inactivity, and unused inventory) are created when trailers full of materials and finished goods come and go or sit idle without precise planning. Identifying waste in shipping, receiving and yard-management activities requires an understanding of the flow of materials and movement of people.

Companies often fail to see any patterns for shipping and receiving activities. Many simply want all inbound material to arrive by Monday morning and all outbound shipping to be completed by Friday afternoon. The situation is made even worse with monthly and quarterly "springs to the finish line." This lack of level planning in your warehousing and logistics leads to peaks and valleys of demand on people, space, and equipment.

To better understand your particular situWarehousing and Logisticsation in warehousing and logistics, it's a best practice to complete a detailed review of current shipping and receiving patterns. This review should be followed by a series of actions designed to apply standards and predictability in the yard. The actions should include:

1. Collect data on current shipping and receiving activities.

2. Create inbound and outbound shipping schedules.

3. Implement disciplined processes in the trailer yard.

4. Develop weekly PDCA review.

1. Collect data on current shipping and receiving activities - the crucial step in warehousing and logistics management.

To build a daily plan of standard work for shipping and receiving in the trailer yard, the supply chain leader and team (which includes shipping receiving, and trailer yard managers) need accurate data to know what is really happening on the loading docks and in the trailer yard.

It's wise to collect information such as:

  • Number of trailers inbound, per day, and per shift
  • Number of trailers outbound, per day, and per shift
  • Number of people involved in shipping and receiving
  • Number of resources ( i.e. lift trucks, dock doors, and space) involved in shipping and receiving
  • Daily wait time for all trailers in the trailer yard prior to being loaded or unloaded at the facility.
  • Unit of work time to load or unload a trailer

2. Create inbound and outbound shipping schedules.

Precise shipping and receiving schedules level the flow of material in and out of a facility. They minimize the resources needed in shipping and receiving functions (eg., by avoiding overtime and extra fees for failing to return trailers in time). Inbound and outbound shipping schedules are supported by standard route systems. A route system is a planned set of routes that run to the same places at the same times each day or week. Route systems are essentially standard work for the transportation providers. They create a "base plan" for improvement.

3. Implement disciplined processes in the trailer yard.

You can implement discipline in the trailer yard with standard work planning, shunt scheduling, and trailer "sleep time" planning. The first step establishes a steady pace of work across all shifts based on takt time (available work time divided by customer demand). In the trailer yard, this means dividing the number of tasks that need to be accomplished by the amount of time available to accomplish them.

4. Develop weekly PDCA review.

Weekly PDCA meetings should be scheduled to review shipping, receiving, and trailer yard operations. Managers of these activities, as well as the manufacturing manager and materials manager should attend. These PDCA meetings can uncover and resolve warehousing and logistics performance problems in real time.

Posted by LeanCor Supply Chain Group

LeanCor Supply Chain Group is a trusted supply chain partner that specializes in lean principles to deliver operational improvement. LeanCor’s three integrated divisions – LeanCor Training and Education, LeanCor Consulting, and LeanCor Logistics – help organizations eliminate waste, drive down costs, and build a culture of continuous improvement.

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