Merry Christmas & Happy New Year
December 2017

From all of us at TBA we hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year and we look forward to working with you in 2018!  

2017
Using simulation and emulation throughout the life cycle of a container terminal
December 2017

On 4th of December in Las Vegas, TBA participated in the Winter Simulation Conference 2017 (WSC 2017) and gave a presentation on “Using Simulation and Emulation Throughout the Life Cycle of a Container Terminal”. The life cycle of a container terminal includes four important life stages: design, implementation, operation and optimisation. In order to accomplish any one of these stages it is crucial to use the appropriate approaches and tools. Two essential ingredients that help to accomplish the life stages of a container terminal are simulation and emulation. Read the full article here.

2017
9 Tips for Choosing a Warehouse Management System
December 2017

Autostore warehouse management system software can control a wide range of configurations - from conventional sites with Radio Data Terminals (RDTs) to complex High-Bay Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (ASRS). It can also be employed for raw material, work in progress and finished goods stores. As with any IT project, specifying and installing a warehouse management system (WMS) depends on many operational factors. However, the single most important thing is this: always ensure that the technology you deploy supports your business objectives rather than defining them. Here are our Top Tips for specifying a warehouse management software system: they are not exhaustive, but keep them in mind and you won’t go far wrong. 1. Do I need dedicated warehouse management system software? If you’re experiencing any (or all) of the following operational issues, then a WMS – or a reboot for your existing warehouse management control system – should be on the table: You struggle to support changing demands from your customers – these could include smaller or more frequent orders, real-time management reporting or end-to-end traceability. Stock-taking is a resource-hungry, time consuming and expensive chore. Out of date or out of stock is the rule rather than the exception. You experience picking and shipment mistakes that slow your business down, impact customer relationships and cost you money in areas like special transportation for returns. There’s no centralised control of stock that’s easy to access and orders are slow out of the door. You find it hard to defend yourself when customers tell you their order is in the wrong quantity, the wrong type, in the wrong place or out of date. 2. Be confident of the business benefits – and plan long! Know what operational issues a WMS will address and assess the return on investment – then model those benefits against your bottom line. Look at areas like: Stock accuracy, visibility and traceability. Productivity and cost savings. Customer service impacts and capability. Ability to deploy new, value-added services. A good warehouse management system will scale with your business so make sure you have a clear idea of how your warehousing operations will look over five to ten years so you get it right first time. 3. Create a project team Your project team should as large as necessary but as small as possible to maintain clarity: make sure it unites IT with operational management, warehousing and supply chain. 4. Make your WMS work for you Take a good hard look at the warehouse management options based on where you want your business to be in the future. Ask yourself whether you need: An entry-level warehouse management system. A subscription-based ‘Software as a Service’ (Saas) delivered over the Internet. Or a more robust system that you host on your premises 5. Include those end-users! You may have just a few or dozens but regardless; end-user input at an early stage is crucial. Your warehouse management system operators will vary - from your warehouse crew and operational management right through to the boardroom where management information will be key. Do make sure you poll opinion and incorporate the feedback into the specification – it’ll make WMS acceptance a breeze. 6. Research the market With over 40 warehouse management system providers in the UK market alone, it’s a crowded space and thorough supplier research will best match their capabilities to your requirements. Look for suppliers with: Experience in your market. Experience in your type of warehousing operation – for instance manual, semi-automated or automated. A proven track record delivering your size of warehouse management system application. Demonstrable financial stability – a WMS application typically has a 10-year lifespan so be as sure as due diligence can be that your chosen partner will be around for the long haul. 7. Get the tendering process right Sift the potential suppliers and aim for a tender list of three to five companies you’d like to invite. Avoid ‘mission creep’ in your WMS specification: once the spec is set, lock it – including your selection criteria. Ask for system demonstrations. Ask for reference sites and case studies – then collect your own testimonials. Insist on a client site visit that is similar in scope to the WMS implementation you are planning: the best indicator of capability is always a happy customer. 8. Costs Ensure all bidders break down the potential costs of a warehouse management system and then set your budget. WMS costs will usually include: Software license type – single site or multi-site? Single client or multi-client? Implementation/project management. Systems integration. Training & support. Development 9. Making the choice Your WMS provider is a long-term business partner providing a mission-critical element of your business. Alongside your key selection criteria (plus culture and ethos), it also pays to examine each provider’s WMS development path and the potential for innovation. Does each WMS development trajectory follow the market trends – or does it set them? If you discover it’s the latter, then you’re probably onto a good thing. If you'd like to see if Autostore WMS might be for you, please do not hesitate to contact us on TLE-sales@tba.group or by calling +44 (0)116 282 1800. We'd love to hear from you.  

2017
Innovative CommTrac software delivers for clients in the general cargo and bulk industry
November 2017

TBA Doncaster, suppliers of the bulk and breakbulk terminal operating system CommTrac, have experienced significant productivity during the period 2016 to 2017, successfully innovating the installation procedure and the software offering in response to the specific needs of each customer. TBA Doncaster installed the industry-leading CommTrac bulk TOS software solution at seven sites – within Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Africa – in total during this time. In response to customer need and market trends, the team not only designed a web-based version of their original product, but also released a Software as a Service (SaaS) option and a truly innovative ‘software in a box’ solution. The brand-new, web-based CommTrac V4 software was introduced to five locations, while two more upgraded their existing CommTrac software to this new web-based version. The advantages of the web-based system are numerous and include the ability to access the software from multiple locations in addition to enhanced support and training capabilities. In response to changing business models, TBA Doncaster created an option for customers to implement CommTrac via the SaaS model. This approach allows customers increased budgetary flexibility because they can pay a monthly license fee attributed to their operational expenditure (OPEX) rather than a substantial one-off fee that effects their capital expenditure (CAPEX). One customer required a more innovative solution still for two of their sites and TBA Doncaster met this challenge by delivering a ‘software in a box’ solution, comprising a plug and play terminal operating system (TOS) that can be used to deploy terminal management software (TMS) in the most challenging port environments. This solution incorporated the CommTrac V4 software, server hardware and integrated weighbridge all in a container kitted out as an office. Operatives from the customer site were trained in the UK and the ‘software in a box’ was shipped to the port locations for a swift operational ‘go live’. Each installation project represented a challenge for the TBA Doncaster team but the agility and resourcefulness of the company ethos put the team in an excellent position to deliver these complex implementations to their valued customers. Interested in exploring CommTrac further? Get in touch with us by emailing Glynn Thomas.

2017
CommTrac takes centre stage for TBA at industry exhibitions in October
September 2017

CommTrac, the bulk terminal operating system from IBJ award-winning TBA Doncaster, will be the focal product at two industry exhibitions attended by TBA this October. Our TBA Doncaster team will be exhibiting at: the European Commodities Exchange in Brussels from 12 – 13 Oct on Stand A9 and Breakbulk Americas in Houston Texas from 17 – 19 October on Stand 938.  Our CommTrac product enables you to plan, track and manage all bulk and breakbulk cargo, manned/automated assets and people right across your terminal or terminal network – in real time! With over 30 installations worldwide, CommTrac is a proven solution for managing your grain, agribulk, mineral and general cargo operations, providing the tools and control to maximise your operational efficiency, profitability and growth potential. Come along to either show and visit the team to find out how CommTrac can simplify your operation. Interested in exploring CommTrac further?  Visit us at Stand A9 at the ECE Brussels and/or Stand 938 at Breakbulk Americas or get in touch with us by emailing Glynn Thomas.

2017
Serious gaming for port industry during the World Port Days 1-3 September 2017
August 2017

TBA joins hands again with Port Authority Rotterdam at upcoming World Port Days.In cooperation with the Port Authority Rotterdam TBA presents a Virtual Reality game which makes users aware of the complex processes at logistic hubs. Visitors can play an especially developed World Port Days mission of simulated (real life APMT and RWG) terminals in virtual reality with the Oculus Rift. This virtual reality set up is the most advanced training game based on extensive (real case) data for automated terminals worldwide. These virtual 3D terminals have been built to train terminal personnel in near-to-live situations without disturbing the ongoing processes on a terminal.During the first weekend of September, the city of Rotterdam celebrates its port during the World Port Days. What once started as the one-day event has since grown into the Netherlands’ largest annual public maritime event, which welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors over the course of three full days. Numerous companies open their doors to public to show the latest innovations in one of the largest ports in the world. A unique opportunity to check out areas in the port that normally wouldn’t be able to accessible. Port authority Rotterdam manages, operates and develops the port and industrial area of Rotterdam.The international nature of Rotterdam is reflected in its focus on innovation. This makes Rotterdam the smartest port and the most important logistical hub of Europe and beyond. Start-ups, entrepreneurs, and investors from around the globe flock to Rotterdam to set up shop and contribute to making each day better than the last; to pave the way and address global challenges such as digitisation and energy transition in a quintessentially Rotterdam way.Experience our Virtual Reality game at the World Port Days:http://wereldhavendagen.nl/en/programma/meet-the-port-of-rotterdam-authority-at-the-wilhelminakade/

2017
How can simulations help ports and terminals?
July 2017

News article published in Harbours Review June 2017 by Remmelt Thijs, Senior Project Manager and Dr. Yvo Saanen, Commercial Director and Principal Consultant at TBA.The container industry is dynamic by nature. Due to considerable growth, the competitive situation in and between ports, and the changes in shipping line alliances of recent years, the container market has gained a certain dynamic. This is reflected at container terminals accommodating larger vessels, new combinations of shipping lines and often a step-wise growth. This growth could result in higher utilization of existing sites as well as regular expansion projects and new greenfield development for which simulation modelling can be of value. Click here to read the full article

2017
Logistics software specialists CSA and DBIS unify under a single brand - TBA
June 2017

CSA and DBIS become TBA – simplifying operations Two of the UK’s leading supply chain, automation, bulk, general and container cargo software specialists have re-branded as TBA. TBA Leicester, formerly CSA Ltd (Central Systems & Automation), and TBA Doncaster, formerly DBIS Ltd, now sit alongside Dutch sister company TBA Delft under a unified TBA brand. TBA now offers integrated solutions for the entire lifecycle of ports, terminal and warehousing operations: design, implementation, operation and optimisation. Formed in 1979, TBA Doncaster designs and installs CommTrac, the bulk, break-bulk and general cargo terminal operating system (TOS) of choice for 30 terminals worldwide. It also supplies a wide range of advanced automation solutions for the most demanding industrial environments. Both TBA Doncaster and CommTrac are multiple award-winners in the technology categories of the annual International Bulk Journal Awards. David Trueman, managing director of TBA Doncaster said: “The names are changing but our structures, management and respective customer bases remain the same. However, by coming together under the TBA brand and simplifying the way we operate, we believe we can enhance the way we serve our customers. This means adding value through complementary, end-to-end digital solutions and shared expertise that will help our customers simplify their own operations for enhanced efficiency, integration, profitability and safety – plus help them future-proof the long-term performance of their businesses”. Formed in 1988, TBA Leicester designs and installs the Autostore range – warehouse management system (WMS) and warehouse control system (WCS) solutions – for manufacturers and logistics operators plus container terminal operating system (TOS) solutions for port and inland terminal operators. Autostore WMS is a multi-award-winning technology solution as recognised by Logistics Business magazine and TBA Leicester is the recipient of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise.Andrew McKaig, managing director of TBA Leicester said: “TBA Leicester and TBA Doncaster combine over 60 years' experience delivering cutting-edge strategic control, automation and inventory management software systems that set the industry standard in supply chain and cargo management. Not only does unifying under the TBA brand signify our commitment to offering our worldwide customers class-leading solutions for their existing supply chain and terminal operations, it also expands their options for innovation as the ‘Internet of Things’ evolution gathers pace”. TBA Delft is a leading international provider of container terminal consultancy, training services and software with a client-base that includes all major terminal operators worldwide as well as large local port operators and manufacturers. In addition, TBA Delft supports the implementations of both U.K.-based sister companies, further reinforcing the company goal of providing end-to-end solutions for every TBA client. The unification of the three renowned businesses combines a stunning track record of more than 100 installations worldwide with over 1,000 successful projects undertaken, enabling consistent innovation of new software designs and unrivalled attention to customer care. For more information about our enhanced product portfolio please refer to the below contact information. Autostore WMS - mark.dorman@tba.group Commtrac - glynn.thomas@tba.group / david.trueman@tba.group Container terminal consultancy, training and software - martijn.coeveld@tba.group

2017
The car industry and our big automation hopes
March 2017

The entire automation industry is putting their money – rightfully – on the developments in the car industry. An industry many times bigger than the maritime industry. Tesla – as one of the frontrunners in car automation - makes – at least claims to make - one of the most advanced automated cars today. They introduced extensive driver’s support systems already some 2 years ago (Autopilot 1), and recently launched Autopilot 2 (see www.tesla.com), which should enable driverless driving. Autopilot 1 already offered automated cruise control, automated steering (on highways), and semi-automated overtaking. Autopilot 2 should go far beyond. Promise versus reality However, a very recent experience showed what is actually delivered today! From all the promised driver-support functions none actually worked when the car was delivered. Even worse, one of the new features (the triple camera behind the windscreen) did not work at all (which had not been tested, because..... because the software did not work. The camera replacement was not problem, but since the car’s delivery (early January), the software updates have not brought a level of driver support that Autopilot provides. No automated steering on the highway (limited to 50 km/h), no automated overtaking (even not semi-automated), and a very buggy automated cruise control. Automated parking: no. Semi-automated parking: no. State-of-the-art? This bad experience brought me to visiting one of Tesla’s competitors, BMW, who just launched the new 5 series, which should provide a major step forward in driver’s assist. So a test drive had to show where they stand compared to for instance Tesla. The experience was even more disappointing. The automated cruise control worked flawless (hey, this was introduced in 2006 already), but the autosteer on the highway was completely useless, if not dangerous – automated overtaking was not yet available, as it was not ready upon the launch. Several times the autosteer function switched off (without any sound, although the icon on the dashboard did change), and the car drove of the highway onto the emergency lane. A lighting example? Having driven a Tesla for 3,5 years now, I have experienced the software updates (great), the regression problems (not so great), the buggyness of big updates (not great at all), and the time it takes to resolve those (frustrating, especially when it concerns key functions). We should realise that our industry will eventually benefit from the car industry, but today, I could not say that they are a lighting example in terms of quality, and meeting promises. Far from that!

2017
Applying new technologies in an existing automated terminal
March 2017

This article has been published in Sector Magazine  Press here to read the article

2017
TBA Brings Leadership To Global Port Technology Industry Event Addressing Port Terminal Automation Challenges
February 2017

Industry-leading port technology resource for news and technical content, Port Technology International, follows up success of 2016 event with larger, more senior second annual meeting; Terminal Automation & Training C-Level Networking Conference. The Terminal Automation & Training C-Level Networking Conference 2017, taking place on April 19-20 in London, will bring thought leaders in the automation and training sectors of the port industry to do business, network and discuss the stages of terminal automation, implications on port staff training and the need for simulation to facilitate this.   Yvo Saanen about last years conference: "Inspiring event, with a highly interactive audience; covering a lot of ground in the area of automation" Speaking at the announcement of this year's conference, James AA Khan, Managing Director at Port Technology, said: "We have all seen the huge and growing investment in automation made by our industry over the last few years, as a means of staying competitive and driving the sector forward, but what has lagged behind is investment in training. This is where operators can really differentiate themselves from the competition, ensuring they have the best people to take advantage of these new automation technologies.” To find out more about the importance of the industry meeting C-level event, visit www.porttechnology.org/conference

2017