Tank Storage Magazine talks to Implico CEO Tim Hoffmeister about ongoing structural reorganisations within the oil and gas industry, the need for a standardised supply chain and the upcoming online check-in for trucks at tank farms.
DIGITALISATION is still on everyone’s lips. What is your understanding of the term ‘digitalisation of the tank storage industry’?
Terminal management has come a long way. And yet, we are currently in the starting blocks again – ready to head into a new era of digitalisation. Whereas a terminal management system mainly had to function in the past, it now also has to be smart. Learning, thinking and making decisions have become fundamental parts of its functionality. The key to this is data – arguably the most valuable resource in our industry. In the time to come, one of our biggest challenges will be to use the information at our disposal appropriately. Gather them, sort them, curate them, share them, leverage them to the fullest. It is essential to understand why digitalisation is done and what benefits it brings. And the benefits are plenty. In a fast-moving and ever-changing environment, a fully digitised business grants agility, flexibility, security and ease. Digitalisation enables companies to stay ahead of the curve, react to unforeseen events swiftly and make the most of their operations at any time. This is especially important in times that see an ongoing fragmentation of the supply chain on account of structural reorganisations and strategic realignments.
The two apps that you have just presented to the market are getting a lot of attention. Can you explain to us how they are driving digitalisation?
Our vision for the digital downstream future is an across-the-board architecture of easy-to-use web services for all supply chain processes with multiple participants. The recently certified apps Connected Truck and Connected Depot are part of this idea. With these apps, we are taking an important step towards our vision of a fully digitalised, intelligent downstream supply chain. The increase in process optimisation for tank farms and carriers is immense.
Can you tell us more about these solutions you built?
Connected Truck establishes a direct link between dispatching and transport planning systems and the truck driver via mobile devices. This heaves the trip planning and reconciliation for bulk deliveries to a new level, rendering the whole process more transparent and efficient for all parties involved. Connected Truck is available for Android and iOS.
Connected Depot revolutionises truck handling in tank storage facilities. Via the new cloud-based functionality ‘Online Check-in’, it simplifies and streamlines product loading in oil, gas and chemical terminals. Since it is easy to integrate with trip scheduling and terminal management solutions, Connected Depot ensures a seamless process from planning to execution across a variety of customers and terminals. The functionality supports both web-based and mobile input by the driver. Alternatively, it can be integrated with fleet transport scheduling systems.
What specific improvements can tank farm operators, dealers and carriers deploying Connected Truck and Connected Depot expect?
Connected Truck and Connected Depot improve logistics processes for terminal operators and carriers alike, saving them time and money. The apps provide higher efficiency, increased transparency, full control and seamless integration of supply chain participants. By doing so, they help to shorten the entrance-to-exit process significantly. At the same time, they render it more secure.
Can you specify this for carriers and drivers?
Connected Truck supports trip execution by mobile features, eliminates information gaps and provides realtime process visibility for drivers and planners. The customers benefit from a bi-directional communication between scheduler and driver as well as advanced fleet tracking and monitoring. Also, they receive full transparency of the delivery status. Load results, unload results and trip event information are available in real time at any point.
What about the benefits on the depot side?
By integrating all supply chain participants, Connected Depot boosts efficiency and security for carriers, drivers, terminal operators, stockowners and all other involved parties. The overall process improvement leads to efficient logistics and reliable supply of end-customers. As they see truck arrivals and loading plans early on, terminal operators can make better and more accurate plans. Carriers, on the other hand, benefit from the prevention of driver input errors at the gate. And they also no longer need to worry about failed terminal load attempts – which are now being eliminated by proactive verifications. Additionally, faster entrance handling boosts trip performance. Another group that gains advantages from Connected Depot are the drivers. They profit from improved entrance handling and minimised queuing at the terminal gate. Plus, they now receive realtime information about trip-related issues at the terminal.