6 ways Wallenius Wilhelmsen supports a digitalised supply chain

From innovative software and real-time data to digital tools, the integration of technology is changing the world of logistics and driving the digitalisation of supply chains globally. Keeping pace with this emerging trend, we’re ramping up our digital capabilities to continue to support customers with innovative logistics solutions.

Vehicle processing employee uses Microsoft HoloLens technology

With more businesses embracing the benefits of digitalisation, end-to-end supply chains are set to become even further integrated across the value chain in the future and technology will be a key enabler of this.

At Wallenius Wilhelmsen, we’re deploying innovative software solutions and data to drive efficiency in our operations, reduce waste and support the transition to a digitalised supply chain. Here are some of the ways we’re developing our digital capabilities:

1. Cloud based terminal operation systems to boost efficiency

As visibility becomes a more mainstream requirement in outbound supply chains, sharing information is paramount.

Evolving towards technologies that support the sharing and aggregation of data seamlessly across the supply chain is central and moving to a cloud-based future is key to delivering this, says Simon White, chief digital officer at Wallenius Wilhelmsen.

“We’re running cloud-based solutions to support our terminal operations and have already started a programme to roll out similar technologies across our equipment processing business,” he explains.

The implementation of iTOMS, a cloud-based operating system, in our owned terminals around the world is already helping to streamline processes by giving a real-time view of cargo flow. The system enables shippers to see when their cargo is being discharged from a vessel and notifies truckers when it is ready to be picked up, helping to support a seamless supply chain.

“We are heavily integrated with our customers’ systems and by doing this we are able to provide aggregated data to them in a visual dashboard so they can see where their cargo is located at any time,” says Courtney Burkhart, vice president of technology services for Europe and Oceania at Wallenius Wilhelmsen.

2. Visibility, predictability and resilience across the supply chain

As more activities across the supply chain are digitised, access to data is helping to improve capabilities to visualise the status of cargo and to correct potential issues before they happen.

“Data gives you the insights you need to stay one step ahead and foresee the potential impact of events on your supply chain as well as supporting more efficient planning,” says White. “Expectations around visibility, predictability and resilience in outbound supply chains are quickly becoming as important as they have been in inbound supply chains for some time.”

In an effort to improve visibility not only in our own network but across the wider supply chain, Wallenius Wilhelmsen is rolling out a new visibility solution with capabilities to ingest data from a multitude of sources, for example telemetry. We are also integrating new transport management capabilities to manage, optimise and coordinate the flow of products and information across various supply chain activities and partners.

Our ambition is to digitally connect, stream and collect data from all our physical operations and use this to drive efficiency across the supply chain.

Simon White

Chief digital officer, Wallenius Wilhelmsen

3. Efficiency and sustainability through connecting assets

One Operation, our digital transformation programme, captures, transmits, processes and analyses data from our vessels.

To date 61 vessels are live streaming data from onboard systems and sensors via IoT Edge solutions to the cloud. Aided by Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence we are gaining insight into an array of vessel performance metrics. More importantly, we are then able to apply these to our onboard operations to improve the operational efficiency across our fleet.

“Our ambition is to digitally connect, stream and collect data from all our physical operations and use this to drive efficiency across the supply chain,” says White.

Crucially this data will help us to save energy and reduce emissions.

4. Mixed reality technology to solve problems faster

With the pandemic often making it impossible to move our experts to where they are needed, remote assistance tools and mixed reality technology are proving invaluable.

Our terminals and processing centres in the US, Japan and Australia are already using HoloLens, a remote mixed reality technology developed by Microsoft, to assist with product handling as well as perform remote E-audits to aid complex operations.

Using a mixed reality head-mounted device, customers and technicians can collaborate in real time with our team from any location in the world.

There is the potential for this technology to perform an array of tasks, such as re-starting a vehicle with assistance from the carmaker, or working live with a manufacturer to ensure specialist breakbulk is correctly lashed, all of which helps to keep products safe and supply chains running smoothly.

5. Sensor technology for reliable handling solutions

Our fleet of handling equipment ensures customers’ products are safely loaded before shipment, but having this equipment readily available is crucial in driving efficiency across the supply chain and ensuring on-time delivery. Automating tracking of our units is one way to guarantee this.

That’s why we’re currently trialling GPS-enabled trackers to help determine the exact location of our handling equipment units to save time and ensure equipment is always available.

This data will also be used to improve the accuracy and timelines of our track and trace and visibility solutions.

6. Investing in technologies to support the supply chain of the future

Innovation is key to transitioning to a digitalised supply chain and it is at the heart of our Digital Accelerator programme, which provides the expertise and ecosystem to take ideas from the drawing board to the real world.

Partnering with mature start-ups, this programme explores ways to adapt and combine technologies being used in other industries to support our business and offer more integrated logistics solutions to our customers.

“Our digital strategy is premised on working with an ecosystem of partners that not only complement each other, but more importantly help to create new opportunities that no one element of this ecosystem could do alone,” says White. “By combining our respective capabilities and strengths, we can bring new solutions to market faster.”

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