BY JAMES A. COOKE, EDITOR AT LARGE
going yard with a YMS
bought its YMS as
a scheduling aid.
Now, it’s using
the software to
every aspect of its
IT’S SAFE TO SAY THAT NEARLY ALL YARD MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE (YMS)
purchases are made by companies looking to keep tabs on equipment or handle dock
scheduling. But the fact is, these apps can do much more than that. When used to their
full potential, they have the capacity to streamline virtually any yard- and equipment-related task in a distribution operation. Just ask the folks at Canadian Tire Corp. Ltd.,
one of Canada’s largest retailers.
“The original objective of our YMS was to put in a scheduling solution to increase
door utilization,” says Gary Fast, associate vice president for domestic transportation
operations at Canadian Tire. But once the system was up and running, the company
began finding other uses for the software. “Over the past five years, our YMS has evolved
from an integrated scheduling tool to a business-critical execution tool,” says Fast.
Canadian Tire today uses its YMS for a wide range of distribution tasks, including
oversight of yard operations, providing shipment visibility, and tracking equipment utilization. The result has been a marked increase in trailer throughput at all of the yards
where the software is in place.
PHOTO COURTESY OF CANADIAN TIRE
Putting the software to the test
Based in Toronto, Canadian Tire is one of Canada’s largest publicly traded companies,
reporting $10.3 billion (U.S. dollars) in total retail sales for 2009. Its name notwithstanding, the company is more than a purveyor of tires. It operates about 470 general
merchandise retail stores throughout Canada, selling automotive, home, and leisure
wares. It also owns an apparel retailer, a chain of automotive parts stores, and some
To support its retail operations, Canadian Tire operates four distribution centers—
two in Toronto, one in Montreal, and another in Calgary. (The Toronto-area DCs are
run by Canadian Tire, while the Montreal and Calgary facilities are operated by Genco