Intelligence in Berth Productivity Improvement

For marine terminal operations, one of the key priorities are to service the vessel quickly, efficiently and improve the berth availability for additional vessel operations.

This requires some advanced planning that would enable efficiency in operations thus would improve the vessel productivity by measuring some of the key areas that would support the improvements

Some of the historical information from previous operations of similar vessel calls will be useful to create our own intelligence to reduce vessel waiting time.

  • How many vessel arrived and how many discharged in current date?
  • How many containers have moved in last one hour?
  • No of lifts per vessel hour.
  • QC productivity of vessel in shift, day and total vessel
  • Line operator wise, freight kind and container size
  • Yard Move analysis for the operating vessel
  • And many more data points that would require analysis

Terminal Operations Intelligence (TOI) would enable a terminal to easily measure and monitor the key concern of rising vessel turnaround time ,which might be due to following reason:-

  • Inefficient crane operations
  • Yard delays that waste crane operator time

Following are the examples of  how dashboards can provide Vessel Productivity:

Vessel Productivity analysis according to the Crane wise:-

Crane wise-Vessel Productivty


Vessel Productivity according to the Categories:-

category wise-Vessel

TOI allows Terminals to identify where the hold-ups are located and helps to effectively develop strategies to reduce delay and improve efficiencies so that preventive and corrective action can be taken.

Explore more about our Real-time terminal performance tool

Truck Turnaround Time Analysis

The primary objective of all terminals is to reduce the truck’s waiting time via smoothing the gate activities i.e. to prevent the gate from being a bottleneck.The time spent in waiting to enter the terminal is a consequence for the port performance.

Terminal operating systems with an integrated BI solution enable the terminal executive to manage truck and container movements at terminals, which integrate gate, yard and quay operations.

BI Solution designed especially for terminals, with right Dashboards, KPIs and Analytical Cubes will help to analyze collective truck turnaround time which helps in  reducing   truck idling times.

The gate, yard, quay are the most important activity sectors that take place in container terminals.

Gate Sector:

BI tool gives an analysis of gate wise truck turnaround time (in time and out time of  truck), how many containers have been handled by each gate and also gives an alert  if the truck wait time  exceeds from the target wait time .

On a Weekly basis, each terminal reports the average in-terminal truck turn time. The average gate turn time is defined as gate in time to gate out time, in other words, how long the trucker is actually in the terminal. This measure does not include any time spent waiting outside of the gate before entry.

The below dashboard shows truck wait time (Real time) analysis:

Truck wait time01


Below dashboard shows Weekly Average Truck Turnaround Time at Gate:


Yard Sector:

BI solution helps to give an analysis of the loading and unloading of containers (full or empty) on terminal trucks in the yard, provide information of container tracking.

Below dashboard shows Truck Turnaround Time at Yard:-

TruckMoves at yard

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Managing change in an ERP implementation

An ERP project, whether it’s a pilot, roll-out or an upgrade, will bring in multitude of changes within the organization. It’s important for the management to fully assess the impact of the change due to an ERP implementation decision.

Some of the several challenges a company faces in an ERP implementation are Change Management, Project Management and Cost Management along with its associated escalations, Risk Mitigations to Customizations and Expectations management.

Change in an ERP Implementation could be of various types:

  • Change in Processes – being brought in global business practices

  • Change in Roles – being brought in due to segregation of duties

  • Change in Effort to Input information – being brought in due to the higher level of details required by the new ERP

Address these changes, by listing each of them and working out with the product experts to ensure that only Business driven changes are applied. Super Users or Core Users, who plan for these improvements as a periodical and continuous basis, are better able to manage their user community, than those who just worry about maintaining what is delivered as a package.

The “owner” of the implementation has to be an in-house individual, who is not only familiar with the various departments and the user community, but also has the support and mandate of the Top management, to be able to suggest and manage the expectations.

An ERP implementation does not just bring in the perceived changes, it brings in a sea of opportunities to do additional things under the ERP umbrella:

  • Don’t just use PCs and Laptops, enable wide screen displays in workshops and control rooms. Get Status reports and Pending Tasks Queries to be displayed at appropriate areas, to drive work completion.

  • Evaluate tasks performed manually, and if these can be automated to reduce the data entry effort. The thumb rule, is to identify all those interaction points, where a single user interacts with multiple applications, to deliver or manage a feature. Automate these data entry , and get the user to monitor accuracy than just efficiency.

  • Use the “Ease of Use features – GUI Functionalities” of the product to reduce as much effort and make day to day working

  • pleasant for the end user.

Share your thoughts on Change Management during ERP Implementations and we will let you know of some of the best practices we have seen.

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How an integrated ERP system will improve terminal performance

Most end-to-end processes in ports and terminals typically span multiple systems and integrations.

The typical landscape of a terminal is an integrated solution of Terminal Operating System (TOS), financial system, Procurement and Inventory, Enterprise Asset Management, HR Management, Payroll Management, Workforce Management and several more to ensure synergy and smooth functioning at a terminal.

The difficulty begins when all these systems need to work in tandem to pass information to each other in order to process transactions seamlessly. That is precisely when the need for integrating systems together becomes necessary.

Integration of multiple systems, in most cases, is not only effort-intensive, with respect to both cost and time; it requires continuous support and management. And the biggest disadvantage for terminals is that it locks them down from upgrading existing systems with newer features, functions and technologies that help enhance and improve productivity.

Having learnt from the innumerable challenges, the trend has now shifted to a single system solution that can meet most of the needs of a terminal. Using a system with integrated architecture takes away key pain points out of IT management as well as overall business administration, especially through updated and newer versions of systems that are aimed at streamlining business processes.

Leading ERP products (ie SAP, IFS) with their integrated architecture are a one-stop shop solution for terminals that can meet most of its inherent business needs. Even global Leaders in this business, having multiple terminals worldwide, use ERP to gain global control to manage terminals.

To summarise, the key benefits of adopting an integrated architecture are:

  • Single version of truth in terms of master data information for customers and materials; thus avoiding all the issues relating to duplication of information and loss of data integrity.

  • Faster processing of information due to real time integration; that in turn ensuring timely decision making at all levels.

  • Powerful BI framework to enable intelligent analysis and mining of the vast volume of data to ensure optimisation of operations and better management of KPIs.

  • Operational cost reduction due to more advanced forecasting tools ensuring better equipment availability and better planning and scheduling capabilities.

  • Better workforce management due to automation of processes, work load monitoring and faster cycle times to closure.

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Delivery Lead Time, Suppliers Lead Time analysis

In any purchasing/materials management system, the materials, delivery, supplier lead time plays a critical role for the timing and sizing of purchase order decisions. Many purchasing professionals have recognized this importance, and major efforts have been made to accurately predict lead times and to develop strategies for coping with problems created by lead time variations.

The length and reliability of lead time has a significant impact on the total cost of services, because it is important to make tools and spare parts available at right time for prompt response to breakdown, planned maintenance. The recent emergence of time-based management concept attests to this effect.

For example, the lead time length and reliability influence the capacity and manpower requirements, work load, safety stock level, and productivity

Different BI reports helps to analyze time gap between PO release date, delivery lead time, supplier’s lead time and design supply chain strategy.

The main purposes of this report are:

1) To identify and analyze the major characteristics of Supplier and Delivery lead time.

2) To review the potential impacts of supplier and delivery lead time on the system’s performance

3) To suggest several positive strategies for managing supplier and delivery lead time and to make tools and equipment’s available at right time to avoid breakdown of running assets.

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BI tool prevents Ports and Terminals from Inventory blockage

Senior management understands that inventory is regarded as a ‘black hole’, absorbing cash and resources. With appropriate business intelligence, ‘black holes’ can be effectively addressed, and the company will realize a direct effect on bottom line profit.

Some of the challenges faced:

  •  To improve visibility of data that can help to identify inventory positions and potential stock out issues.
  •  To reduce the non-value added labor dedicated to the management of physical inventory.

A flexible, powerful Business Intelligence system is worth, where you need to understand current inventory levels, plan for a seasonal buying frenzy, find out the status of inventory for internal consumption and predict required inventory.

 BI reports are very important for Inventory Management, manager:

  • Ports and terminals can increase the opportunity cost, inventory accuracy and reduce the non-value-added costs by seeking out an integrated inventory solution that joins business intelligence tool.

The Inventory Manager, can share different BI reports and his analysis with management, other managers, end-users and establish metrics, goals so that every user sees and uses the information and be aware of critical issues like stock shortages.

Inventory Aging Report:

Inventory aging helps to drive down stock level, fast moving items, slow moving items and helps to monitor value of money/capital blocked in inventory.

The fact majority of businesses have their capital tied to their inventory. What this means is that the business will delve into an inventory aging analysis too often, there will be a lot of money that cannot be used. Where there is too little inventory, it might cause delay in container maintenance work, repair of equipment, and might cause delay to attend breakdown maintenance calls, which eventually affects heavy loss due to machine/Crain shut down. If the company is caught in-between an inventory balancing act, the company will only take guesses on the types of inventory it requires.

 We have to keep in mind that:-

  •  If we have too much inventory of a particular part, it would block working capital. Increased expenses associated with interest on loans, taxes, insurance and storage costs. Cash will be tied up and thus profits will be stilled.
  •  If we have too little inventory stock of item which is regularly used, it would end up with the increased occurrences of insufficient stock of inventory for repair and maintenance work.


 It’s recommended that one should consider an inventory aging analysis at regular intervals. BI Inventory aging report helps to identify parts which are in stock for relatively longer period of time.

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How BI helps in reducing unplanned downtime and manage asset safely?

Port Asset Management is becoming increasingly important, whether as a simple means of recording assets and maintenance works or as part of a larger scheme to fully optimise the management of all Port assets and resources.

Enterprise Asset Management solution contains information regarding work order cost ,work order execution details , work order downtime.“Maintenance” is the core feature, helps to minimize downtime reliably and integrate asset-related data, business processes, and analytics.

Asset Maintenance solution captures details about work order cost, work order execution details, work order downtime.Downtime can be a planned event or an unplanned event.

A strategic alignment between “Higher Productivity ” which is (operation KPI) and “Total Preventive Maintenance” which is (Maintenance Organization KPI) is brought in by:-

  • Reducing Unplanned Downtime.
  • Optimizing planned downtime

A good Business Intelligence tool , should provide :

1. Analytical capability to perform frequent failure mode analysis.

2. Comparative cost between periods for cost of break-down when planned downtime is performed on “TIME” V/S Cost of Break Down when planned downtime is delayed per day.

3. Comparative reason for analyzing what factors caused the delay in performing planned Maintenance.

  •     Weather or such external factors.

  •     Operational Pressures.

  •      Maintenance Inefficiencies.

Graphical decision tree:

Through Graphical analysis, the reasons for increase or decrease of unplanned maintenance cost can be analyzed by drilling down to core reasons, especially delay in performing maintenance delays. By carrying out preventive maintenance inspection and servicing on time, or within organization permissible limits, we can mitigate the risk of equipment failures and bring cost under control.

As can be seen in the below example of analysis, cost of repair tends to increase when the previous servicing schedules have been postponed ,and tends to be lower when servicing schedules delays are within certain limited delays. 81% of the QC repair Costs are when servicing schedules are delayed for more than 12 days, and this in consideration of the fact that QCs (in below example) contributes to 77.75% of repair costs overall.

 Unplanned 01

The analysis and the number generated by above 3, should definitely be a guiding factor for ports and terminal to:-

  •      Get Operations and Maintenance to agree upon planned downtime schedules.

  •     Execute Planned preventive maintenance ,under agreed schedule and variances.

  •     Improve upon Operational Productivity and Production Efficiency due to reduced breakdown.

 In practice, while TPM cannot be 100% implemented , the effort to perform any planned service (Preventive Maintenance) “ON TIME” reduce the cost of break down (unplanned downtime) by a significant margin. For ports, unplanned maintenance equals unscheduled downtime and a significant hit to the bottom line, not only in terms of reduced throughput and revenue, but also in terms of managing relationships with shipping lines.

Business Intelligence for Terminal Operations Performance

Container Terminal Operations are increasingly versatile with many systems and processes to plan, schedule and manage operations. There are added pressures on terminal operations from owners and customers to augment profitability, increase throughput, exceed customer service goals.

Bringing clear visibility into the various Terminal operational processes in the day to day operations is the first step. Next one would be to build comparison of real-time events with historical performances and future targets.

The ability to take business decisions improves when you create periodic view of performance (hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly etc) with options to drill down to the bottom of the issues in the past and current operations and take corrective measures for the future. And get some concrete information to decide what could be done to optimize performances of Terminal operations.

Business Intelligence in Terminal operations provide immediate visibility to critical data for terminal and port operation managers to analyze the port and terminal performance.BI Reporting Analytics combined with KPIs & Dashboards help executives at terminals to achieve continuous improvement, get quality and timely reports, and make strategic decisions faster.

                       Terminal Performance

Above are some of the key Terminal operations processes where Business Intelligence could be used for optimization and improvement.  Each area needs its own special way of analysis.

Yard Inventory Performance Analysis : Click here to read more

Quay Crane Analysis : Click here to read more

Truck Turnaround Time Analysis : Click here to read more

Vessel Productivity Analysis : Click here to read more

Explore more about our Real-time terminal performance tool

Quay Crane (QC) Analysis

QC moves are the real indicator of Terminal Performance. QC dictates the berth utilization.QC undoubtedly is the most expensive asset, a terminal has.Focus on keeping QC productive is an important step to Profit.

Management team needs ability to track QC Productivity from all angles in simple visual forms. All this is needed in real time. Management seeks ability to react quickly or react even before thrush hold is breached.

Business Intelligence solution designed especially for terminals, with right Dashboards, KPIs and Analytical Cubes is a great enabler for management.

Terminals business is a 24×7 business. Availability of BI solution on mobile device helps management to remain in control, all the time and from anywhere.

BI Solution will help to analyze different types of moves (Load, Discharge, Restows ),empty/full containers, sizes and total performance of QC in real time. These solutions pull data from TOS and CMMS systems in real time.

Following are the examples of how Dashboards can provide overall performance of QC:

QC Productivity:


QC delays and idle time:

Lower rate of QC transfer operations causes delay in ship and container yard operation. This causes difficulty for recipients and delivery activities. A good BI tool will help management to recognize, react and avoid this.

Factors mentioned below can slowdown QC performance.

  • Awaiting for TT (Truck)
  • Awaiting for container
  • Bad weather
  • Downtime
  • Operator Productivity

BI tool enables management to pinpoint a problem with simple visualization. Such BI tools helps management study inter relationship between various parameters and better visibility of QC operation . It will help management in making sense out of large amount of seemingly unrelated data.

Operator’s Productivity Dashboard:


Berth move per hour:

The berth operation concerns the schedules of arriving vessels and the allocation of wharf space and QC resources to service the vessels. The key concern of the berthing operation is the turn-around time of vessels.

Visual BI Dashboards shown below enables the management to analyze and improves berth performance.



QC Productivity is the most prominent indicator of efficient operation and profitability .Tracking performance from all angles, in real time and in visually simple form is essential. A well designed BI tool is a great enabler in tracking QC and other critical terminal performance. 

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Yard Inventory Performance Analysis

A Yard operation involves decision problems in order to optimize the throughput of containers. Analysis done by BI tool allows executives to understand about the yard inventory analysis by container movements’ analysis.

Executive can further analyze:

Yard Utilization: The reports generated from BI tool helps to have a real-time view and are able to track all movement and see what is happening throughout the terminal, how much queuing space is available at the yard during the non-operational and peak periodsExecutives at terminal can build comparison of real-time events with historical performances and future targets, which helps in measuring productivity and keep costs under control.

Using this real-time information, executives now can quickly determine the best way to optimize the terminal through yard allocation and vessel loading plans. This enables a portfor better decision making which leads to increase in the yard productivity and usage.

Container dwell time: BI reports enable a port to easily measure and monitor dwell times and in turn improve their customers’ own logistics planning capabilities. BI tool allows a port to identify where the hold-ups are located and helps to more effectively develop strategies to reduce delays and improve efficiencies. BI reports helps in identifying and investigating the causes of unacceptable dwell and transit times so that preventive and corrective action can be taken.

Yard stack Utilization: The main objectives of this BI reports is to  analyze that there are efficient use of storage space, efficient and timely transportation from quay to stack and further destination (and vice versa) and avoidance of unproductive moves.

Category stacking:- Groups containers of the same category and stacks them on top of each other.

Residence time stacking: Presumes that departure times of containers are known and stacks them on expected departure time.

Storage planning:-  Specific blocks of the stack are reserved for containers before the arrival of a vessel.

Scattered planning:- Blocks are reserved based on berthing place of a vessel and stacked real-time based on a stochastically approach.

Productivity of equipments: The terminal’s investment in cargo-handling equipment is very costly, equipment utilization is an extremely important performance measure. The utilization of any item or type of equipment is defined as the proportion of time that it was effectively deployedover a specified period.

The value that is of interest is the numbers, BI reports analyze the number  of container moves made per working hour, either for an individual machine or for the stock of a particular type of machine. The number of moves can be reduced from data collected.

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