Digitalising the logistics industry in SA
Keyrus concretises the foresight and willingness to digitalise operations of South Africa’s largest logistics company.
The logistics industry has evolved significantly in the past 50 years, as vessels became larger, containerisation became a thing and electronic data interchange improved communications and control. However, the ever-increasing vessel sizes and cargo volumes also mean ports and terminals face increased pressure to keep up with these changes themselves.
The challenge here is that many aspects of their operations remain firmly anchored in the past, dependent as they are on manual and paper-based systems. Those players that seek to ensure some form of competitive edge are now being driven to adopt a much more digital mindset, one that considers the latest technologies as enablers for real-time improvements that are more productive, customer-friendly, efficient and competitive.
One of the most significant operators in this industry, and a valued client of Keyrus, is involved in the operation of bulk terminals in Richards Bay and Maputo, along with a car terminal in Maputo. The major challenge this logistics giant faces is that the volume and tempo of cargo throughput at each bulk terminal is recorded by manual input, into a legacy system that offers limited reporting capability – essentially, this system offers no visibility across the operation.
If one looks at the many challenges faced just in conducting the export and import operations effectively, explains Greg Guye, CEO of Keyrus South Africa, it becomes easy to see how clear and centralised data visualisation can make a huge difference to the operation.
“Think about it: implementing the latest digital technologies can offer a wide variety of benefits, by collecting data from remote and difficult locations, to integrating disparate technologies that provide a comprehensive view of how well operations are performing. Ultimately, the right technologies can help increase throughput and transparency while also minimising risk and error,” Guye says.
“Not to mention that moving cargo in a terminals environment is time-sensitive, due to the contractual requirements that govern the loading or discharge of vessels. This means that our client has a limited amount of time to complete a vessel before penalties apply. By affording clear visibility into the location of cargo and the performance of plant and equipment within the operation, Keyrus is able to assist in facilitating planning and enabling agility and responsiveness.”
Guye explains that Keyrus was chosen ahead of seven other large reputable technology companies, and was awarded the implementation of the entire solution with delivery of various stages of the project staggered over a period of 18 months.
“The key objective is to gain visibility throughout the business and operations, in order to improve efficiencies. Prior to our interaction, our client was not only utilising legacy technology that made integration with other solutions difficult and was supported from a different country, but also had certain specific business systems and processes missing.
“To solve this, Keyrus have delivered a cloud-based centralised, real-time visualisation of operational data for each terminal site, backed up by an analytics platform that helped to significantly improve decision-making,” Guye notes.
Luckily, the company recognised the critical importance of modern technology, like the industrial Internet of things (IIOT), along with the fact that every aspect of logistics has now been touched by the integration of automation and big data.
”Keyrus offered a solution designed to monitor data that captures the input of the consignment, which, coupled with a status tracking system, boosts both accountability and transparency. In addition, it will comprehensively assist our client in optimising the entire logistics process: improved security, reduced congestion, enabled improved data sharing between different stakeholders, ensured real-time supply chain visibility, and means they can synchronise logistics processes in order to reduce costs and delays,” Guye continues.
Keyrus was chosen for a number of reasons, including the fact that it was able to offer this leading logistics operator an end-to-end solution that specifically utilises latest generation technologies like the IIOT, as well as embracing the cloud – which everyone knows is more scalable, cost-effective and efficient than on-premises solutions. Perhaps most crucially of all, the solution is designed to be future-proof and stores the collected data for up to 10 years, affording significant opportunity to use advanced analytics to obtain even deeper insights over time.
Ultimately, the goal with this implementation is to simplify the entire logistics cycle and reduce costs and complexity. This, in return, will eliminate errors, trim the time spent on manual tasks and generally improve visibility across the entire value chain.
"Modern technology and its capability to solve business challenges is key to the thought processes of all our experts. We like to think of ourselves as a reliable partner with a personal and hands-on approach to implementing the latest digital solutions, while our client is a company with foresight and willingness to invest into the future. Together, we aim to change and simplify the logistics industry in a way that will enable our organisations to remain leaders in our respective fields for years to come,” concludes Guye.