Manhattan Expands Solution Capabilities with Unified Yard Management

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By Ryan Wiggin | 3Q 2023 | IN-7017

Manhattan is expanding its Manhattan Active Supply Chain platform with a deeper focus on the yard, with a low- to no-fee add-on of the Yard Management System (YMS) for existing Warehouse Management System (WMS) and Transport Management System (TMS) users. The focus on unification speaks to an industry still seeking end-to-end network visibility and system interoperability.

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Driving Yard Digitalization with Established User Network


Supply chain management is built on a network of systems that aim to provide visibility and control of their respective areas. Each system provides an organization with insight into the inventory and resources that are passing through and operational, whether that be in a warehouse, in-transit, or in a yard. Therefore, achieving the elusive “end-to-end” visibility requires piecing together each adjacent system, with effective interoperability.

The varying maturity of each management system in the supply chain indicates that most organizations have not adopted a system to cover every area, creating “dark spots” where inventory is not tracked and resources are not optimized. According to a technology usage study conducted by Logistics Management in 2020, on average, less than 10% of U.S. organizations had deployed a Yard Management System (YMS), much lower than the uptake of both Warehouse Management Systems (WMSs) and Transport Management Systems (TMSs) at around 80%. System effectiveness also remains limited when kept isolated. Without signals being passed from transport, to yard, to warehouse, and vice versa, operations are unable to proactively plan resources, keeping each node in a reactive state without the ability to dynamically optimize goods flow.

Manhattan, well known for its leading WMS and TMS solutions, is tackling this with a focus on unification. The Manhattan Active Supply Chain platform is an enterprise-wide solution that unifies WMS, TMS, YMS, Warehouse Execution System (WES) and automation, modelling, labor management, procurement, slotting, and fleet management. For an existing user of its WMS, Manhattan’s YMS can now be adopted at no extra cost, or for users of the TMS, the YMS can be added for a small fee. In an industry where organizations are trying to stitch various digital solutions together and certain management systems remain nascent in comparison to established management systems, Manhattan’s approach offers a simplified approach to unlock each area’s full capabilities.

Benefits of Unification


Manhattan’s unification approach that includes YMS within its Manhattan Active Supply Chain suite unlocks some key capabilities for an end user’s operations on top of the standard YMS functionalities:

  • Stock Keeping Unit (SKU)-Level Visibility In-Yard: With information relayed from the TMS to the YMS, users can see which truck is holding what inventory down to SKU-level, providing granular visibility and optimizing trailer allocation based on product priority for the warehouse.
  • Live Trailer Interleaving: Rather than having dedicated dock doors for lives and drops, the insights from the TMS and YMS allow for dynamic planning of door selection, maximizing the use of dock doors and increasing throughput.
  • Optimized Put-away Travel: With unification of the WMS, the YMS can allocate trailers to doors that are closest to where the product needs to be put away in the warehouse based on the trailer’s combination of SKUs and quantities.
  • Flow-through Trailer Utilization: Identifies which trailers have the highest percentage of goods for cross docking to optimize allocation and smooth warehouse picking.
  • Detention and Demurrage Fee Avoidance: Leverages information from the TMS to identify the carriers that trailers in the yard are assigned to, alerting users of which equipment needs to be returned before fees are imposed.

Manhattan’s platform has included yard management capabilities for a while, but recently, there is a much deeper focus on YMS functionalities and the opportunities this creates for the wider Manhattan Active platformy. This focus from a supply chain software powerhouse further exemplifies the growing investment in YMSs, a market that ABI Research forecasts will reach US$3.2 billion in revenue globally by 2030. Similar developments have been seen recently with Blue Yonder focusing resources on developing its standalone YMS solution built on the Luminate platform, and FourKites, which is leveraging its 2020 acquisition of TrackX Holdings Inc. to develop its Dynamic Yard offering.

These companies are gaining market traction primarily through their existing customer base, leveraging established global partnerships and existing WMS/TMS users looking to expand coverage. On the other side of the market sits the more dedicated YMS vendors, including C3 Solutions, Kaleris, Yard Management Solutions, and YardView, which are finding their traction with companies that may not hold enterprise-wide software partnerships, don’t require WMS/TMS solutions, or have more specific operational requirements.

Edge Over Stanalone Solutions


With each supply chain management system having gone through varying phases of development and adoption as supply chains have slowly digitalized, many companies have been left with a mismatch of systems serving different areas. For the standalone YMS vendors, this opens a clear opportunity. It is common for organizations to stick with the systems they have always operated, as replacing old systems can be labor intensive, costly, and cause disruption to operations. Standalone systems can slot easily into an organization’s existing network, delivering digital yard functionalities without the need for companies to conduct enterprise-wide changes. This not only provides greater accessibility to companies, but also dedicated expertise from companies that are well versed in the certain operational nuances and challenges of such a specific industry area.

This can be an effective option for many, but a heavy focus on industry standard Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), flat file transfers, Business Intelligence (BI) connectors, and dedicated integration teams to ensure seamless integration with wider business processes is critical to success. If each system is then operated by different vendors, the mismatch of systems can create a mismatch of functionalities, limiting the capabilities of each individual system and, therefore, the entire network. Full package platforms like Manhattan Active Supply Chain remove any concern from end users that systems may update and change at different rates, with a guarantee of cross-functionality continuity.

ABI Research is seeing steady investment in yard management solutions combined with an industry still seeking uninterrupted network visibility, so the Manhattan Active platform is positioned well for future growth. Existing users are easy wins for new system rollouts, but the focus on unification is likely to draw in customers seeking a one-stop shop for supply chain management software and a guarantee of system interoperability.

Continued success of any software solution is resting more and more on how well it can also coordinate the growing adoption of automated equipment. This has been well established in the warehouse space, with a maturing Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR), Autonomous Guided Vehicle (AGV), and Automated Storage & Retrieval System (AS/RS) market that has given rise to the integration of WESs. Yard automation remains nascent, but growing investment and Proof of Concept (PoC) projects (outlined in a recent ABI Insight, “Autonomous Yard Trucks Are Attracting Strong Investment, but Yards May Not Be Ready for Widespread Deployment”) signal a need for YMSs and connecting systems to consider how coordination of automated equipment can be executed. Asset tracking solutions are also becoming more diverse, with AI-enabled machine vision solutions, fleet telematics, and increasingly granular Internet of Things (IoT) connections gaining increasing traction. Systems that can effectively integrate these solutions and remain adaptable to a changing hardware market will be go-to choices for end users. Vendors should consider strategic technology and deployment-based partnerships to support in this area, along with support for global rollouts.



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