Across all industry sectors, IT is now a critical enabler of the modern enterprise. An explosion of new applications promises to allow people and businesses to connect better, adapt faster and do more for less. How can terminal operators ride the technology wave to maximum advantage, both to address today’s issues and support future demands?
Both Afzal Khalfay and Parke Pittar will be debating this subject at the upcoming TOC Europe Conference in Bremen, Germany. They offer us a sneak preview of their views here.
Applying IT intelligently – Afzal Khalfay, IT Director, DP World
We all know that there are problems facing us in the shipping industry, but it’s how we work to solve these problems that interest me. I am looking forward to this year’s TOC Europe conference and I think it will be an excellent forum to debate innovative ideas to help bring our industry back to the good times. I don’t believe that it is all doom and gloom out there, but it is a time for positive thinking and looking at implementing new approaches.
Personally, at TOC Europe I will be involved in a conference session that focuses on terminal operator’s use of IT solutions. Whilst IT is an important factor in the running of an operation, it is essential that the right solution be applied to the problem. IT can definitely help us gain productivity and achieve efficiency, but it needs to be applied intelligently. Otherwise IT can become part of the problem. At the TOC event in June, I will be further highlighting this opinion.
Now, more than ever, terminals need to maximise their productivity and make sure they are operating efficiently, because this is what will help decrease operating costs ensuring they are well placed to ride out the economic downturn. I strongly believe that terminal operators around the globe need to have a system in place that generates a seamless view of all the operations taking place at a port,
One of the main problems is the lack of integration between systems. For example, the logical link between container management (TOS) and container equipment handling systems is not there, and needs to be addressed. Having an IT system in place that effectively brings these two groups together will undoubtedly allow handlers to allocated the right equipment, deploy quicker and the increase the efficiency of container throughput.
Having the necessary information for better coordination and management of all resources – both equipment and manpower is critical to improve productivity and efficiency. Understanding the skills we have and deploying labour appropriately is critical. Having access to information that allows you to allocate your labour force appropriately can only serve to boost the efficiency of your operation.
A misconception is that IT is the answer to all the problems. Regrettably this is often the case in most industries and sectors – and not just our industry. While IT can play a part in solving the problem, one must have the proven process in place before implementing an IT solution to the issue. I believe that first one must look at their business problem and think about how to solve it without IT. To begin with, you must get each area of the operation functioning efficiently and then link these areas
together, effectively giving your staff one ‘system’ to work with effectively.