After launching a Kaizen - which included voice of the customer input - the team at APM Terminals' West Africa Container Terminal’s (WACT) container freight station (CFS) in Nigeria reduced average lead time from 38 minutes to 23 minutes and reduced waiting time from 37 minutes to 23 minutes.

"WACT serves exporters and importers from East Nigeria and beyond, including regulatory authorities. Located within the port boundaries, it offers a secure location with an experienced staff to provide tailored logistical solutions that fast-track all types of Nigerian produce to the world in a just in time, efficient manner," says APM Terminals in a release.

"At APM Terminals, making every minute count is part of its constant drive to lift the standard of efficiency at its 64 terminals around the world. Lean business practices have become an integral part of the company’s DNA. This includes Kaizens, a process for regularly and thoroughly inspecting standard operating processes with a team of colleagues, and where possible, with customers to shave off the seconds, minutes and hours that translate into saved time and money for customers."

Typical customer savings of €48,000 per year
A customer processing 600 units per annum could see a potential saving of up to 42,000,000 Nigerian Naira (around €48,000) compared with using another facility outside of the port, the release added.

As a result of the Kaizen, it became clear that containers transferred to and from the CFS were registered manually – a suboptimal solution which meant operations, commercial, and shipping line customers all had a patchy view of activities. This negatively impacted planning, communication, and invoicing, the release added.

"Improvements identified for implementation include the electronic transmission of information to shipping lines, a dual cycle of terminal tractor lifting, the stationing of customs officers at CFS and the checking of empty trucks before they are transferred to the CFS yard. All of these measures have made a real impact, including improved information flow and gate process improvements."

With the improvements to the way of working at the facility, customers enjoy improved ease of use, cost effectiveness, and time efficiency for all import and export operations, the release added.

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