Page 20 - Hafen Hamburg | Port of Hamburg Magazine 4.2022
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Hansaport is the world’s most extensively automated bulk cargo terminal. As one current project shows, processes there are to be even more extensively digitalized and rendered more efficient.
   The IT solution implemented minimizes the risk of errors in transmission
Many processes at Hansaport – such as data ex- change for the production of freight documents – have already been digitalized for a long time. Yet until just recently, internal and external communi- cation at Germany’s largest handling terminal for coal, ore and building materials was a lengthy process. For instance, data on such standard pro- cesses as an order for a specific quantity on a specific train was exchanged by e-mail or tele- phone, reports Michael Schwarz, deputy head, operations.
One example was that data was written out or cop- ied, with several copies being made for distribution to loading stations. This was once again entered in two systems, each involving copying and Excel lists. Transmission errors were a possibility there,” says Schwarz. For instance, giving details of the wrong typecancausesubstantialharmforourcustomers. The objective here was obvious: To simplify and im- prove processes, data was to be entered only once in the system, and this by the person initiating the or- der. Finally, all those in the logistics chain entitled to
© Hansaport
do so can use this database externally and internally. “We therefore opted for an online portal on our website,” remembers Schwarz. Initial discussions took place at the end of 2019, then a four-strong project team from an IT provider plus two Hansaport staff went to work. Apart from tackling technical IT questions, the main challenge was: Who really re- quires which data? We had naturally tried in ad- vance to illustrate the process chain, but a great deal is only clarified in the course of such a project, or ideas emerge for simplified process flows, ex- plains this operations expert.
Processes have now been digitalized for six months. The IT solution implemented considerably minimiz- es the risks of transmission errors, – especially in stress situations in the control centre, among other places. “When an order is received there, we use the platform to specify the storage location,” says Schwarz. And communication during loading has also become far simpler: Controllers see the re- al-time status in each case, so that the previous constant need to telephone is no more. At the load- ing stations, paper and manually conveyed instruc- tions are no longer needed. “Data now only needs to be called up,” says a most satisfied Schwarz.
The prototype, just now being exhaustively tested with our colleagues from Salzgitter to eliminate still existing defects, now indicates which materials should be loaded from which storage locations, with which equipment and on to which railcars, and when. Hansaport workers engaged in these activities were involved in the test stage that lasted several months.
Their opinions rounded off the views on the basis of which the challenge was viewed.
Already having been able to amass exten- sive experience with processes of change in the course of the automation of Hansaport, such staff are open-minded to- wards the new system. It was rapidly rec- ognized here that adaptation of the system would reduce expenditure and eliminate errors without jeopardizing jobs.
To allow for their requirements and experi- ence, customers were also involved at a lat- er stage. Movement clerks are now able to feed in all relative loading data such as the
time, type, quantity and weight in the course of placing their order. Hansaport then undertakes a manual check, but this too is to be digitalized in future.
The advantage for customers is that they can, at any time, scrutinize data and status and alter their order provided this is not being processed. “We provide them with a kind of live image,” emphasiz- es Schwarz. Depending on the customer, instead of manually producing a table daily or weekly, gener- ating and despatching a PDF based on this, they can now retrieve these details around the clock.
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