Grindrod’s quest to digitalise logistics industry in SA
Foresight and willingness to invest into the future are the main drivers behind Grindrod’s complete digitalisation of its terminal operations.
The logistics industry has evolved significantly in the past 50 years. International trade proliferated, vessels became larger and electronic data interchange and standards improved communication and control. The burgeoning volumes and ever-increasing vessel sizes pressured ports and terminals to keep up with these changes themselves.
A considerable challenge is that many aspects of logistics operations today remain firmly anchored in the past, dependent on manual and paper-based systems. Players seeking to ensure a competitive edge are now being driven to adopt a much more digital mindset, employing the latest technologies as enablers for real-time improvements that are more productive, customer friendly, efficient and competitive.
Grindrod operates bulk terminals in Richards Bay, Maputo and Walvis Bay as well as a car terminal in Maputo. One of their major challenges was tracking cargo throughput by manual data capture into an outdated system that offered limited reporting capability – in addition, there was no consistency of software across the operation.
“Clear and centralised data visualisation can make a huge difference to the operation,” explains Vishal Deeplaul, CEO of Grindrod’s Terminal business. Implementing the latest digital technologies can offer a wide variety of benefits, from accurate time estimates for planning and resource management to enhanced route optimisation within our plant. Loading and discharging cargo is time sensitive, where incentives and penalties drive performance. Clear visibility into location of cargo and performance of plant and equipment facilitates our agility and responsiveness to help our customers achieve and improve on their vessel turnaround time.
“Keyrus was able to provide Grindrod with the right technology to help increase accountability and transparency as well as minimise risk and error,” says Greg Guye, CEO of Keyrus South Africa. We were selected ahead of five other technology companies and awarded the development and implementation of the entire solution over a period of 18 months.
“The key objective was to gain visibility throughout the operation in order to improve efficiencies. Prior to our interaction, Grindrod was utilising legacy technology that was difficult to integrate with other solutions and supported from a different country. Our solution enabled the visibility, in addition to bridging the gap where specific systems and process were previously missing.
“We are delivering centralised, near real-time visualisation of operational data for each terminal site, backed up by an analytics platform that facilitates improved decision-making,” says Guye.
According to Deeplaul, the company recognised the critical importance of modern technology like the Internet of things (IOT), along with the fact that every aspect of logistics has now been touched by the integration of automation and big data.
“Keyrus offered us a solution designed to monitor data that captures the input and output at each event of the consignment. This boosts both accountability and transparency and will comprehensively assist us in optimising the entire logistics process. Improved data sharing between different stakeholders, and confirmed real-time supply chain visibility, means we can synchronise the movement of goods from pit to port to reduce costs and delays,” he continues. “We chose Keyrus for a number of reasons, including the fact that the company was able to offer us an end-to-end integration that specifically utilises latest generation technologies like the IOT, as well as embracing the cloud – which everyone knows is more cost-effective and efficient than on-premises solutions. Perhaps most crucially of all, the solution is designed to be future-proof and stores commercial and engineering data for up to 10 years, affording significant opportunity to use advanced analytics to obtain even deeper insights, over time.”
Guye concludes: “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 Grindrod is a company with foresight and willingness to invest into the future. Together, we aim to change and simplify the terminals and logistics supply chain shipping industry in a way that will enable our organisations to remain leaders in our respective fields for years to come.”