Recap transport logistics 2019
This has been the biggest transport logistics show so far with 2.374 exhibitors (+10%) from 63 countries and about 64.000 visitors (+5%) from 125 countries. We have joined on the partner stand of bremenports. Again, the Bremen stand was a perfect host stand with our neighbours from BLG, Eurogate and Niedersachen Ports.
This year we focused on three items discussing in our meetings at the fair:
- Integration and solutions for smaller and inland ports?
- What kind of data is produced and what is interesting?
- How could data work for you and how would modern technology help port on this?
First item was discussed with various ports from small to larger from inland to sea ports. It reflected a scattered landscape of integration level and implementation of modern software. In the discussion we could find anything from paper-based operations to implemented IT solutions covering most parts of the process. However, the main point raised was, that these days the demand on IT driven integration is moving on – be it driven by customers, authorities or partners. So, one bottom line for us was that being a smaller port with less volume does not mean that paper based is good enough. It is not anymore! As the business around also move on with their digital agenda, this creates a pull into the ports. So, answering whether the volume handled actually justifying a non-digital environment, is the wrong question answered. It is about when, what and how you are moving forward with your digital agenda.
Digital Agenda in Port Industry
Discussing the first item quickly lead ourselves to the point on what comes after the processes and administration are supported digital? Connecting the physical equipment would be a logical next step these days. For our industry this could also mean learning from another industry. Taking the sugar beet industry as an example which, these days, runs fully digital. The process there connects the whole process from the assets, the people to the production plant. The harvester on the field is connected to the transport vehicle which is connected to the sugar factory and its logistics process. If it works there, what stops us from also doing it in the ports? Today this doesn’t necessary mean you need to buy all new equipment, it could mean a retrofit strategy for connecting the existing assets to the solution and processes. From my point of view the technology is available and can be used, the organisation needs to get ready to interact with smarter machines and processes.
Digital Agenda in future
Now last but not least taking both above points means that data is available in a digital way and more data is created, ready to be utilized. The simple way currently more and more common is probably condensing the data into a dashboard and drilling down from there to see now and the past. This usually results in a KPI dashboard for different management layers and decision makers. This is a good step forward and the first step to take anyway. The next step should be trying to forecast and predict things happening in the future.
How to do this? Is this just all algorithm? Do we need AI for this?
By Norbert Klettner, managing director akquinet port consulting
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