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Case Study

Unlock­ing Port Per­for­mance: Empow­er­ing Employ­ees for Pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and Success



Port oper­a­tions involve a wide range of activ­i­ties, includ­ing car­go han­dling, ves­sel oper­a­tions, stor­age, trans­porta­tion, cus­toms clear­ance, and admin­is­tra­tive tasks. Pro­duc­tiv­i­ty improve­ments in these areas can lead to sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fits in terms of cost effi­cien­cy, faster turn­around times and eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment among others.


As part of its ongo­ing pro­gramme of invest­ment and improve­ments, a major inter­na­tion­al con­tain­er port brought in Renoir Con­sult­ing to assist them in get­ting bet­ter util­i­sa­tion and pro­duc­tiv­i­ty to opti­mize their assets. With an annu­al capac­i­ty of over 1.5 mil­lion TEU’s, and over 1,000 employ­ees the chal­lenges were significant.

The con­tain­er port oper­a­tor had made sig­nif­i­cant invest­ments in soft­ware and new cranes & gantries. What hadn’t hap­pened was the expect­ed rise in port per­for­mance. The Oper­a­tor turned to Renoir for assistance.

A 3‑week analy­sis con­vinced both Renoir and the Client that sig­nif­i­cant oppor­tu­ni­ties were avail­able for improve­ment. Renoir rec­om­mend­ed a pro­gram to achieve an ini­tial mile­stone of a 10% pro­duc­tiv­i­ty improvement.


A Task Force com­prised of select­ed Port staff under­went an inten­sive 5‑day “boot camp” train­ing to pre­pare them as key agents for change dur­ing the sub­se­quent Focus Process®. To fur­ther sup­port the required changes, detailed train­ing was pro­vid­ed to over half of the work­force, result­ing in reduced resis­tance to change.

This train­ing also fos­tered a bet­ter under­stand­ing and appre­ci­a­tion of each employ­ee’s role and inter­con­nect­ed respon­si­bil­i­ties, lead­ing to a strong sense of account­abil­i­ty and own­er­ship of per­for­mance. As one Task Force mem­ber com­ment­ed, “Our train­ing aimed to cul­ti­vate excel­lent rela­tion­ships among all involved employees.”

In addi­tion to the com­pre­hen­sive train­ing, employ­ees at all lev­els of the busi­ness par­tic­i­pat­ed in obser­va­tions of oper­a­tions in their respec­tive areas. They were then guid­ed in Sys­tem and Process map­ping to facil­i­tate cri­tique and brain­storm­ing of oppor­tu­ni­ties and solu­tions. Bal­anced Score­cards were devel­oped, and employ­ees received coach­ing to help them adapt to the new ways of doing things.


After a thor­ough ground-up analy­sis, two new sys­tems were devel­oped and implemented.

First­ly, a Revi­sion Ves­sel Mon­i­tor­ing Pro­gram was designed to mon­i­tor, 24/7, the key per­for­mance indi­ca­tors across the entire port. Staff and man­age­ment can access the mon­i­tor the data real-time, which pro­vides excel­lent and time­ly infor­ma­tion to gen­er­ate new insights and fix prob­lems at root-cause level.

Sec­ond­ly, an Account­abil­i­ty Pro­gram mon­i­tors every employee’s per­for­mance on a vessel-by-vessel basis. One may think that this sur­veil­lance sys­tem embod­ies a repres­sive sys­tem imple­ment­ed by com­pa­ny man­age­ment, but noth­ing could be fur­ther from the truth. Both employ­ees and the union have been heav­i­ly involved in the design of this sys­tem with many sug­ges­tions and ideas com­ing straight from the work floor. In fact, it has become a pos­i­tive focal point that has spawned healthy com­pe­ti­tion between staff and has lead to a major increase in employ­ee morale and satisfaction.

By the end of the 25-week pro­gram, pro­duc­tiv­i­ty had improved by 15%, with per­for­mance con­tin­u­ing to improve. As a result, cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion improved as deliv­ery times decreased markedly.

“ Now I have the courage to sug­gest to my boss what the real prob­lem to solve is. I’m going to help my col­leagues increase quay crane pro­duc­tiv­i­ty by giv­ing them cor­rect infor­ma­tion and by com­mu­ni­cat­ing clearly. ”



15 % 

Increase in port oper­a­tion productivity 

Great­ly improved employ­ee morale 

Increased cus­tomer satisfaction 


Pro­vid­ing clear vis­i­bil­i­ty into per­for­mance met­rics, fos­ter­ing a cul­ture of own­er­ship, and pro­mot­ing con­tin­u­ous improve­ment will make your work­force thrive. There is no real secret here, although this approach is not used near­ly often enough. Ask your employ­ees how they can per­form bet­ter and how they would like to work, design the sys­tems and process­es togeth­er, so that every­one owns the solution.

Trust­ing employ­ees to make informed deci­sions based on real-time data cre­ates a dynam­ic and engaged team that is aligned with com­pa­ny goals. These ben­e­fits of a moti­vat­ed and empow­ered team will dri­ve pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, effi­cien­cy, and inno­va­tion for your busi­ness for years to come.

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