For businesses across the ocean supply chain, providing end-to-end visibility and predictability is vital for staying ahead of the competition, yet planning processes across the container flow currently take place in silos, with little standardization or real-time information exchange, and few opportunities for collaboration. However, an industry survey released today at the TOC Europe Conference by Navis and XVELA, both part of Cargotec, in coordination with JOC.com/IHS Markit, found that many executives are realizing the immense value to be gained from a more connected, transparent and collaborative approach. As a result, they are exploring cloud-based, collaborative data-sharing platforms to provide all stakeholders with the real-time visibility and connectivity required to improve efficiency and productivity.
The study, entitled "Working as One," is based on a survey of 250 shipping industry executives and professionals from terminals, ocean carriers, shippers, logistics providers, consignees, port authorities, vessel owners and other members of the global container supply chain. The report examines the extent to which different players can work together in a unified fashion with a common set of shared data to improve coordination and synchronization of operational processes. With increasing executive buy-in for greater collaboration and data sharing around end-to-end container planning processes - from stowage planning and execution to berth window management, port call optimization and inland connectivity - the industry idea of tapping into a larger ecosystem of shared data appears to be within reach.
The first step to tackle the fundamental lack of visibility in the industry and achieve joint success among key stakeholders is the broader sharing of critical shipment information across the supply chain. Surveyed executives echoed this sentiment, reporting the following:
• Agree on the need for stakeholders to operate with a common set of data (97% important; 85% very important)
• Believe the adoption of new technologies is crucial to enabling real-time collaboration (98% important; over 50% very important)
• Believe they will see substantial improvement in operational performance once real-time collaboration is achieved (one-third predict gains over 75%; over half expect gains of at least 50%)
In the shipping industry, each stakeholder has traditionally had to work with its own set of data. "That means that every part of the transaction is working with your own reality," said Capt. Franck Kayser, Group Managing Director, for maritime services company V.Group. "With the advent of collaborative platforms, however, stakeholders will all have a shared reality in which everyone can talk about the same information in an intelligent way, thus avoiding misunderstandings and misperceptions. This shared information flow is going to benefit us all."
With a growing demand for more information, collaborative platforms like XVELA will provide greater transparency into operational processes and reduce operational waste.
"Traditionally the ocean shipping industry has been comprised of isolated processes," said Andy Barrons, Chief Strategy Officer, Navis. "Sailing schedules have not been accurate; as ships would often speed to a terminal, only to wait there because of delays affecting other vessels that, in the absence of real-time data, could not be anticipated. In response, XVELA and Navis are developing technology to enable the simplification and synchronization of planning processes across the container flow from stowage planning, to berth-window management, to yard planning. There are initial pilot programs in place and beyond that, quite a few other ports are already looking at collaborative platforms as a key for reducing congestion and taking out the unpredictability of the container's flow through the port, all the way to the shipper's distribution center."
While the potential upside is clear, several challenges remain when it comes to sharing data in real time. Survey respondents reported the lack of industry data standards as the biggest challenge to achieving real-time collaboration. In addition, concerns around data sharing remain a primary obstacle with 51% noting an unwillingness of others to share data as a leading barrier to collaboration and 44% not comfortable sharing their own key data.
But the industry's attitude towards collaboration has started to shift and there has been a surge of interest in data sharing to tackle endemic inefficiencies. Survey findings support this uptick, with organizations reporting that they are already considering better collaboration with their operational partners - 61% have spent at least two years evaluating collaborative processes. Looking down the pipeline, attitudes remain optimistic with 70% expecting collaboration between shipping lines and terminals to become commonplace within the next five years and 38% predicting it will happen within three years.
"It is incredibly hard to manage what you cannot see. There is a real need throughout the ocean supply chain to synchronize traditionally siloed activities into a more streamlined process based on communicating a higher quality of data and sharing that information earlier; allowing more time to plan the whole operation," said Guy Rey-Herme, President, XVELA. "XVELA is designed to provide visibility in real time, so that each party can make better-informed decisions using reliable information. Ultimately, as the industry achieves the ideal of 'working as one,' the resulting transparency and efficiency gains will allow stakeholders across the supply chain to not only cut costs, but also to focus more keenly on what counts even more - the customer."
The full survey is available now and can be downloaded at: http://navis.com/workingasone
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