Deni­garinyeoefr a bud­ding

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - NEWS - BY CLAIRE PARKER

A MA­JOR as­pect of the Univer­sity of Auck­land en­gi­neer­ing de­gree is the Sys­tems Project. This takes place for all spe­cial­i­sa­tions in both the third and fourth years. As I am in my third year, I took part in this project for the first time. In third year the project in­volves work­ing in teams of 15-20 peo­ple with a mix of spe­cial­i­sa­tions and takes place over 48 hours. This is seen as prac­tice for the fourth year sys­tems project which takes place over an en­tire week with groups of up to 30 peo­ple. Dur­ing the sys­tems project lec­tures are can­celled and teams are given a prob­lem to solve. Us­ing a sys­tems ap­proach, each team de­liv­ers a strate­gic re­port and an in­fo­graphic to sum­marise our con­clu­sions.

This year the fo­cus of the project was if the Port of Auck­land should be re­lo­cated and if so, where to. Ma­jor rea­sons for re­lo­cat­ing the Auck­land port in­clude the in­creas­ing lev­els of con­ges­tion in Auck­land City, al­ter­nate uses for the valu­able real es­tate the port sits on and lack of space for ex­pan­sion. The main op­tions we were in­structed to con­sider were leav­ing the port where it is and mov­ing the Port of Auck­land to the Port of Whangarei, Port of Tau­ranga or both. We were also en­cour­aged to con­sider an al­ter­nate op­tion, for which our team looked at build­ing a new port in Manukau. A pop­u­lar op­tion for other groups was Thames due to its po­ten­tial for ex­pan­sion.

In or­der to come to a de­ci­sion we fol­lowed the sys­tems ap­proach to solv­ing prob­lems. This started with a stake­holder anal­y­sis, where the most im­por­tant and in­flu­en­tial stake­hold­ers were iden­ti­fied. Our team’s main stake­hold­ers for this project where found to be the Govern­ment, Auck­land Coun­cil, Tau­ranga Coun­cil, Whangarei District Coun­cil, lo­cal iwi, NZTA and Kiwi Rail. The re­quire­ments for a suc­cess­ful out­come of the project were then con­sid­ered, in­clud­ing con­ges­tion con­trol, sus­tain­abil­ity and cost. Us­ing this in­for­ma­tion each of the op­tions was dis­cussed and a cho­sen op­tion was found. This lead to a vari­ant anal­y­sis which spec­i­fied the de­tails of the cho­sen op­tion, a cost ben­e­fit anal­y­sis and an over­all best fit so­lu­tion. The risks, op­por­tu­ni­ties, safety and ex­pected out­comes were then looked at to con­firm that the so­lu­tion was the best fit.

The best fit so­lu­tion we came to was a 30-year plan made up of three phases.

Phase one fo­cuses on im­prov­ing the ef­fi­ciency of the cur­rent port through au­to­ma­tion, util­is­ing the ex­ist­ing stor­age both on and off site and by de­vel­op­ing roads in Grafton to ease con­ges­tion. The next phase looks at im­prov­ing in­fra­struc­ture be­tween Whangarei and Tau­ranga. This in­cludes road de­vel­op­ments be­tween these two cities and a rail line be­tween Whangarei and Auck­land.

The third stage in­volves ex­pand­ing and op­ti­mis­ing the Port of Whangarei and North­port, which would ben­e­fit from the de­vel­op­ment of in­fra­struc­ture in phase two.

This three phase plan is out­lined in our in­fo­graphic. The ben­e­fit of this strat­egy is that it helps to im­prove con­ges­tion in Auck­land and the wider area, while en­sur­ing that the Whangarei Port is ca­pa­ble of han­dling in­creas­ing de­mand.

This project was very use­ful as it pro­vides a sit­u­a­tion sim­i­lar to a work en­vi­ron­ment. This is be­cause we were work­ing in a large team where it is im­por­tant to as­sign roles, specif­i­cally lead­er­ship po­si­tions. It is also the first time that many stu­dents are put in a po­si­tion where they must work un­der a tight time con­straint with teams of this size.

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