Increase port efficiency by using Value Stream Mapping
Port operators are experiencing pressure to improve operational efficiency and reduce costs. One option could be to implement Lean Production concepts and thereby working with continuous improvements. In a collaboration between SSPA and Chalmers University of Technology, Value Stream Mapping was applied to four different seaport container terminals of varying sizes. Several improvement areas were identified and the project provided the terminals with improvement proposals to increase their efficiency, including increasing the collaboration between actors and consider to automate certain processes in the handling of containers.
Many ports have quite similar operations in their container terminals, however other factors such as systems and choice of equipment differ and affects performance of the ports. A method of choice, from Lean Production is value stream mapping, aiming to map all activities and how they are performing in a structural matter. Value stream mapping is popular within the manufacturing industry and can also be used in seaport context, with some adjustments.
In the study conducted in a collaboration between SSPA and Chalmers University of Technology, the method was found to be applicable. The method was applied to four different seaport container terminals of varying sizes. Several improvement areas were identified and provided the terminals with improvement proposals in order to increase efficiency in the studied terminals. The terminals are generally recommended to assess their need of equipment with better capacity and standardize their current working procedures. As a long-term solution, implementing automated container handling and transportation technology is recommended to obtain more synchronized flow and to eliminate human errors. In addition, better collaboration between involved actors are crucial to obtain better levelled and coordinated flows.
—“Value stream mapping is a powerful and easy tool to comprehend, and the study indicates that this tool can be applied to other kinds of operations in seaports such as Ro-Ro and Bulk”, says Christian Finnsgård, Vice President and Head of SSPA Research.
Photos and illustrations
The figure illustrates the three steps in Value Stream Mapping; the current state map, analyzing/assessing the current state map and the future state map (improved current state map).
In collaboration between SSPA and Chalmers University of Technology, Value Stream Mapping method was applied to four different seaport container terminals of varying sizes.