Terminal optimization may be easily definable as a terminal operating system that devises intelligent capabilities which facilitate more efficient operations and processes. However, this explanation provides a very basic understanding of optimization and confines it from its complex nature. All planning, instructions, and decisions made within a terminal can be optimized, and therefore, is inclusive of any activity on the operational spectrum that ranges from vessel berthing to managing containers within the yard. Optimization is not limited to the sole objective of achieving productivity, and instead, is also responsible for forecasting the emergence of any potential problem areas, depleting costs, and balancing various resources to yield transparency in all decisions.
Due to the underlying definition of terminal optimization, it is easy to slap this label onto any TOS and certify their functionalities as being able to deliver the most optimal decisions. Each TOS has divergent views of optimization, and hence renders different functionalities which generate different results. If a TOS is not maximizing the use of the available resources and achieving the desired outcome, the terminal is highly likely exposed to the risk of suffering in performance. Optimization must be supported by the correct technology and established on a robust infrastructure to ensure they are not encountering any conflict in operational priorities – being unable to achieve the optimal and most functional outcome without sacrificing a set parameter. Each decision made by the TOS should be calculated with diligence and account for all contingencies without omitting any set parameter to present terminal operators with the most viable optimal solution.
A TOS with refined terminal optimization should exhibit the following capabilities and benefits:
- Forecasting problems – warrant an early detection of upcoming issues that can constrain daily terminal operations
- Risk management – instigate proactive measures in responding to any potential risks or challenges
- Reduce costs – TOS users can leverage forecasting problems earlier to avoid investing financial resources in amending issues
- Improve process efficiency – avoids vessel waiting times and resource bottlenecks
- Improve operational efficiency – heed greater control and visibility as a result of optimized resources and forecasting abilities
- Faster Decision-Making – the timeframe for planning and exercising decisions should be significantly reduced and not at the expense of any set requirements to reflect a capable TOS
- Accurate information – TOS should have AI integrated into the system and automated data to provide accurate information which inhibits errors from ensuing, granting heightened visibility over operations
- Performance monitoring and accountability – increased traceability over all activity conducted within a terminal which is owed to optimization sharing information across departments which derives optimum results
- Transparency – every projected scenario must reinforce all the parameters set by the user to contribute a clear and refined decision
Therefore, optimization transcends the rudimentary notion of being limited to just efficiency and requires accurate and in-depth knowledge of the associated processes before it can be clarified as a TOS that can truly exhibit optimization. The term can be loosely defined which administers greater responsibility for terminal operators to take prudence when searching for a TOS. As a result, a TOS that can truly optimize all activity within a terminal should be ergonomically stable and absorb all factors without excluding any benefits.