Against the backdrop of ongoing geopolitical instability, and an uncertain business outlook, the importance of building supply chain resilience has reached an all-time high. Home to the world’s busiest port for almost 40 years now, Singapore is faced with the need to prioritise supply chain resilience to combat existing challenges.
Despite the challenging climate, the port still handled a record high of 37.5 million TEUs (containers) last year. However, Singapore won’t stop at world-leading to effectively future-proof itself, and the nation has turned its attention to becoming a world-defining hub.
In September, Singapore shared its vision for its maritime future by unveiling the first phase of the Tuas Mega Port. Expected to become the world’s largest fully automated and digitalised port by 2042, Tuas Mega Port will utilise automated guided vehicles and artificial intelligence (AI) to coordinate operations, manage vessels and clear ports.
When complete, there is no doubt that this will be a big step for the supply industry in the country.
From improving key processes, such as supply chain management and mapping, to better planning and forecasting, reduced costs and time, and increased capabilities to manage risk factors and uncertainty, Tuas Mega Port will pave the way in terms of engendering resilience while supporting growth.
The trend towards hyper-automation
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Undeniably, Tuas Mega Port is one of many ports in the world looking competitively to implement innovative port technologies to manage the post-pandemic increase in freight traffic, the rising pressure of stringent environmental regulations and goals, and overall complex operations.
The smart port market is expected to exhibit a CAGR of 24.03% from 2022 to 2027. However, where an intelligent port stands apart is its progressive advancement towards adopting emerging trends such as AI and automation to enable scalability, continuity, and efficiency.
Forward-looking organisations are now turning to hyper-automation to connect applications and processes, allowing them to quicken insights and analytics for faster time to market. Tech research and consulting firm Gartner says hyper-automation is one of the top strategic technology trends for 2022.
AI fuels hyper-automation–by building an intelligent model that helps move, discover, map, integrate, manage, and share master data between sources and applications more efficiently and without errors. Furthermore, organisations can speed up repetitive tasks, reduce implementation times from months to days, and automate hours into seconds.
Ultimately, what organisations want is to be able to have data that is trustworthy and at their fingertips to meet market demands and deliver an exceptional experience to outperform their competition.
Still, AI is only as good as the data it ingests. And trusted data — the kind that can fuel innovation and decision-making — can only be created through effective data management.
Across the industry, it is becoming harder for supply chain companies to get accurate demand forecasts following lockdowns, changes in customer behaviours and disruptions.
Additionally, the acceleration of data fragmentation has added more significant pressure to supply chain management. Disjointed management of business-critical data and not having a single trusted view of all supply chain data will impede growth and success.
Meaningful automation begins with effective data management
Informatica’s IDC Global Chief Data Officer (CDO) Engagement Survey 2021 has unveiled that 82% of Asia Pacific organisations use more than 100 data sources, and 32% use more than 1,000 sources.
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These figures were higher than in any other region. Many data leaders spend most of their time simply grappling with data complexity rather than driving transformation with data.
By adopting Al-driven cloud data management and governance, organisations across all sectors can democratise data access among internal stakeholders and partners. In the case of maritime ports, information sharing through technology and platforms is critical as they are the nexus of the global supply chain network.
According to a study by Deloitte, high-performing organisations are 18 times more likely to utilise fully deployed AI and cognitive capabilities as part of their data-driven transformation journey.
With effective intelligent data management, Tuas Mega Port will be able to efficiently execute its goal of integrating information systems and information sharing, boasting visibility into logistics and operations with a 360-degree view of data, enabling it to gain powerful insights at scale and track and predict any increase in supply chain demand or disruptions.
With its move to digitalise trade documentation and accept electronic bills of lading as one of only six states globally, the Tuas Mega Port can optimise automated processes and enhance its ability to access, synthesise and deliver all types of data for greater visibility, efficiency, and effectiveness.
Global management consulting firm McKinsey says the successful implementation of AI-enabled supply chain management has enabled early adopters to improve logistics costs by 15%, inventory levels by 35%, and service levels by 65%, compared with their counterparts who have yet to do so.
That certainly seems to be the vision for Tuas Mega Port. When completed by 2042, the port is expected to have a capacity of 65 million TEUs a year, 1.5 times Singapore’s current capacity.
However, more is needed to implement new technology or automate processes. Real-time, secure, and trustworthy data is critical to assure international partners and shipping lines that Singapore can handle increasingly complex future operations.
Manouj Tahiliani is the GVP and GM for Master Data Management and 360 Applications at Informatica