Market Demand for Yard Management Technologies Is Heating Up

This resource delves into some of the best practices for providing yard management technology solutions and adopting these technologies in enterprise operations.

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Market Overview

  • Despite hitting a slowdown, growth in the number of yards (distribution centers, storage warehouses, manufacturing facilities, and rail hub yards) is expected across all regions, with the development and new construction of facilities and their adjacent yards continuing over the assessed period.
  • By 2030, ABI Research forecasts 6.52 million yards worldwide, up from 5.8 million in 2023.
  • In addition to the growth in physical yards, yard digitalization is also expected to grow over the forecast period. Global Yard Management System (YMS) revenue is forecast to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 28.1%, reaching US$3.2 billion by 2030. North America will continue to take the lion’s share of spending on YMSs, but growth rates remain relatively uniform across all regions—Europe (25.9%), Latin America (25.9%), the Middle East & Africa (31.2%), North America (28.2%), and Asia-Pacific (31.1%).
  • Investment in standalone YMS and yard module offerings with existing software packages is expected to drive revenue growth, and the emergence of cloud-based systems is expected to broaden access to system offerings, adding even further growth opportunities for YMS adoption.
  • High investment from manufacturers in YMSs will continue to be driven by the need to manage a vast network of suppliers and deliver visibility for outdoor parts storage.
  • And in a recent FourKites YMS usage survey, retail and food & beverage companies were among the highest adopters of YMSs in North America, with over 26% of companies, on average, across both verticals having adopted a YMS. The frequency and complexity of the distribution in these industries, as well as the sensitivity of temperature-controlled loads, have been key drivers.

“Market demand for yard technologies is beginning to gather steam, with large software providers offering yard management modules; standalone Yard Management System (YMS) vendors increasing industry presence; track and trace solutions ranging from Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) to Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled cameras being increasingly deployed; and growing investment in autonomous yard trucks bringing solutions closer to commercial availability.” – Ryan Wiggin, Industry Analyst at ABI Research


Key Decision Items

Partnerships with Terminal Operators Can Provide Access to Market for Trials and First Adopters

Given the nascency of autonomous equipment in yard environments, a helping hand when finding immediate use cases and smoothing the transition into the market is to partner with operators that can advise and support the rollout into areas of yard operations that are more suited to autonomous or unmanned support. Conducting trials with industry partners can also help smooth adoption concerns and identify issues prior to rollout.

Ensure Standardized System Integration That Facilitates Interoperability with Warehouse Management Systems (WMSs) and Transport Management Systems (TMSs)

The adoption of a YMS typically comes after the adoption of WMS and TMS solutions, meaning standalone YMS solutions or YMS modules must have standardized protocols to work directly with existing systems. A YMS will only provide a Return on Investment (ROI) in terms of supply chain visibility if data can be transferred seamlessly between the transport, yard, and warehouse.

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Operating Cloud-Based Systems Can Open Adoption to Smaller Organizations and Allow Better Data Sharing

Investment in yard digitalization has predominantly come from large organizations, with smaller organizations still relying on manual processes due to less available capital and lower yard complexity. Offering cloud-based yard management solutions and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) can remove both the high upfront costs and the need for on-premises Information Technology (IT) infrastructure required to support system adoption, expanding solutions’ addressable markets.

Now, we’ll take a look at some strategic recommendations for end users of yard digitalization technologies.

Scope Your Yard Digitalization Intentions and Be Clear on Operational Needs

Every yard environment is different, and being clear on current pain points is essential for choosing the right systems and technologies to adopt to ensure guaranteed ROI. Build metrics prior to implementation and set targets for after the adoption.

Collaborate with Drivers and Yard Workers to Identify the Opportunities and Ensure Smooth Adoption

Ensuring that people using the new digital yard tools are 100% onboard with the process is critical to rollout success, and tapping into their expertise can also help identify where the adoption of new technologies is best placed. Effective training must also be implemented to ensure the best use of any new systems and maximize the benefits.

Use Both Active and Passive Tracking Solutions

With the visibility of assets at the heart of most yard issues, implementing tracking of trailers and equipment is crucial for effective management. Active tracking tags that provide live location feeds should be considered for equipment and trailers continuously on the move, but passive tags that are scanned by yard jockeys and are mostly stationary can be a cheaper alternative for certain assets. Identify what is most crucial to track and deploy tracking solutions accordingly to keep costs down.

Key Market Players to Watch

Dig Deeper for the Full Picture

For a more comprehensive overview of the latest yard management challenges, technological solutions, market forecasts, and vendor profiles, download ABI Research’s Yard Management Technology Trends report.

If you’re not ready for the report yet, you might find it useful to read the following Research Highlights covering our Supply Chain Management & Logistics Research Service: