In case you were looking for yet another reason to consider implementing a Yard Management System (YMS) solution as part of your TMS instance or even as a standalone, here’s one to consider. Beyond the standard reasons the Collaborator blog has detailed in recent posts – improved visibility into equipment & stored freight, better dock door scheduling, improved yard safety and security, etc. – a new challenge faces truckers thanks to the new Hours of Service rules: access to safe, overnight parking. Follow past the jump for details on the new challenge and how YMS tools can alleviate the pain.
Our good friend Adrian Gonzalez of Talking Logistics read the same Wall Street Journal article we did last week. Titled, Too Many Trucks, Too Little Parking, the WSJ’s piece (registration required) highlighted the plight of truckers who need a place to park their rig, mid-shipment. Whether because the DC isn’t ready to load/unload their trailer for several hours or because they’re butting up against HOS mandated rest periods, truckers are reporting there aren’t enough spaces to park. Truck stops are overflowing due to the increased stops brought about by HOS rules. Read Adrian’s post at Talking Logistics for his take on the issue.
All this is forcing truckers to find alternatives for overnight parking that operate in a grey area between safe/legal and risky/illegal. Parking at places like abandoned gas stations, vacant lots, behind shopping centers and even alongside freeway ramps puts drivers and freight alike at risk for theft and penalties from law enforcement. The WSJ piece even reports on a recent case where a trucker was burned alive in his rig, parked just outside the gates of the plant where he was waiting to make his delivery.
Adrian took the data shared in the WSJ piece and produced the following two charts that instantly clarify the scope of the challenge.
This got us to thinking about how something as simple as improved yard management might have saved that unlucky driver’s life. An actively managed yard provides managers with a clear inventory of available spaces which could be used in theory to allow truckers to dwell as they wait – sometimes for hours – for loading or unloading. Extra yard space for those with ample lots could be made available to truckers for overnight parking.
Keeping drivers off of public streets, freeway ramps and vulnerable, remote parking places like abandoned lots is a laudable goal. It is also one that logistics as an industry is going to be forced to address. Consider a YMS implementation. It is a low–cost initiative that will easily pay dividends in security and efficiency improvements alone. Plus, leveraging the YMS to provide much needed parking capacity to the industry would be good publicity for those organizations forward-looking enough to take this step.
For more on UltraYMS, click here to view information sheet.