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:
A single version of the 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 optimization 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, workload monitoring and faster cycle times to closure.