Improving communication and collaboration for the entire port ecosystem through process automation, process monitoring and real-time information
The project at a glance
Initial situationAs digitalisation advances, it is becoming increasingly important not only to digitalise the plants and the machinery of ports, but also to onboard and involve the people of the entire port ecosystem in the process. This is because the ports’ business processes are, like in other sectors, rapidly developing towards e-business, that is, towards paperless digital processes and e-commerce, especially in the form of e-ordering and e-payment.
Our customer in Odessa / Ukraine also faced this challenge. The existing terminal operation system (TOS) was primarily aimed at operationally managing the movement and storage of various types of cargo within and around the port. However, it did not cover all the necessary business processes, nor were operations transparent and traceable for all users, such as freight forwarders, customs clearance, logistics providers, etc. However, moving and storing cargo are at the core of terminal operations.
The ensuing problems have created a strong need to provide the port community with a modern, user-friendly system. It was to digitally cover all existing business processes as well as the exchange of information and documentation between the terminal, the customers and all other stakeholders, and to provide all users with reliable, transparent and free access.
Our customer’s goal was therefore to introduce a terminal communication system (TCS), which, in combination with the existing terminal operation system (TOS), would cover the missing but much-needed process-related part, act as a terminal web shop for customers and also provide all relevant information for the port community, transparently and in real time. This new system was also intended to achieve a further objective: namely, the switch from paper-based documentation to digitalised processes.
ImplementationThe customer decided to use the compacer edbic platform as a B2B integration platform. As a first step, this enabled them to integrate all of the heterogeneous and previously autonomous application systems such as their ERP, TOS and other administrative systems of the port ecosystem onto one platform in a process-oriented manner. As a second step, the new terminal communication system (TCS) was integrated into the edbic platform.
This newly created e-business integration platform now acts as a central “data hub” for our customer, their applications and the entire port community. It ensures the exchange of data between all integrated systems and has become the core of all operational and logistical flows. The business integration cluster edbic creates traceable automated business processes with improved data quality through central monitoring and reporting capabilities, test logics and a range of warning and alarm functions. All of this improves our customer’s data quality and transparency and streamlines their communication with shipping companies, customs authorities, freight forwarders and other partners, ultimately reducing costs.
Examples for cost savings• Networking the new terminal communication system as a client web portal with the existing terminal operation system now allows users to access detailed data in real time, makes all terminal-related processes transparent and thus creates closer cooperation between the port operator and its customers. The service hotline experienced an 80% drop in calls and many questions are now a thing of the past. Data integrity is guaranteed by, among other things, a change approval at field level: This means that our customers can always trace who has changed certain data and even who is allowed to change what.
• By connecting the administrative systems, so-called port authority systems, to the edbic integration platform, we could realise a self-service process for the authorisation of truck loading and unloading activities across the entire port area. The new digital process handling for container loading and unloading on or from foreign trucks by means of a barcode entry pass is easier, faster and much more customer-friendly.
• Integrating the Telegram messenger proved to be no technical challenge, but had an even greater impact. Thanks to this messenger service, it is now possible for all port employees and those involved in the ecosystem to access the system’s data and view relevant information anywhere and at any time, even without a laptop.
For this project, we would also like to spotlight the outstanding cooperation with our customer and the quick implementation. “What made it go so smoothly?”, you might ask. Well, from the very beginning, our customer and compacer’s team have focused on close cooperation and regular customer feedback. Using modern software development frameworks and our agile approach have also contributed significantly to accelerating the project. We continue to stay in close contact and receive valuable input and requests from the customer, which helps us a great deal in our further internal development of edbic.