by Claudiu Maxim
Plenty is written about state-of-the art warehouses. Rocket is no exception; we discuss the topic often having driven the implementation of an award-winning EWM project at Arla Foods that implemented robots and voice technology.
But what about the yard, before goods even get into the warehouse?
Yard solutions within SAP EWM are designed for big operations, such as dockyards with container terminals and fleet vehicle distribution yards. At Rocket we wanted to offer an alternative; a tool for mid-sized organisations to fit the needs of our own customers.
The result is a graphical approach to yard management that is not available with the standard SAP EWM system. Developed by Rocket’s experts in the field to resolve real customer issues, it is a bolt-on to SAP’s EWM solution that provides a visual representation of the yard; vehicle movements are optimised and a planning tool allocates vehicle time-slots. Operators have an easy-to-use dashboard interface that allows them to create, transfer, unload and load vehicles on-screen.
This gives them at-a-glance, real-time insight – enabling them to execute, plan and analyse activity for effective and efficient yard management.
On screen, the graphical representation of vehicles and specific yard locations makes it easy to see where vehicles are in relation to where they are needed; they can then be ‘dragged and dropped’ accordingly.
As soon as a vehicle enters the yard, its movements will be triggered through the Virtual Yard Management system in which the operator decides if a vehicle needs to park in Bay 2, or docked at Door 3 for example.
A specific vehicle can be searched for in case it needs to be processed more quickly. Once located, it can be dragged and dropped to a specific door and the operations started.
On-screen vehicle tags can also be inter-changed, for example the yard operator may find it quicker and easier to identify trucks by customer, rather than licence plate. Operators therefore have full visibility of their fleet at all times.
Rocket’s Virtual Yard Management tool offers a function that enables planning at door level. For example, if a yard manager knows that Truck X, registration Y will arrive at 10am on Thursday and needs two hours to offload they can allocate in advance the door where it will unload. Once the door slot is booked, the door is blocked on-screen so there is no risk that another delivery will take its place.
Further streamlining is possible. For example, a door that needs maintenance can be blocked so deliveries don’t use it until it is operational again.
Yet again, visibility – enabled by the on-screen dashboard - is the watchword.
The focus on visibility lets yard managers see the overall status and planned time slots for future deliveries. How many vehicles still need to come into the yard, for example? With graphics that extend to door level - cylinders start off red and fill up with green as the unload completes – the number of pallets still to unload is easy to see, and time that the door can be reallocated determined.
Planning and allocating specific time slots for deliveries reduces overheads. The warehouse has a real-time view of its door capacities, as well as visibility of future activity and this eliminates the risk of overloading and vehicles turning up to find a door has been double-booked. Vehicles are not called to pick-up or deliver stock at hours when the warehouse is at its peak.
• A graphical on-screen approach provides at-a-glance information about where vehicles are and where they are needed.
• 360-degree visibility of a yard in real-time enables yard managers to optimise activity.
• The solution can be bolted on to an EWM that is already implemented.
Investing in an EWM system is a significant cost to the organisation. Additional ROI can be realised by adding in Virtual Yard Management. Get in touch with Rocket to find out how.