Case Study - Port of Tyne

A port has existed on Tyneside for over two thousand years. In modern times the Port has provided
export and import solutions for a range of industries, including coal, wool and iron-ore. In recent years,
the decline of the coal industry & other macro-economic forces have seen the Port transform itself
from an export-import facility to a multi-modal complex offering a one-stop-shop service for all types of
Approximately £! million has "een spent on the port in the past seven years in order to create a
value added service to an ever-increasing customer "ase.
In order to realise the full potential of the Port#s service, two $ey o"%ectives were set, namely the
integration and expansion of the supply chain function of the Port, and enhancement of IT systems to
deliver up to the minute information to management and customers. Thus the introduction of a
sophisticated warehouse management system has ena"led the Port#s palletised storage facilities to
expand rapidly and with the same degree of value added service as other facets of the "usiness.
The Port#s &arehouse 'ivision offers storage for a range of products from electrical goods to
refreshment snac$s, and serves a large area encompassing the (orth )ast of )ngland and *cotland.
The fruits of the expansion o"%ective are clearly visi"le. A new +!!m,s- warehouse, accommodating
a .(A /.ery (arrow Aisle0 rac$ing system, opened recently and, in total, the Port now accommodates
five separate warehouses offering 11!,!!! s-,ft storage space and 12,1!! pallet locations. &ith 3,!!
t 4,!!! transactions per wee$, the &arehouse 'ivision operates six (arrow Aisle truc$s, eight
counter-"alance truc$s, three reach lift truc$s and five power pallets truc$s. 53!,!!! pallets have
moved through the Port#s storage areas in the past year alone. In comparison, the previous
warehouse system provided %ust 2,!! pallet locations. This system was paper-"ased and wor$ed in
con%unction with standard spreadsheet software. This was a time-consuming process, and potential
for error was high due to the reliance upon hard-copy instructions.
6ecent expansion has "een made possi"le "y the installation of a new state-of-the-art warehouse IT
system. The new computer-controlled dispatch and handling system ena"les full trac$ing and
tracea"ility of palletised stoc$, and controls the replenishment of pic$ing faces, pac$ing onto pallets
and full control of despatches. The IT system com"ines AT7* *toc$Trac$ P89* warehouse
management software with radio data infrastructure and terminals from 9:-"ased ;elgravium. The
real-time functionality of the system ensures that increased volumes of cargo handled "y the Port are
managed effectively and accurately, and the rugged nature of the hardware was essential due to the
harsh port environment.
The first phase of implementation involved ;elgravium#s 6adio <re-uency system "eing introduced at
three of the Port#s warehouses. The driving force "ehind implementation of the system was the
re-uirement to increase pic$ing accuracy. Implementation was smooth and seamless, and the
"enefits of the system were recognised soon after implementation= not only was accuracy greatly
increased, a more efficient real-time environment was created. &arehouse 7anager, 6o" >indes,
recognises the "enefits of elimination of paperwor$, ?6< signals eliminate the pro"lems created "y
misinterpreted or misplaced paperwor$.@ Thus the same radio system was the natural choice for the
second phase of expansion, the opening of the new warehouse.
Aontainers are discharged at the Port#s deepwater terminal and transported to the secure container
terminal where toplifters and a reachstac$er are used to manoeuvre each container into its storage
position. An advanced "oo$ing system then allows customers to schedule the movement of specified
containers to the warehouse.
The 6< system allows containers arriving at the ?goods-in area@ of the warehouse to "e put away in a
timely and organised manner. )ach container of stoc$ is "ro$en down into individual pallets which are
la"elled with a uni-ue "arcode. A la"el printer lin$ed to warehouse management software, the
com"ined AT7* and Progress system, creates the "arcode. The "arcode la"el provides a date and
time stamp for that pallet and includes information on which area of the warehouse that pallet should
"e ta$en to for put-away. Bperatives use ;elgravium#s Ceneva hand held 6'T /6adio 'ata Terminal0
to scan the pallet to ac$nowledge receipt.
The pallet can then "e moved to the put-away position "y use of appropriate warehouse machinery.
The warehouse operative receives instructions on each pallet#s storage location via either a
;elgravium 7onaco truc$ mounted terminal or Ceneva hand held terminal. Bnce the pallet has "een
moved the operative confirms this on his terminal, and the pallet sits in location. 6elocation of pallets,
where re-uired, is also governed "y the radio data system.
*canning "arcodes eliminates the pro"lems created "y the poor spelling or $eying errors associated
with manual data entry. The real-time nature of the radio system allows all staff to determine exactly
where a particular pallet is at any time as each transaction reported on the terminals is also received
at the administrative offices within a su"-second response time. 7ore recently, customers have also
"een a"le to ta$e advantage of the stoc$ visi"ility created "y the radio system. D&e"speed# software
integrates the Internet with the radio data system and allows customers to view their stoc$ using a
standard "rowser, a further increase in time efficiency.
The warehouse division receives customer orders via fax and email. 9pon receipt the customer order
is manually $eyed into the system, along with information such as the date the order must leave the
warehouse. Brders entered on to the system are allocated against the $nown availa"le stoc$ levels,
and the *toc$Trac$ P89* software is alerted to the existence of an order re-uirement.
&hen the order is due for pic$ing, the warehouse management system issues a set of pic$
instructions for that order. The location of truc$s and stoc$ within the warehouse is cross-matched
against the scheduled pic$ and any accompanying priorities. >igh priority can "e added to an order
pic$ via manual entry onto the software system "y warehouse supervisors. The truc$ driver will
receive these pic$ing instructions via his ;elgravium truc$ mount terminal. )ach pallet is scanned "y
hand-held scanner "efore removal from its rac$ and the driver confirms that this pallet is ready for
moving. The driver then informs the terminal when the action has "een completed and the pallet is
waiting in the out"ound despatch aisle. The pallet is then scanned again as it is moved on to the "ac$
of the outgoing >C., to confirm that the order pic$ has "een completed. This final scan acts as a
prompt for the system to automatically issue a 'elivery (ote and Invoice.
6o" >indes, the Port#s &arehouse 7anager commentsE ?The 6< system has transformed the way our
warehouse operates and stoc$ throughput is at an all-time high.@
8ocation, capacity and state-of-the-art technology ma$e the Port a reference site for many companies
within the distri"ution sector. 'avid Alifford, 7anaging 'irector of the Port commentsE ?This drive
towards optimal supply chain management has "een a ma%or factor in attracting new customers,
resulting in increased traffic moving through the Port.