University of Kent helps Dover Port reduce congestion, cut costs and improve efficiency
A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between the University and the Dover Harbour Board has achieved the highest possible rating from Innovate UK, the University has reported.
The rating from the UK’s technology strategy agency comes after a reduction in traffic congestion, a cut in costs and improved efficiency at the port.
In a release, the University said the project started in 2016 when the Port of Dover, which handles £122bn-worth of UK trade annually, appointed a graduate of the Kent Business School (KBS), Dr Cliff Preston, to work within the organisation to help it use data modelling and simulation software to operate more effectively.
The work focused on several strands, notably how the port predicts likely traffic volumes to ensure it has enough staff on hand to process vehicles through the port, minimising the risk of queues forming in and around Dover.
By improving its use of data from various sources, such as live traffic data on the motorways and past traffic levels at similar times, it has drastically reduced the use of Traffic Assessment Project (TAP) that sees freight traffic held outside Dover by a series of traffic lights.
This has not only reduced the impact that freight traffic has on Dover and its residents, but it also means one of the UK’s key import-export hubs is able to ensure goods can move into the UK, or over to Europe, more efficiently.
The traffic simulation model is now also used to help predict the requirement of the French border authorities operating in Dover to ensure traffic through the port is kept moving at all stages.
The quantitative methods used in the Knowledge Transfer Partnership have also been applied in part of the port’s substantive Dover Western Docks Revival (DWDR) project, in analysing the space and plant requirements of the new cargo terminal and helping the port increase its efficiency and effectiveness.
These successes have seen the project awarded a grade of ‘Outstanding’ by the KTP Grading Panel. Only 10% of KTP projects achieve this grade, underlining the impact the project has had.
5 Minutes With: Jim Bureau, CEO Jaggaer
What is data analytics, and why is it important for organisations to utilise?
Data analytics is the process of collecting, cleansing, transforming and analysing an organisation’s information to identify trends and extract meaningful insights to solve problems.
The main benefit for procurement teams that adopt analytics is that they’re equipped to make faster, more proactive and effective decisions. Spend analysis and other advanced statistical analyses eliminate the guesswork and reactivity common with spreadsheets and other manual approaches and drive greater efficiency and value.
As procurement continues to play a central role in organisational success, adopting analytics is critical for improving operations, meeting and achieving key performance indicators, reducing staff burnout, gaining valuable market intelligence and protecting the bottom line.
How can organisations use procurement analytics to benefit their operations?
Teams can leverage data analytics to tangibly improve performance across all procurement activities - identifying new savings opportunities, getting a consolidated view of spend, understanding the right time for contract re-negotiations, and which suppliers to tap when prioritising and segmenting suppliers, assessing and addressing supply chain risk and more.
Procurement can ultimately create a more comprehensive sourcing process that invites more suppliers to the table and gets even more granular about cost drivers and other criteria.
"The main benefit for procurement teams that adopt analytics is that they’re equipped to make faster, more proactive and effective decisions"
Procurement analytics can provide critical insight for spend management, category management, supplier contracts and negotiations, strategic sourcing, spend forecasting and more. Unilever, for example, used actionable insight from spend analysis to optimise spending, sourcing, and contract negotiations for an especially unpredictable industry such as transport and logistics.
Whether a team needs to figure out ways to retain cash, further diversify its supply base, or deliver value on sustainability, innovation or diversity initiatives, analytics can help procurement deliver on organisational needs.
How is data analytics used in supply chain and procurement?
Data analytics encompasses descriptive, diagnostic, predictive and prescriptive data.
Descriptive shows what’s happened in the past, while diagnostic analytics surface answers to ‘why’ those previous events happened.
This clear view into procurement operations and trends lays the groundwork for predictive analytics, which forecasts future events, and prescriptive analytics, which recommends the best actions for teams to take based on those predictions.
Teams can leverage all four types of analytics to gain visibility across the supply chain and identify optimisation and value generating opportunities.
Take on-time delivery (OTD) as an example. Predictive analytics are identifying the probability of whether an order will be delivered on time even before its placed, based on previous events. Combined with recommendation engines that suggest improvement actions, the analytics enable teams to proactively mitigate risk of late deliveries, such as through spreading an order over a second or third source of supply.
Advanced analytics is a research and development focus for JAGGAER, and we expect procurement’s ability to leverage AI to become even stronger and more impactful.