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Recent supply chain disruption due to Covid has shown a significant impact on the transportation business as well. Transportation operators faced a sudden change in revenue.

However, the growing pressure to mitigate the logistic challenges has been seeing a silver lining through the “Power-only Drop-trailer" solution, which is one of the accelerating trends in the transportation domain and has been in the making for years. Collaboration and planning among stakeholders are crucial though.

With the concept implemented in place, the shippers benefit from efficiency and flexibility while carriers get increased productivity.

Concept overview

Power-Only Truck (Active MTr in SAP TM /  Prime TU in SAP Yard Logistics)

In a power-only move,

  1. A truck/tractor arrives at a shipper’s facility

  2. guided to find a preloaded trailer

  3. picks it up

  4. drives away to the next destination

No waiting for a dock appointment or sitting through a tedious live loading. Similarly, at the destination, the trailer is dropped in the yard or the dock for further unloading and the truck moves out immediately for the next trip or destination.

The Shippers can execute preloading of containers/trailers thus avoid any delays while waiting for a truck and execute site operation planning with better control. Shippers also get to benefit from the additional space in the warehouse as preloaded trailers wait in the yard.

With very little time wasted in loading and unloading processes, the carriers utilize the driver’s service fully. More on the road, least in the yard for a better RoI.

Challenges & Opportunities

For a typical transportation and logistics service provider, the challenges in implementing Power-only & Drop trailer solution should be connecting and separating the trailer and the tractor while ensuring efficient tracking & matching the demand.

Having known the benefits of the Power-only Drop-trailer, the practical implementation will need precise information exchange between the stakeholders, something like BLOCKCHAIN of logistics information for multiple partners. The setup could have an immediate application on a case-to-case basis, for example, a large transport & warehousing service provider having its own yard hubs and a considerably large fleet to mitigate the demand across the region.

Truck TU loaded with Trailer TU and two container TUs for sequential loading or unloading controlled by SAP Yard Logistics

System Solutions

With the advent of such concepts, it is compelling to have system solutions robust enough to work in sync with each other. The SAP Transportation Management (TM) helps plan this setup efficiently and it has been being widely adopted in the current scenario. Means of Transport Combination concept with the trailer as passive MTr will be used to map the Power-only Drop-trailer solution.

Apart from the planning of transportation, handling of these MTrs in the yard is equally important and this aspect was not the area of interest until recent times. In parallel to continuously improving transportation technology, the technological advances in yard management are proving to be accelerators for the transport and logistics businesses. The SAP Yard Logistics is a leading & powerful solution to handle yard movements of the tractor, trailer, and containers maintaining a seamless logistics process integration. Being an SAP product, the integration with SAP’s native digital supply chain solutions is an added benefit for the clients looking at a most efficient SAP ecosystem.

SAP Yard Logistics - The innovative solution for smart yards

The importance of yard management has been recently being looked upon as an area of improvement. While organizations have made significant investments in managing their transportation and warehouse assets using transportation and warehouse applications, without real-time, accurate truck/trailer and shipment status information across their facilities, they cannot gain full value for these technology investments.

Transportation delays take place not only on the road but also while the assets are still in yards at distribution centers (DCs) and manufacturing plants. For instance, delays can mean production downtime for manufacturing operations, product spoilage if handling perishable goods, lost opportunities caused by stock-out for retailers, or credibility issues with carriers and customers.

Less monitored yard operations can lead to inefficiencies such as

  • Lack of clear visibility of empties to meet pick-up schedules

  • Delayed shipments to and from the warehouse

  • Lack of shipment and tractor/trailer visibility needed for efficient shuttling between pick-up and drop locations(e.g. plant and distribution centers)

  • Miscommunications Or delay in communication due to manually instructed movements

  • Traffic at the gate due to lack of appointment management

  • Demurrage or detention charges or truck driver detention

  • Higher cost due to handling of trailers for dedicated operations

  • Safety and compliance violations

Since yards are the intersection between warehouses and transportation, they are a critical linkage in logistics management practices and have a significant impact on the overall efficiency of the supply chain. For these reasons, designing yard management for efficiency is vital to business success.

At a high level, the SAP Yard logistics provides below key features

  1. Seamless Integration with existing SAP ecosystem (ERP, TM, EWM, DAS)

  2. Accurate planning of inbound and outbound operation with the precise identification of each step and object (TU, yard location) through yard orders and appointments

  3. Self Check-In Or Manual Check-in Or Automated Check-in (Advanced IoT scenarios)

  4. Entry, Exit, or process-specific questionnaire for the operators to ensure the perfect execution of yard activities

  5. Stacking and location determination rules

  6. Printing, SMS, Email, Alert functionality for various purposes

  7. Exception based overriding of system decision by the operator

  8. Scenario specific Quality checks and critical parameter measurements for yard transportation units

  9. Billing measurements and analytics

The 3D live visualization and visual screen control of yard movements to initiate physical object movements through electronic instructions on mobile devices of operators make the yard operations efficient enough for quick response to yard situations.

The same electronic instructions can be completely system-controlled based on the rules designed for the specific kind of inbound or outbound operations.
Sample Container ICD Setup

3D Yard Visualization: A feature loaded with ample controls to plan, initiate, stop and monitor all yard movements through a control room. "Always have a right view of what's going on now!!"


Mobile device-based console for yard instructions and operator confirmation of completed activities along with "picture taking" capability


Apart from the standard features, technologies like LPR camera integration for auto verification & check-in through integrated boom barrier, RFID passive tag tracking for a container depot are some of the futuristic solutions which can be deployed through integration with SAP Yard Logistics to eliminate the manual controls.

With many other important and futuristic features, SAP Yard Logistics stands to be a very powerful holistic solution to eliminate any yard bottlenecks and accelerate yard management in multiple business domains.

Time to reimagine your yard processing with this cross-industry, flexible, scalable, and innovative solution!!!


The following diagram explains a specific SAP Yard Logistics inbound step-by-step demo process flow for the deposit of container, trailer, and power-only truck/tractor in the yard.

**The Follow-up blog will cover the demo execution of the Power-only Drop-trailer concept in Yard logistic mobile solution with live updates in the 3d visualization.


Blog Conclusion

As transportation and logistics business owners or consultants, I hope all readers of this blog are now more convinced about the importance of SAP Yard Logistics for optimizing the supply chain.

I am sure many of you would start analyzing it as a tool to boost your yard operations.

Appreciate your feedback for further productive content publishing or consulting. Stay tuned for further stuff on this topic.
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