yard management staging area

Yard Management 101: Introduction And Best Practices

Curious to learn about yard management and how you can implement best practices in your business? Read on for more information.

What Is Yard Management?

In the world of logistics and supply chain, yard management is a term used to describe the organization and handling of materials in a designated yard or outdoor storage area. This can include everything from organizing shipments and tracking inventory to loading and unloading yard trucks.

While it may seem simple on the surface, there are a number of best practices that must be followed in order to ensure efficient and safe operations.

In this guide, we will discuss what yard management is, as well as some of the best practices and yard management solutions for warehouses, logistics companies, and supply chain operators of all sizes.

What Is A Yard Management System And Yard Management Software?

A yard management system (YMS), or yard management software, is software that helps logistics and supply chain professionals plan, execute, and optimize yard operations. A good YMS will have features such as real-time tracking of assets, yard maps, appointment scheduling, and gate control.

YMS can be used to track inbound and outbound shipments, optimize yard space, and improve communication between yard workers and other stakeholders.

Why Is It Important?

Yard management solutions are important for a number of reasons.

First, it can help to improve the efficiency of your warehouse or distribution center operations. By having a clear picture of what assets are in your yard, you can avoid potential bottlenecks and delays in supply chain management.

Secondly, yard management can help to improve safety in your facility. By tracking assets and keeping yard workers informed of their location, you can help to avoid accidents and injuries.

Finally, it can also help to improve customer satisfaction by ensuring that shipments are loaded and unloaded in a timely manner.

ship port staging area

Yard Management Software System: Key Functionalities

As we mentioned earlier, a yard management system is software that helps logistics and supply chain professionals to plan, execute, and optimize yard operations.

Some of the key functionalities of yard management software include:

Real-time tracking of assets:

A good YMS will have features such as real-time tracking of assets, yard maps, appointment scheduling, and gate control.

Inbound and outbound shipment tracking:

YMS can be used to track inbound and outbound shipments, optimize yard space, and improve communication between yard workers and other stakeholders.

Appointment scheduling

By having a clear picture of what assets are in your yard, you can avoid potential bottlenecks and delays.

Gate control

By tracking assets and keeping yard workers informed of their location, you can help to avoid accidents and injuries.

Now that we have a better understanding of what yard management software is and why it’s important, let’s take a look at some of the best practices for warehouses and supply chains.

Yard Management Process Flow

The process flow can be divided into four main phases: ReceivingStagingShipping, and Maintenance.


The first step in the process is receiving. During this phase, shipments are delivered to the yard and checked in. This includes verifying that the shipment is complete and that all the necessary documentation is in order.


Once a shipment has been checked in, it will be staged for loading or unloading. During this phase, yard workers will use YMS software to plan the most efficient route for moving the shipment through the yard.


The next phase in the process is shipping. During this phase, shipments are loaded onto trucks or trailers and dispatched to their destination.


The final phase in the process is maintenance. During this phase, yard workers will conduct routine maintenance on yard equipment and infrastructure. This includes tasks such as mowing the lawn, repairing fences, and painting lines on the pavement.

By following these four simple steps, you can ensure that your yard process is efficient and effective.

trucks ready to be loaded

YMS Integration Options

In order to get the most out of your system, it’s important to integrate it with other systems in your warehouse or distribution center.

Some of the most common integration options include:

  • Warehouse Management System (WMS): A WMS is software that helps you to manage the day-to-day operations of your warehouse.
  • Transportation Management System (TMS): A TMS is software that helps you to plan and execute transportation operations.
  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system: An ERP system is software that helps you to manage your business’s finances, inventory, and operations.

By integrating your YMS with other systems in your business, you can help to improve the overall efficiency of your operations.

Logimax WMS offers a number of integration options to help you get the most out of your YMS.

Contact us today to learn more about our integration options.

Optimization Opportunities Offered By YMS Implementation

Once you have a yard management system in place, there are a number of optimization opportunities that you can take advantage of.

Some of these optimization opportunities include:

Improving yard utilization

By tracking assets and yard activities, you can identify opportunities to improve yard utilization.

Improving communication

By integrating your YMS with other systems in your business, you can improve communication between yard workers and all stakeholders.

Improving safety

By tracking assets and yard activities, you can help to improve yard safety.

Improving customer satisfaction

By tracking yard activities and integrating your YMS with your transportation management system, you can improve customer satisfaction.

Reducing yard congestion 

By tracking yard activities and managing gate entry and exit, you can help to reduce yard congestion.

Improving appointment management

By integrating your YMS with your transportation management system, you can improve appointment management.

Reducing dwell time

By tracking yard activities and integrating your YMS with your transportation

By taking advantage of these optimization opportunities, you can help to improve the overall efficiency of your yard management operations.

Dock and Yard Management System

Like a yard management system (YMS), a dock and yard management system (DYMS) is software that helps you to manage the operations of your dock and yard.

A DYMS can help you to improve the efficiency of your dock and yard operations by providing features such as:

  • Real-time tracking of assets
  • Accurate yard maps
  • Gate entry and exit management
  • Appointment management
  • Dock and yard activity reporting

By using a DYMS, you can help to improve the efficiency of your dock and yard.

Key Benefits Of Dock And Yard Management System (DYMS)

A DYMS is a software application that helps to manage yard operations in a warehouse or distribution business.

The goal of a DYMS is to optimize the flow of traffic and resources in and out of the yard, while also reducing costs and improving customer satisfaction.

warehouse dock doors

There are a number of benefits that can be achieved by using a dock and yard management system, including:

Improved asset visibility

A DYMS can help to improve asset visibility by tracking the location of assets in real-time. This information can be used to optimize operations and avoid delays.

Reduced costs

A DYMS can also help to reduce costs by improving the efficiency of operations. By reducing the time it takes to load and unload trucks, you can free up valuable yard space and reduce labor costs.

Improved customer satisfaction

It can also help to improve customer satisfaction by ensuring that shipments are loaded and unloaded in a timely manner.

Yard Management Systems And Warehouse Management Systems

A YMS is often integrated with a warehouse management system (WMS) to provide a complete view of warehouse operations.

The integration of these two systems can help to improve communication between yard workers and all stakeholders.

It can also help to improve the overall efficiency of your business.

Container Yard Management

Container yards are areas where containers are stored prior to being loaded onto ships or trucks.

There are a number of best practices that should be followed in order to ensure efficient container operations.

Some of these best practices include:

  • Using software to track containers
  • Maintaining accurate yard maps
  • Creating efficient loading and unloading plans
  • Communicating yard status to all stakeholders

By following these best practices, you can help to improve the efficiency of your container yard operations.

container yard management

Today’s Challenges

Despite the many benefits offered by yard management systems, there are a number of challenges that can make it difficult to implement a YMS. Some of these challenges include:

Lack of standardization

There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Every business has its own unique set of requirements. This can make it difficult to find a yard management system that meets your specific needs.


Due to their complexity, these systems can be expensive to implement and maintain. You may need to invest in new hardware, software, and training for your staff.


Yard management systems can be complex to set up and use. They often require integration with other systems, such as transportation management systems and warehouse management systems.

In spite of these challenges, the benefits offered by these systems can be well worth the effort.

Yard Management Capabilities For Modern Logistics

Whether you are using yard management for the first time or are looking to improve your current system, there are a few key capabilities that you should look for in a yard management software solution.

Real-time Asset Tracking

The first step to successful yard management. One of the most important features of a yard management system is knowing what assets you have in your yard and where they are located.

Any modern business also needs the ability to track these assets in real-time. This information can be used to improve operations and avoid potential delays. This can be done with the help of RFID tags, barcodes, or GPS tracking devices.

Load Planning and Load Optimization

A good system will help you to plan and optimize your load plans. This can include things like shipment sequencing and order consolidation.


Clear and concise communication is essential for any system to be successful. This includes communication between yard workers, dispatchers, and other stakeholders.


A good YMS will also provide you with the ability to generate reports on your operations. This can be useful for identifying trends and improving your process.

Appointment scheduling

Another important feature is the ability to schedule appointments. This can be used to ensure that operations are running smoothly and that there are no potential bottlenecks.

These are just a few capabilities that are essential for modern logistics.

containers ready to be loaded

Yard Management Best Practices:

There are a number of best practices that should be followed in order to ensure efficient and safe operations.

Some of these best practices include:

  • Tracking all assets in the yard in real-time
  • Maintaining accurate yard maps
  • Scheduling appointments for yard activities
  • Managing gate entry and exit
  • Communicating yard status to all stakeholders

By following these best practices, you can help to improve the efficiency and safety of your operations.

Choosing A Vendor

When choosing a yard management system vendor, it’s important to consider your specific needs and requirements.

Look at all of the features offered by a vendor to find the best solution for your business.

Yard Management System Cost

The cost of a modern and efficient system will vary depending on the features and functionalities that you require.

Expect to pay a monthly fee that provides a basic system.

However, if you need more advanced features, there may be an extra cost.

How To Implement A Yard Management System

If you’re looking to improve the efficiency of your business, implementing a yard management system is a great place to start.

There are a few things that you need to keep in mind when implementing a YMS:

  • Define your goals and objectives
  • Choose the right system vendor
  • Train your employees
  • Set up yard management processes and procedures
  • Monitor and measure results

A YMS can work seamlessly with your WMS once integrated. But third-party systems may require custom integration. The benefit of using a Logimax WMS with a YMS Module is that no added integration work is required.

Yard Management Solutions: Logimax WMS + YMS Module

If you’re looking for the best yard management software that can help you to improve the efficiency of your business, look no further than Logimax WMS with a Yard Management module.

Logimax WMS can be easily integrated with our cloud-based yard management solution. This combination offers all of the features and functionalities that we’ve discussed in this guide.

Some of the key benefits of using Logimax WMS with yard management module include:

  • real-time tracking of assets
  • inbound and outbound shipment tracking
  • appointment scheduling
  • gate control
  • increased customer satisfaction.

With a third-party YMS, it requires being integrated with your warehouse management system. However, Logimax WMS with a YMS module requires no added integration work. This saves you time and money.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, yard management is a critical part of any warehouse or supply chain operation. By following the best practices outlined in this guide, you can help to improve the efficiency and safety of your operations.

If you have any questions or if you would like to learn more about our yard management software, please contact us. We would be happy to answer any of your questions. We offer a free consultation to help you determine if our system is right for your business.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you improve your operations.


Yard Management Definition

Yard management is the coordination of yard operations in a warehouse or distribution center. The goal is to optimize the flow of traffic and resources in and out of the yard, while also reducing costs and improving customer satisfaction.

What Is a Yard In Supply Chain? What Does Yard Mean In Logistics?

A yard is a location where goods are stored prior to being loaded or unloaded for transport. Yards are commonly used in the transportation and logistics industry, as they provide a convenient place to store goods while they are waiting to be shipped.

What is a yard warehouse?

A yard warehouse is a type of storage facility used to store goods waiting to be shipped. Yard warehouses are typically located near transportation hubs, such as airports or railroads.

What is a yard and a dock?

A yard is a location where goods are stored prior to being loaded or unloaded for transport. A dock is a structure that is used to load and unload ships. Docks are typically located near yards. Dock management is an essential function of any DYMS. A good DYMS can help your dock teams operate efficiently.

What is Yard Management Software?

It is a type of software that is designed to help businesses coordinate yard operations. This software can be used to track vehicles, schedule appointments, and manage resources.

ariel view of group using laptops

Services to Expect from Your Warehouse Management Software Provider

All warehouses, distribution, and third-party logistics facilities want to make sure that the warehouse management software – often referred to as WMS software – they choose is a good fit for their business and how it integrates with their supply chain. The WMS software must have all the features your business needs. But there are other aspects of a warehouse solution “fit” that are equally essential: service and support.

A professional and experienced service provider will ensure the software has the warehouse processes your business needs. They also will make sure you have the right solutions for integration, implementation, and post-installation support. This includes continuing troubleshooting and supporting your growth initiatives for better operational efficiency. In this blog post, we’ll highlight some of the most important service and support features you should look for when reviewing warehouse management software providers.

The Best Warehouse Management Software Integration Begins with Extensive Pre-Planning

Having a solid, advanced game plan is key when you consider your next WMS software provider. Logimax’s professional services team will work with you to identify your company’s specific needs and provide proper WMS solutions for initial integration and beyond. As a premier inventory and warehouse management software provider, the Logimax service team has the expert knowledge necessary for fulfilling your inventory management objectives – from logistics planning to warehouse and distribution center strategies.

Each customer is assigned skilled staff members who can analyze warehouse flow patterns to recommend reorganizing options if needed. This may include moving goods to better locations within the warehouse or implementing more efficient organizational systems that can save time on warehouse loading and unloading.

Logimax is dedicated to client success. We have the industry knowledge, customer service experience, and technical know-how to make all of your inbound or outbound operations more efficient. This includes project planning, software installation, required integrations, system configurations, system testing, inventory tracking, and warehouse operations improvement assistance.

Working with Your Company to Improve Warehouse Management System Processes

two men reviewing inventory in a warehouseServices from your warehouse management software vendor should never end after installation. Instead, service and support should continue throughout the entire length of your relationship. Logimax will regularly evaluate your 3PLwarehouse, or distribution center with your core team to determine current and future business growth areas and possible WMS software adjustments that will keep your operations running efficiently and boost productivity.

“Just because WMS has been around for roughly four decades, doesn’t mean these systems can be put in place and left to fend for themselves as the business world around them changes and morphs at the speed of light,” notes an article from Logistics Management on optimizing your warehouse management software. “To be most effective in today’s fast-paced fulfillment environment, these specialized business applications should be regularly reviewed, updated, and optimized in a way that aligns with the business’s current needs.”

Logimax knows that your warehouse or distribution center may need help to grow alongside emerging trends and technologies all while you continue to manage inventory. That’s why our supply chain operations experts are always here for you, ready with the knowledge to help your company maintain its competitive edge.

Get Your Warehouse Management Software Customized to Fit Your Company’s Inventory Management Needs

In today’s world of shipping and inventory management, there are many considerations that need to be made when choosing warehouse management software, including the unique needs of your warehouse operations. Every third-party logistics provider and warehouse has its own way of accommodating these requirements.

cloud computing conceptTherefore, a new installation of WMS software may require integration and customization by adding modules, developing fields, and templating reports. By working with Logimax cloud-based WMS you can depend on a user-friendly interface and inventory accuracy while satisfying specific customer demands for each order and shipment.

One example includes picking orders on days certain items are to be shipped together. Logimax’s warehouse management software solution can provide the tools your distribution facility needs. Managing warehouse inventory for those ‘we have to do it this way’ customers might include a solution such as our kitting module to prep often-shipped-together items in advance to save on fulfillment time.

And as a top-tier partner with warehouse hardware manufacturers, our dedicated hardware representatives can offer competitive pricing along with a wealth of related supply chain hardware integration services:

  • Product configuration consulting and recommendations
  • Product delivery, testing, and set-up
  • Coordination of RF site surveys and installation
  • Hardware upgrade and trade-in programs
  • Mobile solutions for integrated barcode scanning and RFID
  • Hardware maintenance agreements
  • Product leasing programs for businesses
  • Media and supplies fulfillment (labels, RFID tags, ribbons, head cleaners, etc.)

Train Your Employees Before Warehouse Management Software Implementation and Thereafter

Any change management process should be developed before the WMS solution implementation and initial training take place in your warehouse. This includes addressing the order of operations across your company, employee competencies needed for workplace success with warehouse management software systems, hardware configuration issues like devices or networks, supply chain requirements, and shipping management.

Man scanning box barcode; woman looking at computer screenEven testing new warehouse management systems cannot make for a seamless integration if there isn’t a solid and dedicated team from your company – not just members of upper management. The implementation crew will need key employees from your company, your suppliers, and the WMS software provider, all of whom are committed to working together towards a successful inventory management transition.

Training should not end after implementation, however. The warehouse management system software provider you select should also have a continuous training plan to ensure operations run smoothly. Logimax always assigns a dedicated project coordinator during the transition and service periods. This ensures your company can take advantage of every aspect of the seamless integration plan and benefit from our first-class WMS solution support.

Comprehensive Warehouse Management Software Includes Training:

  1. Your trainer or system administrator
  2. Your Logimax implementation project team
  3. All Logimax solution users, including RF end-users

Choose a WMS Software Vendor That is Always by Your Side Through Thick and Thin

teammates reviewing inventory on a tabletYou never want to find your warehouse, 3PL, or distribution center at a standstill due to an issue with your warehouse management software. Your chosen warehouse management software provider should be there for any questions, issues, or upgrade assistance your company ever requires including:

  • Help Desk Support
  • Support Portal
  • E-Support Notices
  • Informational Blog Articles 
  • User Events
  • Regular Cloud-Based Software Updates
  • Developing New Features

Excellence in customer support is at the center of Logimax’s values. Customer satisfaction is very important to us. To fully support every customer’s warehouse software solution and ensure their immediate and ongoing satisfaction, we offer a complete range of services that help ensure we meet your timeline, budget, integration, and functional requirements.

Logimax offers great WMS software that can help you with virtually all of your supply chain and warehouse management needs. We offer professional services to make the integration process and ongoing usage much easier for businesses – resulting in better inventory accuracy and operational efficiency. For more information on how our cloud-based warehouse management systems’ extended support can improve your logistics supply chain now and for years to come, contact the Logimax expert team today.

packages on conveyor belt

How to Prepare Your Warehouse for Peak Season

The holiday rush is upon us, and many retailers are already preparing for the busiest shopping days of the year, also known as Peak Season for sales and shipping. Since this is a make-or-break time for many businesses, shipping disruptions can lead to lost sales and unhappy customers for your clients. No one wants that!

The solution is to maintain good relationships with your clients by getting their orders out on schedule. This will help ensure continued business throughout the rest of the year. Here are some tips on how to prepare your warehouse or 3PL for peak season so you can avoid complications and come out on top.

Definition of Peak Season

small boxes on laptopPeak season refers to the period when demand for products rises sharply due to seasonal events such as holidays and special occasions. This means that there will be more people buying items than usual, so retailers need to make sure they have enough stock available to meet the increased demand. This is where your warehouse or 3PL comes into play. You can help your clients meet their seasonal sales goals, ultimately reaching your storage, shipping, and profit targets.

2022 Warehouse Operations Expectations

Since the beginning of the pandemic, supply chain issues have become a continual part of doing business. Addressing and preparing your warehouse for peak season “as usual” is no longer applicable. Too many variables in the market now exist that will make it harder to predict your peak season planning forecast. Some relevant issues to note include:

  • Additional supply chain problems (backed-up ports, container backlogs, protests, strikes, rising fees, etc.)
  • Changes in customer buying patterns
  • Increased holiday inventory
  • Labor shortages
  • Unpredictable fuel prices
  • Low carrier capacity leading to e-commerce shipping surcharges
  • Inflation and/or a potential recession
  • Possible Covid resurgence

Start Preparing a Plan and a Budget

bar graph - how is your company preparing its operations for peak season?Customer support is key to a successful season. Lost shipments, damaged items, shipping delays, and returns are bound to happen no matter how well your warehouse or 3PL distributes holiday orders during this busy time. Be sure to focus on customer satisfaction, quality control, and warehouse efficiency.

Carrier shipping times will fluctuate. According to an article by DC Velocity, global air freight demand dropped 9% in July as compared to July 2021. However, your warehouse manager should be prepared to ship items earlier than you would any other time of year. Learn each carrier’s strengths and weaknesses so you are not sidelined with an unanticipated problem. Continual carrier communication is key to success in getting your clients’ products into consumers’ hands in time. In addition, air freight rates also dropped in July, yet remain still historically high – up 11% over last year – so it is important to budget accordingly.

Stock up on packaging materials. Packaging supplies are essential for any business, especially during peak season. Consider the current supply chain climate when purchasing what you need to meet demand. In a recent Supply Chain Dive article, John Blake, senior director analyst with the Gartner Supply Chain practice, noted that packaging supply is expected to remain tight through the 2022 holiday season. “Currently we’re seeing six months’ [lead time] where it used to be four to six weeks,” he said. “Things like labels have 12 to 16-week lead times, where it used to be four to six.” With supplier expectations about production schedules changing, companies need to talk with their suppliers now and figure out where they will be in the next four to six months.

Don’t ignore your workforce.  In today’s competitive environment, 3PLs and warehouses need to do everything they can in order to keep up with their competitors. One way is by offering attractive benefits and programs that will attract new warehouse workers, retain existing employees, and keep the operation running smoothly. That’s because without an active workforce you could soon find yourself facing major disruption.

Peak season also means that those working in your distribution centers will more than likely be working extended hours. Make sure that your company or 3PL is adequately staffed, even if you need to bring in temporary employees to maintain warehouse efficiency. Keep your workers’ morale up with pizza and donut deliveries for those late nights or early mornings.

All of these considerations should be planned strategically and budgeted to streamline processes before holiday shopping begins.

Strategies for Predicting Holiday Season Warehouse Volumes

There are several ways to predict peak season distribution center volumes. One method is to use historical data to determine how much inventory to have on hand which translates into warehouse space used. Another option is to forecast future demand based on past trends. A third option is to estimate current demand based on previous seasons’ sales.

Obviously, planning ahead is the best way to have a successful peak season. You can do this with the following forecasting strategies for your fulfillment services.

1. Inventory Data

Inventory managementicon of graphs on paper and forecasting are all about data. Before you can figure out what you need to order and when you need to order it, you need to understand your historical numbers. While it is not a perfect solution given changing conditions, this is a good starting point for peak season forecasting. Your warehouse management system (WMS) software should be able to provide you with historical data over several years, as well as assist in forecasting for the peak season and planning floor space for products.

2. Always Take Notes

notepad iconThe best teacher is past experience. It is not enough to just take notes on what happened during peak seasons or periods of high inventory. Your team will only be able to make accurate predictions for future markets if they know how things work after the fact. Plus, memories fade with time. Take notes throughout the year about all aspects related to the market activity – shipping percentages and punctuality, order levels, and labor hours – in order to refer back to them when planning for the next holiday rush.

3. View Real-Time Inventory

clock iconIt can be tough to know what you need for your operation if the data isn’t accurate and timely enough. With real-time inventory tracking from Logimax WMS, you can monitor product stocks against estimates so if problems arise, they get resolved faster. Efficient WMS software from Logimax can also prevent future issues from happening altogether by providing an accurate picture of every product on hand in your warehouse or 3PL at any given time.

4. Get Your Team Involved

team iconThe more people involved in your inventory forecasting process, the better. Involving finance and operations will give you a better understanding of what’s happening with physical stock levels at any given time; while inviting external stakeholders can help identify potential problems before they arise by allowing input for future decisions that may affect them (ie. buying/selling).

5. The Right Tools Equal Success

WMSUsing the right tools to replenish inventory can be challenging during peak season. Consider technology solutions for your warehouse or 3PL like mobile carts, RFID tags, and warehouse management system software that will help you compare your results with your forecast in real-time.

Warehouse management is a challenging task during the peak season. However, with these added picking strategies you can create more efficient warehouse operations. A more efficient warehouse will help save your company time and money on inventory management and ensure data accuracy for future forecasts.

How Your Warehouse Management System Software Can Help

warehouse management system (WMS) helps you easily access inventory management, track shipments, and keep an eye on your business. It also allows you to automate processes so you can focus more on growing your business instead of managing every aspect of it.

When you’re looking for a way to make your business more efficient, accurate, and effective at accelerating inventory turnover time then look no further than automating tasks with Logimax WMS software. The process will be streamlined thanks in part to integrations that can occur via API or online shopping cart interfaces. This allows the system not just to track what’s going on, but also to send updates as they happen. This means there are never any lost opportunities again.

Logimax WMS software reporting features can provide valuable information to help your customers plan their inventory levels. This is especially crucial this peak season as companies shift from JIT (Just-In-Time) strategies towards those that are focused on maintaining a higher level of availability, like JIC (Just-In-Case) stocking and material handling.

The best way for warehouses and 3PLs to plan ahead for peak season is by maximizing the benefits from their client relationships. To do this, you should communicate early and often with your customers. Talk regularly about schedules or upcoming promotions, as well as standards such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Communication and real-time reporting during these busy times will help everyone be best prepared for a successful end of the year. For details on how Logimax WMS can help your company during peak season, contact us today!

person viewing graphs on computer and tablet screens

Warehouse Software Users Cautiously Embrace Change in 2022

Supply chain and labor challenges resulting from the pandemic have led to companies adopting more modern methods of running their distribution facilities over the past year, but leaders are somewhat guarded in doing so given the economy.

The following are some of the key trends from a recent annual survey by Modern Materials Handling. The survey results are from over 100 supply chain readers on their implementation and usage of warehouse software automation to improve their overall warehouse management.

Warehouse Software Investment Plans

man using drawing of a calculatorIn today’s economy, materials handling management software is a hot commodity. Companies are constantly looking for ways to optimize their operations and cut costs, and this type of software can help them to do just that. As such, it’s no surprise that 26% of companies surveyed said they were investing in new materials handling management software this year. However, 20% said they were upgrading their existing software instead, and 28% said they had no plans to expand their software purchases in the next year. While the current economic climate has certainly changed the way many companies approach materials handling management, it is clear that there is still a strong demand for this type of software.

Warehouse Management Systems

Those in the warehousing or distribution industry know that warehouse management system (WMS) software is essential for keeping daily operations running efficiently. According to a recent study, the use of WMS software dropped by 10% from 2021 to 2022. Yet despite this decrease, WMS remains the top software application in use by warehouses and distribution facilities. Transportation management software (TMS), labor management software (LMS), supply chain management and planning (SCP) software, and asset tracking software round out the top five most used software types in 2022. Order management, procurement, and inventory visibility are the main reasons cited for adopting a WMS. Even with a decrease in overall usage, it is clear that warehouse management system software will continue to play a vital role in warehouse and distribution operations.

Warehouse Management Software Benefits

cloud computing conceptWMS software is a key element in warehouse operations through inventory tracking, managing warehouse space and labor, and optimizing warehouse operations. An estimated 59% of warehouses have had a WMS for one to ten years, according to the survey. In addition, warehouse management systems provide many benefits like improved security, scalability, and warehouse efficiency. Security is a key consideration for many companies when choosing a WMS system like Logimax because it can be implemented in the cloud, providing the best scalability options. The cloud also offers increased security and disaster recovery capabilities. Many companies choose to upgrade their warehouse management system (WMS) every one to five years to take advantage of new features and benefits such as cloud operation.

Logimax WMS Solutions in the cloud...Learn MoreWhat trends do you see emerging in the warehouse management software space? Are you planning any changes to your warehouse operations in the coming year? As an expert in warehouse system management software, Logimax can help guide you through the clutter with the best warehouse management solutions. Contact us today to learn more.

Worker scanning a return in warehouse

How to Maintain Order and Process Returns in the Warehouse Efficiently

Product returns are always a hassle. Whether it’s due to shipment damage, product malfunction, or product recall, managing returns effectively is essential for 3PLs and warehouses. One of the biggest challenges when handling returns is keeping employees’ labor-intensive tasks well organized. Through automated processing and integration with external systems, your 3PL warehouse management system (WMS) software should be easy for employees to use and track stock to process returns efficiently.  

Your Logistics Software is Key

WMS software is the backbone of any distribution center, and it can help you maintain order and efficiently process returns. With a powerful, easy-to-use warehouse management system, you will be able to track all inventory from initial arrival to shipping orders out the door. And since your WMS also handles returns or recalls, you can make decisions based on real-time data rather than estimates or guesses. 

The best 3PL WMS software should supply product information and traceability for every single item moving in or out of your facility. This includes inventory location assignments, product expiration dates, and lot numbers. Lot and expiration date details should automatically be tied to each item’s barcode since all inventory transactions require a scan. Warehouses whose WMS supports radio frequency and barcode labeling can leverage their wireless network to experience dramatic increases in inventory accuracy, picking accuracy, and productivity.  

Efficient logistics operations are vital to product returns and recalls. The best WMS software from Logimax optimizes efficiency by:  

  • Automatically sorting single or batch orders by date 
  • Measuring user productivity against established time standards 
  • Automatically enforcing product consolidation and rotation based on item and location rules 

WMS Software Can Help with Labor Savings 

All return and recall processing rules can be pre-set and tracked through your WMS softwareLogimax can even work with your HR system via advanced metrics to preplan and optimize workflow to track labor hours. Utilizing barcoded employee badges and asset/equipment tags, 3PL warehouses can easily trace employee time and attendance, labor and equipment costs for returns, and how long employees and equipment are assigned to activities. With the WMS software and your HR system working together, you will know exactly how high your labor costs are per task and can make any future accommodations for better productivity.   

Instituting Return Procedures 

Return guidelines are usually specified by each customer based on their requirements. However, 3PL warehouses always implement a standard set of procedures for returned goods because you must have a set way of physically handling and processing inbound returns. Every step in the process can be stored in Logimax’s WMS software for full return traceability. 

1.  Receiving Returned Inventory

A Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) or Return Goods Authorization (RGA) form should always be filed prior to the initial product return. These forms can easily be generated and sent using a web client portal. Customer name, return authorization date, order number, and carrier tracking number are pieces of information usually included. On arrival at the warehouse, the shipment is compared to the RMA/RGA for accuracy. Once received into the WMS system, returned products should be marked accordingly and moved to the inspection area.

2.  Inspecting Returns

When you receive a returned item, it’s important to be thorough in your quality inspection process. There are a few different things you’ll want to check for: 

  • Carton and product damage 
  • Product expiration dates 
  • Product tags, including barcodes and stickers 
  • Any other markings on the product or packaging that may indicate tampering or reconditioning 

Food items cannot be resold once returned. Log these returns immediately and dispose of the food product accordingly. Return damaged or malfunctioning products to the manufacturer or destroy them per customer instructions, recycling procedures, and governing agency guidelines.   

3.  Repacking Inventory

Non-food products can be resold if the item is not damaged or malfunctioning and damage is only to the packaging. These items can usually be repacked and added back into inventory with a new SKU assigned to note that it was previously returned. These items are sometimes offered at discounted prices — as warehouse deals or opened box discounts. Repacks occur either at the warehouse facility or the manufacturer depending on the 3PL warehouse partnership.  

Procedures for Recalls

Distributors and 3PLs both can be incredibly valuable to brands in managing their product recalls. During a recall, a warehouse must be able to provide complete life cycle information on affected SKUs, including lot number and expiration date. It’s vital that the warehouse is aware of what recalled inventory is in-house, quantities shipped out already and to whom, and how much recalled product is yet to be received.  As a general rule, recall procedures should include: 

  • Report all prior shipments of recalled products to your client. 
  • Immediately put a hold on all of the recalled SKUs. No product marked for recall should be allocated or shipped, even if it is on the staging dock. 
  • Assign a segregated area of the warehouse for recalled products. For better visual identification, indicate the area with appropriate signage and mark items with hold tags. 
  • Alert customers. This may be done by the manufacturer or distributor depending on procedural recall assignments. Customer communication typically is in the form of an email and sometimes accompanied by a press release. 
  • Do not receive any additional recalled product from the manufacturer even if it is on order.  
  • Change the class code of the recalled product SKU for potential ordering, picking, receiving (returned), or destroying under specified guidelines and regulations.  
  • Generate and issue appropriate reports to the client. 
  • Some clients may require a mock recall as part of their partnership with the warehouse to ensure that the process will run smoothly, should a recall occur.  

Trends in Returned Products

Logimax WMS software can also aid your clients in identifying trends in returns by generating customized reports. These can include which products have been returned, why, when, and how often over select periods of time. This is particularly helpful in identifying future recalls, uncovering packaging or shipping issues and problems, and highlighting possible product defects or opportunities for improvement. The ability to provide this information to your clients gives your business a huge advantage. 

Because the supply chain is built on relationship building and cooperation between your 3PL warehouse and customers, look into finding the right technological solutions for your inventory tracking. Make your returns processes more effective by integrating the best software for warehouse management systems from Logimax. 

Businessman hand working with a Cloud Computing diagram on the new computer interface as concept

4 Reasons to Consider Moving to the Cloud

Cloud-based computing, or “the cloud,” is a new way to deliver on-demand services through a subscription model. For companies of any size, from startups and beyond, the cloud provides affordability, around-the-clock connectivity, scalability, greater security, and more.

Operating in the cloud means moving away from tangible software that is installed via on-site hardware versus software run on distant servers that are owned and operated by your hosting provider. The IBM i platform, for example, is the hosting server for Logimax. There are many reasons why moving to the cloud gives your company a long-term advantage. Here are the main four.

Safety and Security

A browser-based solution like the cloud guarantees your company protection. Because your resources live on a hosting platform located outside your company, your most valuable data is immune to both physical threats (flooding, outages, natural disasters) and viral threats. Downtime is reduced. Accessing your system remotely from anywhere in the U.S. is simple. You can enjoy the confidence of knowing your data lives a healthy life and is there for you whenever you need it.

IBM i Expertise

Your cloud host matters. When you move to the cloud you want to make sure you choose a hosting platform that is there for you, no matter your question or need. IBM i host providers are known worldwide for providing a range of experts backed by years of experience in the field. They speak your language. You won’t be trapped in a web of lost calls or misdirected transfers. You’ll find experts who are not reading from a book but have expertise grounded in experience. The reliability and professionalism of your hosting platform’s support is essential to achieving success.

Cost Savings

The cloud is designed to reduce costs. In fact, the IBM i platform is known to produce a savings of up to 70 percent compared to the on-premise server model. There is no need for hardware, data servers, or other forms of computing infrastructure. You eliminate IT support because it is replaced by the cloud hosting provider. Monthly or annual fees replace upfront application software licenses, application fees, plus all upgrades. The moment you sign up, the savings begin.

Flexible Terms

The cloud won’t lock you in. Instead, you pay only for the resources you need. This can also be adjusted as your company grows or your needs change. Simply put, through the cloud model, you use what you need, however you need it, and how long you need it. Termination can take place any time. All you need is a plan that is tailored to support your immediate needs and your vision for growth.

Is your warehouse ready for the cloud? Visit logimaxwms.com or call (855) 253-8855 to set up a demo or to learn more about our WMS and 3PL software.

cold storage boxes of vegetables

Cold Chain Warehouse Best Practices

From initial production to getting products directly into consumers’ hands, the supply chain industry has many working arms. When it comes to 3PL warehousing and storage, it’s not just racks and pallets of cartons being housed in a building with four walls and a roof. Many products have very specific storage requirements, especially those considered cold chain items. 

What is Cold Chain? 

The cold chain involves temperature management of perishable products. Certain environmental requirements must be adhered to in order to maintain the quality and safety of each product stored. Required conditions can range from flash freezing to humidity control. Items typically included in the cold chain category are perishable commodities like: 

  • Pharmaceuticals and vaccines 
  • Medical products 
  • Perishable food and beverages 
  • Live plants 
  • Film (from both still photography and videography)
  • Wax products
  • Artwork 

In a warehouse, cold chain responsibilities begin as soon as products arrive at the facility. RFID systems can provide real-time updates whenever an RFIDtagged shipment arrives at the facility. Otherwise, pallets and barcoded labels are scanned. Upon arrival, goods must be checked in, inspected, weighed, labeled, and put away according to assigned storage specifications. Stock rotations are also considered for FIFO (First In First Out), LIFO (Last In First Out), FEFO (First Expiry First Out), or other lot order fulfillment as specified. Then products are available for picking and shipping while still adhering to overall cold chain requirements. 

Key Factors to Maintain Cold Chain Storage Compliance

It is important to understand your customers’ cold storage specifications upfront. What products do they want to store and at what temperature? Will the products stored remain the same over time or will new products be introduced into the mix? Will all items have the same cold storage specifications? 

Once expectations are established and compliance regulations are defined, regular temperature, humidity, and lighting monitoring begin. Remember that maintaining health, safety, and quality standards are vital, therefore frameworks that offer real-time monitoring, alerts, and historical data (often required by governing or regulatory agencies) are a priority. A top-tier WMS (warehouse management system) software can work with your control systems to provide accurate reporting of current and historical data. 

Maintaining your cold chain storage area is also vital to keeping operations running smoothly and eliminating any future problems. Cold storage design, supply, and installation company Stancold UK offers the following expanded list of seven tips to improve cold storage efficiency:

  1. Keep condenser units clean
  2. Ensure doors are sealed
  3. Check evaporator coils regularly
  4. Keep an eye on walls and ceiling
  5. Use proper lighting for each type of product
  6. Continually monitor temperature
  7. Have an inspection and maintenance schedule

 When all systems are operating correctly, monitoring and maintaining your cold storage will ensure items are kept at the proper temperature. If you have questions on how your warehouse management software can help with your cold storage monitoring, contact Logimax today. 

rf scanner

Label and Chip Shortages Affect Warehouses Too

UPDATED 5/12/22

Supply chain problems have not gone away for any of us, unfortunately. The pandemic paralyzed manufacturing, shipping, and product distribution worldwide including the warehousing industry. We are all still feeling pains from inventory backlogs, out-of-stock situations, and staffing shortages. Warehouses and manufacturers are now dealing with shortages in paper labels and RFID supplies (tags, labels, and readers). Here is the latest on how these shortages can affect the supply chain industry directly.

Labeling Problems 

Manufacturers and distributors may soon experience another hit to daily operations if not already – Labels price increases and a shortage of labeling supplies. Whether they are printed simply with text, include barcodes, or embedded with RFID technology, labels are used for accurate product and skid identification. Finland, specifically paper manufacturer UPM Raflatac, is a leading supplier of release base paper (the liner paper from which labels are peeled) and face paper (actual labels). At the beginning of 2022, the Finnish Paperworkers Union went on strike followed by support from the Transport Workers’ Union (AKT), which refused to handle UPM shipments out of Finland’s ports. This completely shut down UPM’s production and export of labels. The strike ended April 23 after all parties approved settlement proposals. 

According to an article from Supply Chain Brain, the Finnish strike is mainly affecting western markets like the United States and Europe. Yet there have been a series of paper shortage problems happening prior to the strike caused by higher label demands, U.S. weather issues where adhesive producers are based, Covid shutdowns and restrictions, the blockage of the Suez Canal, and paper pulp supply chain disruptions. The strike just adds to the already limping industry. Labels are a critical component in the warehousing industry. Label prices are already on the rise. Hopefully, the circumstances surrounding access to affordable labeling supplies will end sooner rather than later. 

Why the RFID Tag/Reader Shortage? 

Warehouses that use RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) embedded labels will be hit doubly hard. RFID labels and tags use chips. The worldwide chip shortage isn’t breaking news, however media coverage seems focused on its impact in the automotive and personal electronics industries, overlooking RFID labels in the ensuing chaos. Pandemic shutdowns led to the chip shortage and manufacturers are still playing catch-up. Distribution facilities that use the technology continue to deal with shortages in replenishing their RFID supplies.

East Asia manufactures about 95% of silicon wafers that serve as a base in which chips are placed. Many of those suppliers note that they will not be able to meet demand until 2024, extending the chip shortage. A worldwide expansion of chip manufacturing is slow going. All major suppliers are reportedly investing to increase capacity as a result of rising demand; however, it will not impact shortages for at least one-to-two years. According to BloombergIntel Corp. is building a $20 billion chip-making hub in Ohio that will be open in 2025. Samsung Electronics Co. and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. are also expanding in the U.S., with production forecasted to be at least a year out.  

These highly sought-after chips are also used in the equipment that reads RFID tags and RF labels. Now there is a backlog of orders for RF readers worldwide due to pandemic shutdowns. Many of the RFID equipment manufacturers are located in China and have been playing catch-up too. However, the newest shutdowns have added even more strain to the supply chain, affecting new equipment orders from warehouses. 

To curb disruptions in your daily operations from these shortages, your facility should continue to buy from your current label supplier so you don’t ‘lose your spot’ to someone else in need of labeling supplies at the same volume. It is also important for manufacturers and warehouses to work with your RFID equipment suppliers to properly maintain your current readers, avoiding the immediate need for new products. Have you been experiencing problems with labels or readers? Contact us and let us know!. 

Warehouse with conveyor, icons showing different processes

3 Major 3PL Supply Chain Challenges for 2022

2021 was a rough year for everyone, including the product distribution industry. So what does 2022 have in store for the industry now? More problems, of course! Any business involved in product distribution and third-party logistics (3PL) is facing new challenges to get their products to customers in a timely fashion. The general public is still seeing bare shelves in stores and suppliers are struggling to provide inventory to fill the void. Adding new issues to the already ongoing industry problems has been quite a hurdle for manufacturers, warehouses, and retailers alike.

Adding New Problems to Old

Transportation Freight Fright

After taking a hard hit over the past two years, the number of trucks on the road is still not adequate to meet industry demands. Transportation leaders have been working around the clock to increase the number of truck drivers to pre-COVID levels through incentives including sign-on bonuses and other perks. Approximately one million truck drivers will need to be replaced over the next decade according to the American Truck Driver Association’s 2021 Driver Shortage Update. The forecast is based on gender and age, as well as expected freight growth trends in driver demographics. Over the past two years, labor shortages in the shipping industry led to fewer trucks for available distribution methods.

And then there is the unrelenting torrential weather. From tornadoes and unprecedented rains to crippling ice and snow, 2022 has witnessed record-breaking storms and floods that have shut down several regions of the U.S. Making winter months even more challenging, the higher frequency and increasing magnitude of these weather patterns are being seen from coast to coast resulting in additional shipping delays.

Help Wanted

Moving products in the supply chain takes people to make it happen. 2020 worldwide shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic led to millions of people hitting the unemployment line. However, when health restrictions lifted and businesses reopened, many former employees did not go back to their old jobs. This resulted in service, retail, shipping, manufacturing, warehouse, and distribution employment gaps. “The warehouses and distribution centers, those staff were laid off,” said Port of New York and New Jersey deputy Bethann Rooney in a recent Cheddar News article. “They went on unemployment and it’s been very slow to get them back into the workplace,” she added.

To add insult to injury, massive sick-outs are now being felt from the worldwide spread of the Omicron and other emerging variants. All industries have been impacted, leaving businesses with no choice but to rely on overworked skeleton crews or reduce hours of operation. As more and more employees choose to pursue different career paths, commonly referred to as the ‘Great Resignation,’ employers have experienced major gaps in sustainable labor. In an article from The Seattle Times, owner Stewart Leonard Jr. of northeast United States supermarket chain Stew Leonard’s stated, “Everyone is hit with a shortage of labor…Some because of the Great Resignation, but a lot of it is the Omicron surge.”

Pipeline Backup…Again

Although slowly clearing out the backlogs, United States ports are still having problems moving products off the docks. It’s not just about full containers and ships sitting in line at sea anymore. Manufacturers are also playing catch-up and filling backorders while trying to juggle new orders and distribution. Some cities have now shut down factories due to spikes in COVID transmission in China and the United Kingdom, resulting in a reduction of goods imported into the U.S. yet again.

Not everything is doom and gloom. Let Logimax help relieve your stress, with an evaluation of your warehouse management system software today.


Risky Business vs. Risk Management: JIT vs. JIC in the Warehouse

Just-In-Time (JIT) inventory control is well known in the warehouse management industry. Most recently, JIT has become quite a challenge for many industries due to supply chain uncertainty. This has resulted in manufacturing and warehouse distribution paralysis worldwide. Was your company prepared for the crisis? If not, it’s time to consider a Just-in-Case (JIC) approach.

JIT was an effective inventory control method until 2020. Then COVID-19 shook the world, straining the economy and closing down businesses everywhere. Beyond the travel and hospitality industries, schools and hospitals, the pandemic affected manufacturers, logistics, and distributors. The resulting shut-downs left customers with constant low order fill rates and no relief in sight, continuing to this day.

First incorporated by Japanese manufacturing companies in the 1970s, the JIT management strategy aligns raw-material orders from suppliers directly with production schedules. The strategy was then adopted in the U.S. to improve manufacturing, operations, and inventory control. Later, the technique became prevalent in warehouses and distribution centers to improve efficiency and inventory overhead.

Recent supply chain delays have given rise to raw materials and inventory not arriving as scheduled, impacting production capabilities and halting the flow of goods to and from warehouses. While companies are battling to meet order-fill, consider implementing Just-In-Case (JIC) for your 3rd party logistics warehouse (3PL).

What is Just-in-Case?

JIC approaches forecasting from another angle, encompassing careful planning and some risk-taking. According to a December 2021 article by Inbound Logistics, “Businesses are transitioning from Just-in-Time to what has become known as a ‘Just-in-Case’ strategy. Just-in-Case refers to the practice of holding larger amounts of ‘safety’ stock, enabling a company to avoid stockouts.”

While some 3PL warehouses may be wary of taking risks, JIC incorporates risk management. Businesses must rely on their warehouse management system (WMS) software for complete and accurate reporting to provide accurate information to determine which products are, and will remain, in high demand, to prevent excessive shipping delays for the foreseeable future. It’s pretty simple – make the investment now so you can assure better order-fill for your customers.

The idea of JIC goes against lean inventory control in every way since it affects up-front investment, risk management, warehouse space, and inventory overload. At first look, JIC doesn’t seem like an efficient business practice. But does it hurt? If you can meet customer demands by having inventory on hand to meet order fill, it’s a win-win for everyone in the chain. In the end, it provides a competitive advantage to your customers in the marketplace.

If you need help addressing supply chain issues with your WMS software or implementing Just-In-Case inventory control in your warehouse, contact us to find out how Logimax can help!