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The Power of Analytics

By: / Thu Sep 22 21:14:29 GMT 2016

Perhaps the biggest barrier for business intelligence and data analytics in the general supply chain and in particular the container terminal environment is not a lack of data itself, but the inability for terminal personnel to access, analyze and apply the data in meaningful ways. The collection and use of data in container terminals today can be manual, slow,labor-intensive and error-prone. According to the TechValidate June survey conducted with Navis customers, 28% of terminals are still using Microsoft Excel spreadsheets to analyze data in their operations – while another 28% are using no tool at all. Additionally, 53% have questions about, and lack confidence in the quality of the data that they are relying on.
Yet as margins continue to shrink and carriers continue to call for improved productivity and reduced vessel turn-times, a growing number of terminals are warming up to the idea that technology-backed data insights can inform, and in some cases, predict events that impact short- and long-term operations. This includes everything from improving operational visibility across the global supply chain to understanding when and where terminal delays occurred, what caused them and how both operations and customers were impacted over time.
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Furthermore, terminals will inevitably be challenged to keep pace with other members of the supply chain community that are more mature on the BI spectrum.
As the industry at large calls for greater collaboration and information-sharing—particularly between terminal operators and ocean carriers to achieve higher levels of productivity—the ability to capture, analyze and transmit information quickly and accurately becomes critical. The bottom line is that it is hurting productivity. According to the TechValidate Survey, 44% of respondents estimate they are losing anywhere between 10-24% productivity and 13% are losing at least 25% productivity due to inaccurate or insufficient data analysis.
The Value of KPIs in Container Terminal Operations
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) provide visibility and insights into how well (or not) companies are meeting important business goals. With container terminals in particular, their use is both critical and constantly-evolving based on changing industry factors. In the past, common KPIs focused on overall terminal TEU throughput and vessel turn-time. Today, with advanced technologies and automated processes, a lot more data is available that can measure key performance indicators at all levels of the terminal’s operation.
The operational peaks and valleys brought on by the arrival of larger ships enhance pressures to cut costs and improve productivity. In order to maintain a competitive advantage, timely access to data and their application against key performance indicators is critical. Having the right tool to provide comprehensive and agile analytics can deliver valuable insights that unlock the value of TOS data to help improve decision-making, ultimately increasing productivity and reducing costs as added benefits.
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Analytics-based KPIs can be used to provide insights into operations to:
Improve decision making by using historical data to identify failures and take corrective actions in the future. Post vessel departure analysis is an excellent example.

Provide terminal management visibility into critical KPI’s to understand overall terminal performance. Increase visibility into yard operations, by blocks and CHE productivity by work area, to measure asset performance with the goal that the assets are effectively deployed, expedite the movement of containers in the yard, reduce rehandles and associated costs.

Measure truck turnaround time and use historical data to predict peaks and valleys during the day to help plan resources (equipment and human) to match customers (shipping lines and beneficial cargo owners) demands based on volume, freight type, category, and dwell-time to understand the impact on operations and in some cases start discussions to revisit the contract.
Your Future Informed
Data-driven insights have the power to help the collective ocean shipping industry overcome its biggest challenges, and at the same time, capitalize on the vast market opportunities ahead. Imagine a world where operational efficiency at container terminals is improved so that even mega vessels can be serviced seamlessly; where historical data can predict future events; where operations and machine data integrate to maximize the machine lifecycle (reducing maintenance and replacement costs); and where operations are visually managed through dashboards and interactive kiosks. These are just a few of the many possibilities that innovative BI tools can provide.
To learn more about the work Navis is doing in the areas of data management and business intelligence, visit

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