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Check Call: Warehouse yard improvements

Warehouse yards the easiest thing to automate in the supply chain

Check Call the Show. News and Analysis for 3PLs and Freight Brokers.

On this week’s episode of Check Call, Andrew Smith, CEO at Outrider, joins FreightWaves host Mary O’Connell to dive into all things tech innovation and integration.

Key quotes from Smith:

“Not only are you directly addressing some of those repetitive tasks in the yard, but by having a better understanding of where trailers need to be, you’re reducing congestion at the gate so you’re saving the time and the painful process of the trucks coming in and out of the yard. You’re streamlining work inside the warehouse by putting the right trailer at the right place at the right time.”

“It’s finding and retaining the people to do the work and work all the shifts. It’s enhancing the safety of the yards. You’re using these big robotic machines, rather than having people getting in and out of trucks connecting trailers to yard equipment. Essentially, we’re able to confirm locations of trailer assets in our yard in real time and enter that into a warehouse manager or a yard management system to have perfect knowledge of the assets.”

“When visiting warehouse yards, I realized I saw big idling diesel trucks with people leaning out the window looking for trailers, doing short moves of trailers around the yard. It was a perfect place for autonomy, but you really had to automate the vehicle.”

“Just think about how many doors 3PLs have knocked off in yards when a trailer sideswipes another one. Now you’ve got a robot with precision doing that move rather than an untrained, exhausted driver.” 


“One thing that a lot of our 3PLs are working on is people spending a lot of time opening and shutting swing doors, specifically yard jockeys or over-the-road operators. Across the board, all our large enterprise customers and 3PLs that have their own facilities, they’re putting in what are called drive-thru dock doors, which allow the door opening on the inside. That means nobody has to get out, walk to the back of the trailer, open the doors, etc. There’s other techniques we have to deal with, either retrofitting doors or we’re using robotics or using software to have people open the swing doors out in the yard. That’s a big place people are investing in in order to streamline their future operations as they think about building new facilities.”

Got any pain points or things you wish were better in the supply chain and the world of transportation? Contact O’Connell to be on a future episode of Check Call.

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Mary O'Connell

Former pricing analyst, supply chain planner, and broker/dispatcher turned creator of the newsletter and podcast Check Call. Which gives insights into the world around 3PLs and Freight brokers. She will talk your ear off about anything and everything if you let her. Expertise in operations, LTL pricing and procurement, flatbed operations, dry van, tracking and tracing, reality tv shows and how to turn a stranger into your new best friend.