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FedEx has done some impressive work streamlining their freight yard operations. An automated system called EDEN, which took two years to develop, has made trailer spotting an intuitive system.

We’ve written before about the importance of keeping the freight yard organized. Hostlers, or “yard mules,” are small but mighty specialty haulers that move loaded trailers around the yard freeing up dock space. But how do they know where to go and when? Forklift drivers, supervisors, and truck drivers must all work together. In a busy freight yard, that is no easy feat.

A 2012 article at Inbound Logistics demonstrated that inefficiencies in yard management added to costs of distributors. Some are charged penalty fees. Other bottlenecks at the docks can result in delivery delays.

FedEx developed technology that allowed them to streamline the process. With the help of an intuitive system called EDEN (Equipment Detection, Event Notification), they’ve been able to shave time and reduce confusion at the docks.

EDEN takes advantage of Internet of Things (IoT) technology, which refers to  “smart” objects linked together via a wireless network. Sensors with GPS in trucks communicate with sensors on dock doors to match incoming loads with availability.

Messages are automatically sent via handheld devices, truck, dock, and office computers to all dock workers, coordinating assignments and schedules. FedEx projects an annual savings of $9 million thanks to a more efficient yard management system.

One element of the success of EDEN has been its ease of use. The system was designed to be intuitively navigated, requiring nothing more than a short video and reference guide. Thousands of workers across hundreds of locations use the system.

Development was an investment and may deter some organizations. Those interested in adopting a similar system are advised to adopt the latest event-driven messaging technology within an architecture that is sturdy and fluid enough to accommodate millions of communications per day.

No matter the technology, it’s only as strong as its implementation and execution. CCC understands the need for an efficient freight yard, which is why spotting is part of our dedicated fleet services. Contact us for more information today.

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