25 October 2019 – Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) alumnus Zhang Kaixiang and his project team were named one of 12 global finalists at EY’s Better Begins With You award ceremony held in Berlin, Germany on 12 December 2018.
Better Begins With You is a global award programme to recognise outstanding employees of global accounting firm Ernst & Young (EY). Award categories include driving exceptional client service, strengthening communities, pursuing innovation and creating exceptional EY experiences. A total of 12 global finalist teams and three winners were selected for the international award after a six month nomination and judging process. Kaixiang and his team also won the ASEAN regional winner award in the “Pursuing Innovation” category.
Kaixiang completed his MSBA programme in 2017 and joined EY as a data scientist after his graduation. Together with a team of data scientists and architects, Kaixiang and his team devised three solutions to help their client – an international port company – reduce miscalculations in vessel arrival timings and the logistical errors that occur from the miscalculations. One of the three solutions the team came up with was to develop approximately 20 artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning models to predict the arrival of vessels 14 days in advance, as well as to predict the resources needed for the vessel’s arrival and any potential choke points that might occur in the port yard. The team collaborated with their client to use historical databases that helped inform their AI model with variables such as tidal patterns, vessel sizes and past variations in arrival times.
By incorporating these historical trends with satellite navigation and the vessels’ declared arrival times, the team’s model was able to approximate more accurate arrival times than the port operator’s previous system. These solutions helped increase the port’s efficiency and created substantial cost savings within four months of the team’s initial proposal. Kaixiang and his team were also able to increase vessel prediction by 3% beyond their client’s benchmarks and generate approximately US$10.2 million in savings. Furthermore, their client used the advanced data analytics techniques devised by the team to drive operational changes in building their intelligent ports. As a result of the team’s success, Kaixiang and his team clinched an additional major project from their client and their subsequent project won the top three prizes at the client’s internal global innovation competition.