PD Ports owns and operates Teesport, the second largest container port in the UK. It has the single largest warehousing facility at the Port of Felixstowe of some 500,000 square feet, situated just 250 meters from the dock gates, and more than £1BN has been invested at Teesport in the last decade.
The industry demands intelligence to stay competitive. PD Ports is one organization that makes a point to embrace change. They accept the reality that terminals that want to grow and remain competitive need to adopt new technology and practices to meet evolving industry challenges. In order to do so, they addressed the following challenges:
They were lacking critical data and insights for a holistic view of business and operations.
They were missing key KPIs to analyze operations to boost efficiency and overall ROI.
They needed the ability to measure and analyze performance to fine-tune terminal operations.
As part of this process, PD Ports has implemented the Navis Business Intelligence Portal, with the goal of leveraging data and analytics to gain a holistic view of their terminal’s operations in order to measure performance and identify areas for improvement. PD Ports has made data analytics and BI a priority within their terminal, equipping key decision-makers with the knowledge to understand not only where they are, but where they will need to be to take advantage of the changing industry landscape. Their new BI capabilities provide insight into their operations and KPIs, getting the right information to the right people at the right time to make better, more informed decisions about the company’s future.
Gaining Terminal Visibility Through Business Intelligence
"As we charted our course for future growth, we needed a clearer view into our business and operations. Our new BI tool has served as a real game-changer in that regard,” says Westmoreland. “We now have much more visibility into our operations, and by utilizing the resulting information, we are able to much more effectively manage change and conduct active decision-making.”
PD Ports compiled a team of application, IT and operations staff to analyze their BI data, which in turn were able to identify and establish new KPIs. Westmoreland attributes the success of the BI program to the wide range of terminal staff that are given the opportunity to observe and utilize the information. PD Ports found that a diversity of opinion regarding data analytics allowed for a higher level of discourse on terminal action. It also ensured that all interests were represented in any decisions made based on the information, and that the resulting terminal processes were owned by specific decision-makers. PD Ports also partnered with Navis to set up a two week workshop with the operations, IT and applications teams to train them on using their new business intelligence data. Together, they used their data to break down their terminal into its core components to gauge how their functions could best be improved, as well as determine the effectiveness of high level management.
Turning Data into Action
Following the establishment of KPIs for terminal functions, PD Ports sought to turn their findings into action. By clearly defining the KPI of each terminal operation, PD Ports can look at their processes from a tactical perspective and decide on actions to improve efficiency and predict ROI based on those actions. Navis’ BI solution is helping PD Ports track some of its main KPIs including:
- Vessel Productivity (GMPH)
- Truck Turnaround Times
- Cost (hours)
- CHE Utilization
With the help of Navis’ BI tool, PD Ports gained the ability to measure initiatives they implemented over the past 18 months – which have proven vital to terminal decision-making. For example, in 2015, average vessel productivity was at 18.8 GMPH with a crane density of 1.35. On the back of a successful pilot ‘Gate project’ in 2015, which improved truck processing at their gates, further initiatives were undertaken to improve vessel performance in 2016. Thanks to the insights provided through BI, PD Ports was able to measure that these initiatives resulted in average productivity in 2016 moving from 18.8 GMPH to 22.3 GMPH, a performance increase of 18.6 percent. In addition, the comparison in productivity between June 2015 and June 2016, of 21.3 GMPH and 28.6 GMPH respectively, shows an increase in productivity performance of 34 percent.
By embracing new technology and new data and analytics capabilities, PD Ports has shown growth in years when the industry as a whole has shown decline. Westmoreland feels that the key has been embracing data for greater visibility into PD Ports’ own operations as well as the overall industry. He expects to see other supply chain players get on board and the trend towards actionable intelligence from BI to continue.
“When I look at what the future will hold for our industry, I foresee an ever-increasing demand for end-to-end supply chain visibility,” predicts Westmoreland. “Suppliers are already beginning to ask for the ability to track and trace their cargo from the cradle to the grave, across the whole supply chain. This demand will naturally lead terminals to implement and develop business intelligence practices within their organizations, so they can see a holistic view of their operations, and accurately assess their processes as they fit into the industry as a whole.”