How to Successfully Transition from Pen & Paper to a YMS

How to Successfully Transition from Pen & Paper to a YMS
Photo by Brian Stalter on Unsplash

This article will help you understand some of the best practices for YMS implementation so you can transition as smoothly as possible.

Benefits of Using a Yard Management Software

Yard operations is a fast-paced environment with lots of moving parts. You may have a well-oiled operation, but how agile is your process when challenges arise? Yard management software (YMS) solutions exist to keep movements flowing efficiently, even when things get tricky. So, ditch the pen and paper and see how a solution like Gatego can level-up your yard operations.

If you’ve ever thought, “I wish there were two of me,” as you multitask and manage operations, then a yard management software solution can be your greatest ally. With benefits like real-time insight into yard movements, the software gives you more time and a second set of eyes to keep operations moving smoothly.

The software can even flag problem areas you may not be aware of, allowing your team to proactively manage operation weaknesses. In turn, you’ll begin to improve efficiencies. For example, log all your movements rapidly with autofill and have complete visibility of your assets to avoid repeated yard checks. When you have access to real-time data to monitor and manage yard operations, yard managers can save both time and company resources.

These efficiencies mean fewer hiccups in your workflow, and even in the event of a problem, the software helps you stay ahead of trailer and truck issues with fast issue logging and asset condition transparency, enabling you to solve them quickly before they become major complications. The use of software also means less likelihood of human error. So, you can confidently use the resources in your yard management system, knowing you’ll be making educated decisions with real-time data.

How to Implement a Yard Management Software

The evidence proves you need yard management software, but now you may be wondering how to get started. Before you begin a full implementation, make sure the leaders in your organization all understand the new software capabilities. Schedule a demo with us to maximize the team’s understanding of the platform.

Step One: Develop a Timeline and Implementation Plan

Preparing for YMS setup means developing a clear plan of action. First, evaluate your current pen and paper operations. Recognize what data points need to be converted and what process flows need to be set up. Then, work with us to ensure the yard management software has all the correct form fields and workflows. You should account for a fast gate check-in process, inventory across all yards and carriers, and issue reporting functionality.

Once your plan articulates the software needs and expectations, you can develop the timeline. Within your timeline, set target dates for the completion of software development and data conversion, release dates for communication, power user training and all staff training, the go-live date, and then the evaluation timeframe.  

Step Two: Develop a Communication Plan

You must plan to inform all stakeholders – including staff, vendors, and customers about your software conversion. Communication will keep everyone informed about new expectations, the benefits of the conversion, and the go-live date.

Step Three: Allocate Staff Resources

Develop “power users” who fully understand the paper-to-electronic conversion process. After receiving training from the software providers, the power users will conduct staff training. Additionally, power users should be assigned to work on-site during each shift. Having a power user nearby to troubleshoot challenges will comfort the rest of the yard staff during the transition process.

Step Four: Conduct Staff Training

This leads to step four. User training for YMS is essential to help everyone smoothly transition from the pen-and-paper process to the software adoption. Your company’s power users will train the rest of the staff.

It will be comforting to staff to have familiar faces leading the transition. In fact, having leaders and respected staff engaged in the transition process will create buy-in from all staff, making the transition easier.

All training requirements should be completed before the software goes live and the transition is complete. Giving everyone advance training will make it easier for all staff to feel supported and prepared for the new protocols and expectations.

Step Five: Go Live and Evaluation

Ok, the software is deployed, and the staff is trained. It’s time to go live. On the day you go live, plan a lighter schedule of movements to give your team time to get acclimated. Have more than one power user on standby to assist with challenges. And plan a celebration at the end of the day to reward staff for a successful initial transition.

Of course, on day one, the work has just begun. So keep the power users on standby for staff for the coming weeks. Check in with staff to verify that the software performs as expected and inquire about confusion or frustration with software management. Recognize that it may be necessary to retrain staff on portions of the software if needed, so have time allocated for additional training opportunities.

It won’t take long for staff to get acclimated. As you evaluate your team’s progress, you will be able to determine when staff competence is high. Once the trailer yard is operating efficiently with the new software, you can move training to an onboarding requirement or annual review. It’s also ideal to still do a yearly evaluation to gauge staff satisfaction with the software and workflow processes. Your willingness to engage staff feedback will help your company continue to recognize efficiencies and maintain employee engagement.

Staff Support During Yard Management Software Implementation

Software adoption can feel overwhelming for staff. Ensure your teams feel supported during the transition. Consider ways to energize your company culture during the implementation and transition. Increase employee recognition. Set team goals and celebrate milestones or accomplishments. And stay attuned to employee needs so that the company leaders can manage the emerging needs of staff.

Successful YMS Integration

You'll reap the benefits of improved productivity and efficiency when you have successfully integrated your yard management software solution into your operations. So, what are you waiting for? Choose a trusted partner, like Gatego, and take control of your yard with an easy-to-use platform built with your business in mind.