The Rise and Rise of Terminal Operating Systems

It’s no secret vessels are getting larger, cargo is becoming more varied and complex, and throughput at ports and terminals is increasing. At the same time, competition is becoming more fierce and customers are demanding more. All of these factors are putting intense pressure on terminal operators to do more, more accurately and more efficiently.

The situation has led an increasing number of operators to seek more control over their business by deploying a terminal operating system (TOS).  A TOS sits at the operational core, allowing a port's complex mix of cargo movements to be handled and controlled more efficiently. It gives the business a competitive edge by providing increased agility along with a boost in productivity across the operator's entire organisation.

In-house or commercial solution?

Any organisation considering deployment of a TOS has two options: develop a solution in-house or purchase a specialised commercial system. 

One of the problems of in-house developments is the exposure to risk.  TOS solutions are often developed by just one or two individuals within the IT department.  If either individual leaves, there is a high risk that essential knowledge about the system – information necessary for its maintenance and further development – will be lost. In these circumstances, how will you deal with the need for system improvement, modifications or interfaces to future applications?

In contrast, commercial TOS vendors continually develop their products to keep pace with changes in technology, legislation and the industry, for without constant improvement, their offerings soon become uncompetitive.

What to consider when selecting a TOS

Just as every terminal has its own requirements, every TOS deployment is different.  The areas you give precedence to will depend on your individual situation. However, one of the best places for any organisation to start is by understanding your current landscape, particularly your business model, people and processes, as well as the part you play in the wider supply chain community.  

Understand your Business Model

If you want a more efficient port and a TOS is key to achieving that, you need to find a solution that really fits your business, rather than attempting to “make do” with a generic TOS.

Major considerations are likely to include the type and volume of cargo you currently handle, the type and size of ships your port can accommodate and your vision and plans for future growth.

Look for flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances. While you may be comfortable with your current situation, market and industry changes could force you to re-evaluate your goals and objectives, causing your business model to adjust accordingly.

Determine functional requirements

Having addressed macro-level business needs, it is time to think about the more functional aspects of your operation.  Consider whether other areas of the business, such as a depot or warehouse within the terminal, could benefit from the functionality provided by a TOS.  Think about the potential for any current or planned use of mobile applications, optical character recognition (OCR) and radio frequency identification (RFID). 

Understanding your business model allows to you to build a clearer picture of your organisation’s current landscape, your vision for the future, and the tools and processes required for success.

Supply Chain

A TOS is not just about your own organisation – it is your entry ticket for involvement in the wider supply chain. There are a variety of stakeholders and areas of interaction where your TOS needs to be the hub of activity and co-ordination. Shipping lines, transport hauliers and customs are just a few examples of the agencies and organisations reliant on clear communications and interactions with your terminal.

Therefore it is essential to check in advance that your TOS is capable of connecting to partner systems and can make the appropriate data available to the relevant decision-makers within the supply chain.

People and Processes

When it comes to processes, don't just think about your current situation.  Be clear about how they may change in the future.

The TOS vendor should be able to assist you with this, as well as provide guidance on the flexibility of the TOS with respect to meeting your requirements. Your aim is to strike the right balance between making changes to the process itself, or customisation of the product, whichever makes the most sense to your organisation.

Never forget that while processes are necessary to drive the business, people are the keys to your success. Any form of change can be unsettling for staff. They need to adapt to new ways of working and deal with uncertainty and disruption to ‘business as they know it’. Involving users as early as possible and providing clear communication about changes will help to mitigate any resistance and increase the likelihood of successful adoption.

Knowledge makes for more successful decisions

Addressing the key elements of business model, people and processes, and your supply chain in advance allows you to build a picture of your current positioning, to pinpoint where you would like to be in the future, and identify the changes you need to make to get there. Armed with this information, you'll be well-equipped to select a system that is scalable enough to grow with your business and the wider supply chain community.

Kaustubh Dalvi is the director of sales for Jade Logistics.

Solving the problems of Big Data

Industries heavily dependent on big logistics have well and truly entered the world of big data.

Nearly every aspect of the logistics, from minute processes in manufacture, through to transport and warehousing and maintenance, all activities are measured, tracked, and stored.

ERP software helps to deal with these issues and gain both a granular and wider view of business operations.

However, due to the mass of data that collection generates, the need for systems that can deal with level of data while providing multiple access points such as mobile and web is high.

Many developments in handling big data are coming from the mining industry, which is at the razors edge of the need for efficiency in all aspects of production and transport.

Rio Tinto’s global business services head Scott Singer explained it has had a number of issues with its digital data management, and the need for cloud and web based applications.

“We generate a huge volume of unstructured data and growth rates are expanding significantly,” Singer said, and "like most companies we are not good at 'hitting the delete key'.”

"Like most businesses we don’t have the core expertise to manage this.”

But this problem doesn’t just affect the majors, from explorers through to mid-level miners as well as their suppliers, all face the issue of dealing with multiple complex business processes throughout a multi-tiered system, with much of it now occurring over many sites all interlinked over the internet.

Dealing with all these factors can cost a business dearly if it not ready or able to adapt to the changing nature of the market.

According to Sage Business Solutions managing director Mike Lorge a recent study carried out by Sage in Europe and North America showed “midmarket companies with improved data accessibility, quality, intelligence, and usability can expect approximately 35 per cent more incremental revenue year over year than lower-performing companies

Sage Business Solutions has recently launched its latest iteration of its SAGE ERP X3 software – version 7 – which “brings flexibility and an entirely redesigned web and mobile experience, giving all employees the information they need wherever they are,” Sage stated, with Lorge adding

Importantly, the program has scalability allowing the response to grow or contract as work progresses, giving businesses more options as they develop projects or wind down certain operations.

Lorge explained: “As companies grow they can lose agility and profitable growth; Sage’s ERP X3 version 7 provides the tools to simplify and speed up the use of information to revive this growth.”

“The primary focus of developing the new version – which is focused predominately on the mid-market space-  was integrating next gen user interfaces; making it web based and device agnostic, and really using the BYOD trend, as we see more consumer trends entering the business software world,” Lorge said.

The new X3 system provides a next generation alternative to Excel spreadsheet systems that many workplaces still use, with the program featuring embedded workflow, integrated businesses intelligence, easy-to-use dashboards, and device independent reporting, which allows for remote access and a BYOD style of operation as well as on site and in the field applications, as it can be used with iOS, Windows phones and most Android devices.

It also allows for global management capabilities, giving operations with multiple sites or global offices, greater integration of workflows.

The software has already been picked up by project and engineering design firm Saitec Australia, which is integrating ERP X3 throughout its business, into its analysis and reporting, financial accounting and management control, and operational management in areas such as production, purchasing, sales, and inventory.

Importantly, it also gives added support in terms of traceability and tracking of compliance and controls, helping businesses to ensure their entire supply chain from start to finish complies to regulations.

Sage Business senior vice president for AAMEA, Keith Fenner, told Australian Mining the new ERP provides a lot of flexibility for businesses.

“For instance, the agility it allows for operators in monitoring and controlling their stocks. As it has an overview of the many different facets of an operation the system can scrape sales, purchasing, and stock information, showing an increased sale of certain parts, compare that against existing stock levels, and that present this upcoming inventory issue,” Fenner said.

“One major miner has adopted it and within 30 days of using X3 for inventory administration they freed up a number of efficiencies, and had a greater visibility as well as better stock/procurement management. On top of this it brought in the concepts of seasonality to their supply chain and provided forecasts for likely demand, which was all based off of existing stock plans.

“These operators are able to now get a granular analysis using X3 version 7, using big data,” he said.

“While most companies can’t change their cost base for operations, with greater visibility they can address efficiency issues and help with stock and IT management.”

This also allows for more predictive, rather than reactive, business decisions and actions.

Lorge added that the latest version of X3 is building the foundation for greater visibility and the ongoing convergence in IT and operational technology currently being seen in Australian industry.

“If you don’t have the right architecture in ERP then your business will find it more difficult to keep up with the changes in compliance and regulation and efficiency developments, you need to get it right at this level otherwise it will add unnecessary cost and delays to operations.

RPM’s latest release of HAULNET makes it easier for miners to significantly reduce haulage costs

Runge Pincock Minarco (RPM) announces the latest release of HAULNET with additional functionalities to simplify the tool’s use for engineers.

RPM’s HAULNET delivers engineers an intelligent tool that can help to dramatically reduce one of the largest costs facing mining operations today – haulage.
Previously, one of the biggest hurdles for engineers to deliver real cost savings has been the effort required to create accurate and usable haulage models. The lack of a dedicated software application for haulage has necessitated a high level of manual intervention to create fully connected networks. This, in turn meant that real in-depth analysis of haulage cost could never be completed. 

HAULNET was developed not only to create this connected network but also to perform the underlying analysis. The latest release has made the haulage network creation process even easier. 
Where previously, users would input their haulage network created in an array of applications into HAULNET for analysis, the new version comes with added functionality to enable users to create their haulage network on the fly. 
The new user interface enables users to quickly and easily build haul networks from scratch. The intuitive application snaps the route to the underlying surface and extends it to join existing roadways, nodes and points of interest; interprets and rationalises the haulage network; autocorrects creation mistakes and smoothens out routes; and removes unnecessary detail that isn’t required to perform an accurate analysis. 
This latest release now sees HAULNET take advantage of 64-bit operating systems allowing for even faster analysis of complex haulage networks. 
HAULNET 2.1 has also added support for the Russian language to meet the needs of their customer base in the Russian and CIS markets. The availability of HAULNET in the local language enables local engineers to use the tool to help reduce one of the largest costs on their mine sites. HAULNET allows them to perform more detailed haulage analysis and in a far shorter timeframe.
HAULNET 2.1 is available as an upgrade for all existing users with valid maintenance contracts.

CALIDUS Total Logistics Software launches in Australia

OBS Logistics has launched its CALIDUS Total Logistics Software System into the Australian market to help third party logistics services companies and wholesale/distribution businesses increase the efficiency of their transport and warehouse operations.

CALIDUS Total Logistics is a comprehensive logistics operational system and includes warehouse management, transport planning and execution, collection and delivery management and supply chain tracking to optimise complex distribution networks by managing orders, inventory and labour from single or multiple control centres.  

The solution is provided with the option of traditional implementation at the client's premises or using a SaaS approach where companies looking to take advantage of lower upfront investment costs can select from a range of managed service options that combine the benefits of cloud computing with the reassurance of a secure hosting facility owned and managed by OBS Logistics.

OBS Logistics works with some of the leading names in logistics across the world and the move into Australia represents the next step in the expansion of its customer base across the globe.   

Chief of OBS Logistics, Dave Renshaw, said launching into the Australian market represented a key milestone for the software provider.  

"Our launch into the Australian market is an exciting move for OBS Logistics. Our CALIDUS Total Logistics suite has been extremely well received here such that we have already secured business, which has led to us establishing ourselves in the region to grow our business further ,"Renshaw said.  

Whether their customer is a logistics company operating contracts for a number of clients, or an in-house logistics operation working on a dedicated base, CALIDUS Total Logistics' provides a range of features for differing applications.  

The fully integrated system was developed using the latest technologies to provide flexibility  to respond to the changing needs of industry and includes features such as electronic proof of delivery, rail container management and voice directed picking.

Stephen McCartney, head of global business development for OBS said the products had been well received in Australia as more companies looked for ways to improve the way they operate.  

"We are finding that there is a real hunger for products which will allow organisations to improve visibility across the whole operation and supply chain, to improve productivity by bringing their organisations onto one platform, but also to be outward looking at customers not just to offer tracking but seeking to offer add services which are supported by systems processes rather than simply pushing more human resource," McCartney said.  

McCartney said CALIDUS is a suite of products which can be deployed as required allowing customers to address specific business needs.

Optimisation and Planning  
CALDIUS TMS not only plans vehicle trips, but optimises them to make better use of driver miles and reduce empty running miles.  Facilities within the software allow for dynamic routing and scheduling through postcode driven routing, calculation of planned arrival and departure times for each trip to stop meet order windows and support for back loading.  While further efficiencies can be found in the allocation of drivers, tractors and trailers to trips, the analysis of collections, deliveries on the same trip and vehicle limit checks during load builds.

In-Cab Communications  

The software provides interfacing in-cab systems and is being used in conjunction with a number of different third party in-cab solutions as well as OBS Logistics' own EPOD solution to better communicate data.  
Features include the ability to synchronise locations and resource master data, download the manifest and trip plan to the in-cab system and the transmittance of execution data including arrival and departure times and locations. While management level monitoring capabilities and KPI monitoring are also available.  

Execution of Trips  

The software is able to manage the execution of trips from loading and dispatch through to final proof of delivery.  Comprehensive information on the outcome of each collection and delivery captures vehicle check information as well as the collection of information from in-cab systems. The recording of time sensitive information such as start, stop, waiting and adherence to booking slots is also available to ensure efficiency is maintained at all times and any issues can be quickly solved.  

Pallet and Equipment Tracking  

Tracking pallets and equipment is essential in minimising the high cost of losses.
CALIDUS is able to define equipment by type and capture quantity and types of equipment delivered and collected at each stop point. Further, the software provides even greater security with its ability to stock balances of pallets and equipment by type for each depot, pick up and drop point.  

Billing Facilities
With an interface connected to businesses internal financial systems, the billing facilities provided represent further productivity gains. Companies are able to bill based on plans, however any changes made during execution will also be reflected in the billing. Miscellaneous invoicing is also available for ad hoc invoices, while invoice production with the option to email via distribution lists is also available. 


Training through the cloud aids the growth of start up logistics firm

UK-based freight forwarder Neon Freight has been able to successfully launch its operations, thanks to flexible payment and training options provided with ediEnterprise through WiseCloud.

ediEnterprise from CargoWise, a global leader in technology solutions for logistics service providers (LSPs) is helping the start-up company provide a comprehensive range of services including air freight, sea freight, customs brokerage, European road freight and warehousing.

Ian Mallon, founder and Managing Director of Neon Freight has been able to minimise his costs and maximise productivity thanks to the sophisticated document management features and on-demand pricing model offered by ediEnterprise through WiseCloud.

Mallon has previously worked for large multinational companies that used their own in-house systems, as well as off-the-shelf technology, but he has not been able to find a system that could compete with ediEnterprise on price, flexibility or ease of use. He plans to continue to access CargoWise through WiseCloud, as it will keep his costs down and also relieve him of the responsibility of backups and updating.

Accessing software training online allows Mallon to flexibly fit training into his existing work and personal commitments. Additionally, CargoWise’s flexibility is also perfect for Neon to meet its expanding needs.

Simon Clark, CargoWise Vice President Business Development for Europe dispels the perception that ediEnterprise is too big for smaller companies since they work with some of the world’s largest logistics companies. Neon Freight’s adoption of ediEnterprise through WiseCloud demonstrates that CargoWise software is an ideal technology for start-up companies. 


Managing the fleet for higher profits

Making optimised business decisions to reduce carbon footprints, reduce costs, save time and improve asset utilisation are important in all fleet management businesses.

Telogis is an American company that provides a cloud-based location intelligence software platform that has the ability to transform the way businesses optimise their mobile assets and critical data.

The Telogis platform was designed to provide mission-critical and actionable information for companies with mobile workforces.

Telogis’ software platform works for companies that require mobile applications, real time work order management, dynamic routing, navigation and telematics for their mobile work force.

Susan Heystee, executive vice president for worldwide sales, says the Telogis platform allows companies to improve their businesses.

“Where we have differentiated is in providing enterprise telematics and location intelligence, routing and progression to really help companies transform their business,” she told Logistics & Materials Handling Magazine.

And with a new push into the oil and gas sector in Australia, Heystee says demand for the software is growing.

“We have several large customers that we are providing the solutions for globally, and Australia is a clear market that they’re pulling us into to deploy these solutions.

“BHP is a large customer of ours in North America and Orica is a large customer for us in Chile.

“We’re being driven by the demand from our enterprise customer,” she explained.

Telogis for Oil & Gas is a comprehensive cloud-based enterprise software suite targeting companies in the oil and gas sector.

The company says the features of the platform can improve driver safety, fuel efficiency, and also addresses specific reporting requirements for powered and nom-powered assets.

The platform monitors a vehicle’s systems and sends instant in-cab alerts for unbuckled seatbelts, aggressive driving, speeding, hard-braking and fast acceleration.

All alerts are assembled into driver safety scorecards and enterprise dashboards so that progress and reporting is made easy.

Alerts can also be sent to managers via SMS or email, making it useful for behaviours that require immediate coaching.

Telogis for Oil and Gas also delivers mobile workforce applications, monitors vehicle idle time, automated off-road mileage, power take off use and total distance driven.

The platform also provides oil and gas companies with the ability to develop and import their existing map layers and track high-value mobile assets to help prevent loss.

“In the area of mining it is supporting additional technologies in geo-spacial, as well as content to be able to bring in all the contents above the mine site and overlay that into the platform so that not only are you looking at clusters of your assets and your vehicles, but it covers many different types of powered assets,” Heystee told LMH.

"An example of that is we’re working with companies in the U.S. to bring in all of their well sites. We are able to verify that a well site has been inspected every day and look at how much time is spent at each site.”

Heystee said these features allow greater visibility into the day-to-day operations of a company’s mobile workforce, with the ultimate goal of reducing costs and improving efficiencies.

“What we do is turn the lights on to those mobile resources and assets by providing visibility on ways to integrate and transform the business,” she said.

“By implementing changes based on what we’re able to measure we can create programs that really drive efficiency, ensure that fuel is optimised, ensure that workers and crews are safe, and integrate those mobile resources much more closely back into the business.

“We work with companies to provide telematics on things like driver safety, and behaviours, and we are able to ensure that vehicles are being routed to a particular job, and that we have the right mix of the fleet to deliver on the jobs being performed.”

Heystee said the new platform will help deliver improvements for the resource industry and their mobile fleets.

“These companies have millions of dollars in mobile resources that are out performing the work of the business,” she stated.

“We are already deployed with Transfield Services here, so we’ve got quite a few customers already that are large enterprise scale fleets.”

President of Telogis Fleet, Jason Koch, said the features of the platform would enable resource companies to deliver driver excellence.

“With the level of expertise earned through years of work with the oil and gas industry, we felt that it was important for Telogis to focus our efforts on addressing the very specific needs of these companies,” he said.

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