Setting up a Successful and Efficient Yard Management Program with Frito Lays’ Mari Roberts

Implementing technology projects may not always be as easy as we think for bigger companies. Take it from Frito-Lay which just recently rolled out their yard management system. While it took them a while to find companies that can scale to their needs, the effort seems to be paying off now.

In our podcast episode with Mari Roberts, Vice President for Transportation at Frito Lay, we discussed their vision for their yard management solution and how they successfully set it up.



Things to consider when implementing a yard management program

With all the challenges faced by the global supply chain, having a robust yard management system gives any business a clear and streamlined overview of the operations of all its facilities, warehouses, and distribution centers.

Roberts shared some of the key questions it helps answer:

  • What does our load readiness look like?
  • How many loads are ready for pickup?
  • How many loads are completed and have not been picked up either by a company’s own internal private fleet or by a third-party carrier?
  • How can we leverage that visibility to become a better shipper and to be a shipper of choice?

Here are the top requirements Frito-Lay looked for when they started their yard management solution:

  • Visibility and the ability to integrate the technology you’re already using. Have a clear inventory of what’s in your yard as well as the options in terms of checking in and checking out.
  • Ability to optimize the yard moves. Whether you call it hostler centers, yard jockeys, or yard dogs, it’s all about optimizing the moves within the yard and in and out of all the dock doors.
  • Integration of track and trace technology. With all the variables you encounter everyday, having a live track and trace integrated into your yard management system will show you not only what was planned to come in, but what was also scheduled to come in.

For those who are planning to set up their own yard management system, Roberts advised, “ You really have to stay focused on what is the true base functionality that you need. And then what are some of the nice to haves or maybe some of the future enhancements that you may look to add on later down the road.”

She also emphasized the importance of ensuring that all key stakeholders are involved right at the onset of the project. Make sure that they understand the need for the solution, what the objectives are, and the role of everyone.

“Make sure you’re engaging all of your key stakeholders and keeping your employees right along there with you and making sure they’ve got a voice in that. Because you’ll be amazed by what you learn from them. They are the people that do the job every day, right? So we don’t expect a system to come in and be able to outthink them on day one,” she said.

Tune in to Down to Freight podcast, where we sit down with transportation, logistics, supply chain, and warehousing subject matter experts to discuss the Digital Transformation Project.

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