Mobile in Operations

Why mobility in port operations management

December 10, 2014

  • Tom Caprel Tom Caprel

This is part 2 of 3 in a series on maritime and port management. See part 1 on port security here.

Ports – complex and often automated

United States ports are some of the most complex transportation management operations in the world. Adding to this complexity is the increasing automation of the industry. New port facilities now include automatic cranes that stack containers based off of their arrival and departure time to decrease rearrangement time and extra costs. Many of the larger ports have a fully automated system starting from the time the container leaves the ship to its attachment on a road or rail vehicle.

Mobility in port operations management can assist operators with these tasks in both fully and minimally automated U.S. ports. Mobile devices, acting as an inlet and distribution information hubs, could be used in every step of container management at a location. At a high level, mobile devices can be used to asses efficiency and costs of hourly, daily, and even monthly operations. Using well assembled middleware, mobile apps can access and process large amounts of stored (and even live) business intelligence for an accurate and up-to-date solution for executives and directors.

Mobility has the opportunity to assist operators with these management related tasks in both fully and minimally automated ports.

Managers find more efficiencies & savings with mobile

For management, mobile can have a direct influence on operations costs and workflow efficiencies in several ways. Mobile devices in the hands of management allow for a faster response time to issues and security concerns, quick notification of cargo backups, changes in a schedule, or a new critical task. This can then be quickly distributed to teams to assist or can be escalated to higher management for immediate feedback. These apps can also provide live information on task progress and efficiency levels for ease of personnel management. In a high pressure and schedule-driven situation, having this solution is a must for operations teams.

On the boat or the control center – the port worker’s job streamlined

On the ground level, mobile makes task assignment and issue reporting a painless and quick process. No longer needing to rely on radios, teams can communicate in a shared space and quickly request assistance from managers. Especially when time is a factor, having instant communication that uses live visual cues from the device’s camera can give a better picture of a situation or problem for management. No longer do barely audible descriptions over fuzzy static dictate a description. Plus, the need for management to arrive on site for situational assessment is nearly eliminated. They can see what the port workers see with well-designed mobile apps. Mobile apps can also be used to navigate increasingly gigantic ships with interactive maps.

Worried about connectivity?

Normally, mobile internet connectivity issues would be a factor in a port large complex, especially when users would be inside a ship to disembark materials. However, new and powerful WiFi solutions eliminate the need to rely on local cellular service, making mobility a reliable and powerful force in the maritime transportation system.

See part 3: Using mobility for port marketing and sales efforts.