Our client is the leading U.S.-flag Ro-Ro (Roll-on Roll-off) carrier operating liner services in the International trades. The company provides port-to-port and end-to-end transport of heavy vehicles, helicopters and other equipment for the U.S. government and its various agencies. They also carry agricultural and construction equipment for developing nations, Federal Transit Administration public transportation cargoes, U.S. Export-Import Bank preference cargoes, and other commercial break-bulk and Ro-Ro business. The client is a participant in the U.S. Government’s Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Program (VISA), and is committed to meeting the needs of the Department of Defence in peacetime or in time of national emergency. All operator’s vessels are under contract in the Maritime Security Program (MSP).
The client has decided to cooperate with Transition Technologies PSC as we have established a relationship at a partnership level, and we were able to guarantee a stable, long-term cooperation. TT PSC has shown a great deal of involvement in transparent communication at the level of laying cooperation rules down. It made it possible for the client to start making projects with the use of R&D work outsourcing model, in a way which guaranteed security of intellectual property, transparent communication and stability of the results provided. For the sake of the project, a team, including qualified specialists, has been created in consultation with the client. Transition Technologies PSC team has taken a great challenge of building a new innovatively integrated system for key business processes operational management in sea transport of Roll on Roll off type.
The key challenge was acquiring new knowledge and skills in the field of sea transport of a precise type, Roll on Roll off, which is focused on transporting Ro-Ro and vehicles (passenger cars, trucks, military equipment or railway carriages). Based on that, they have created an innovative system which optimally integrates above mentioned aspects of business processes. Special work has been done in order to gain the knowledge and find new methods of creating an optimum scheduling for many transport units which are in constant move, in the context of planning specific transport relocation (so called ‘voyage’). Additionally, it was required, as a part of the project, to devise an optimum technical lifetime cycle matching the market requirements, with the use of the above mentioned scheduling (for example, it is required to relocate a great number of special-purpose military vehicles as soon as possible, between continents, with the use of minimum transshipping between transport units as well as with minimum interference with the rest of transport units and cargoes registered in the system).
Assumptions and solutions applied
From the really beginning, the assumption of the project was to create a totally new system, so called ‘greenfield implementation’. The client has carried out an analysis of already existing solutions, regarding their best practice, and it has proven that the best solution would be to create an innovative product from scratch. The products should be optimized in terms of functionalities so that it could improve users’ operational efficiency. Transition Technologies PSC has built a small team which included well-qualified specialists, whose work was organized in SCRUM methodology. The developers team had a full autonomy in designing a system which meets requirements provided and devised by Product Owner on the client’s part. It allowed delivering efficiently consecutive iterations which were available for inspection of key system users.
To reach the aim of the project, there has been implemented a system based on central database and two client’s applications. They are applications of desktop type and realize function of so called ‘fat client’, implementing a great deal of business logics. One of them is an application which is used to configure, administrate and manage reference tables – Config Ocean. The second one is an application whose users are people dealing with main business processes in the company.
Main Ocean application carries out the following business processes:
• Voyage planning and scheduling, including plenty of transport units in the company.
• Managing cargo technical life from the moment of booking until delivery to the customer.
• Managing transport documentation and automatic service quoting.
Those processes are integrated with each other by means of business rules which have their origins in international sea transport standards and regulations.
Additionally, a special attention has been paid to designing and implementing a unique user’s interface which innovatively optimizes the service ergonomics of implemented processes and functionalities.
The whole system has been created with the use of Microsoft technology, including MSSQL, .NET with addition of DevExpress WPF and Citrix virtualization.
The implemented system has replaced the foregoing solutions used by the client for realization of listed key business processes, with far lower expenses in comparison to implementation of other market solutions, which, in fact, could never be optimized as much as it has been achieved in the project described. The implemented system is going to be developed in order to realize land transport processes as well as to be implemented in other transport companies related to the client, as a standard of software for transport service.
The client has appreciated the role of Transition Technologies PSC as a technology guide and has put trust in the team as for the choice of the right technologies used for the project. The rules of cooperation that have been developed, made it possible to efficiently communicate within the project with the use of safe medium of data exchange and allowed for continuous progress monitoring. The client was able to control the direction of project’s progress efficiently, which was exceptionally significant for him in order to achieve the goals set.