Yard Management Systems utilise smartphone apps
Contributed by Diana Rabanal
As the continuous progress of smartphone technology grows and becomes more mainstream in business applications, it is important to be on top of the newest developments and be up-to-date on what technology your competition is using.
Perhaps no other segment of the U.S. workforce is more reliant on mobile technology than today’s 3.2 million over-the-road truckers. In fact, a survey of transporters confirmed truckers’ growing dependence on mobile phones, apps and wireless services, as nearly 6 in 10 truckers were conducting more of their business through mobile phones last year when compared to 2010, according to data from the popular logistics app, uShip.
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Although we assume that transport and logistics today have evolved into a high-technology industry, there are still a great number of facilities that conduct yard operations manually. Distribution is no longer about moving cargo over road, water or via air from point A to point B. It is now a complex process based on intelligent systems for sorting, planning, routing, and consolidating that supports faster transportation, different transportation modes, fallback scenarios in case of failures, added value services such as time sensitive deliveries, and tracing of assets throughout the supply chain or transport network-all of which can be easily managed by applications installed on an Android smartphone.
A perfect example of this is proven by Exotrac, a company dedicated to offering a high quality product line of innovative Yard Management System (YMS). Exotrac’s newest advancement, YardTrac lite, which is based on Android, combines cutting edge, cloud-based technologies with a turn-key, on-demand software provided as a service (SAAS) and offers cost effective solutions to bring, real-time, current information.
Exotrac’s COO, Jon Donchey, explained, “As the continuous progress of Android technology grows and becomes more mainstream in business applications, Exotrac is utilizing specific adaptations for market driven needs and wants for businesses that aren’t large enough yet for a major roll-out but still desire a cost effective system of accountability.”
One recent convert to the Yardtrac system is Mesko Spotting Services Inc, which has done away with Nextel phones and its IDEN network and switched over to Android phones to operate Exotrac’s Yard Management System. Mesko has seen an immediate difference by getting rid of outdated walkie-talkies, and reports that the switch to Android technology definitely saves time and increases accuracy. Now yard jockeys have the ability to schedule, perform and record several trailer moves with the press of a button. Even more, smartphones are a more cost-effective hardware to purchase, making it a lower cost solution.
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Biden establishes Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force
The US government is to establish a new body with the express purpose of addressing imbalances and other supply chain concerns highlighted in a review of the sector, ordered by President Joe Biden shortly after his inauguration.
The Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force will “focus on areas where a mismatch between supply and demand has been evident,” the White House said. The division will be headed up by the Secretaries of Commerce, Transportation, and Agriculture, and will focus on housing construction, transportation, agriculture and food, and semiconductors - a drastic shortage of which has hit some of the US economy’s biggest industries in consumer technology and vehicle manufacturing.
“The Task Force will bring the full capacity of the federal government to address near-term supply/demand mismatches. It will convene stakeholders to diagnose problems and surface solutions - large and small, public or private - that could help alleviate bottlenecks and supply constraints,” the White House said.
In late February, President Biden ordered a 100 day review of the supply chain across the key areas of medicine, raw materials and agriculture, the findings of which were released this week. While the COVID-19 health crisis had a deleterious effect on the nation’s supply chain, the published assessment of findings says the root cause runs much deeper. The review concludes that “decades of underinvestment”, alongside public policy choices that favour quarterly results and short-term solutions, have left the system “fragile”.
In response, the administration aims to address four key issues head on, strengthening its position in health and medicine, sustainable and alternative energy, critical mineral mining and processing, and computer chips.
Support domestic production of critical medicines
- A syndicate of public and private entities will jointly work towards manufacturing and onshoring of essential medical suppliers, beginning with a list of 50-100 “critical drugs” defined by the Food and Drug Administration.
- The consortium will be led by the Department of Health and Human Services, which will commit an initial $60m towards the development of a “novel platform technologies to increase domestic manufacturing capacity for API”.
- The aim is to increase domestic production and reduce the reliance upon global supply chains, particularly with regards to medications in short supply.
Secure an end-to-end domestic supply chain for advanced batteries
- The Department of Energy will publish a ‘National Blueprint for Lithium Batteries’, beginning a 10 year plan to "develop a domestic lithium battery supply chain that combats the climate crisis by creating good-paying clean energy jobs across America”.
- The effort will leverage billions in funding “to finance key strategic areas of development and fill deficits in the domestic supply chain capacity”.
Invest in sustainable domestic and international production and processing of critical minerals
- An interdepartmental group will be established by the Department of Interior to identify sites where critical minerals can be produced and processed within US borders. It will collaborate with businesses, states, tribal nations and stockholders to “expand sustainable, responsible critical minerals production and processing in the United States”.
- The group will also identify where regulations may need to be updated to ensure new mining and processing “meets strong standards”.
Partner with industry, allies, and partners to address semiconductor shortages
- The Department of Commerce will increase its partnership with industry to support further investment in R&D and production of semiconductor chips. The White House says its aim will be to “facilitate information flow between semiconductor producers and suppliers and end-users”, improving transparency and data sharing.
- Enhanced relationships with foreign allies, including Japan and South Korea will also be strengthened with the express proposed of increasing chip output, promoting further investment in the sector and “to promote fair semiconductor chip allocations”.