Shoreham Port, located five miles to the West of Brighton and Hove, is a Trust Port handling some 1.75 million tonnes of cargo annually, producing a £9 million turnover. The Port's main activities are cargo handling, fishing, leisure and a thriving property portfolio. The main cargoes handled are construction materials, such as sawn timber and aggregates, and steel, used in the manufacture of vehicle parts. The principal stevedoring company for the port is Sussex Port Forwarding (SPF) who handle cargoes on behalf of many customers.
SPF’s ageing systems were clearly falling short of the needs of both the company and their customers, with continuous system failures and increased downtime to recovery. In conjunction with Shoreham Port personnel we specified and developed a solution called Track-a-Pack to control the importing, storage and delivery of cargoes. Initially the focus was on timber, while still allowing other cargoes to be handled without software rewrites. The solution was based on wireless hand held terminals to collect the data, and bar coded labels on the physical packs to identify each individual one. Packs are now fully traced and managed both individually, and by customer, also a more rapid response can now be offered as well.
Track-a-Pack also takes account of the different grades, sizes and specifications of timber ensuring all stock is correctly stored, managed and delivered to the customer. Shoreham Port’s customers can now use the Web interface to view and make any shipping requests based on their own specific criteria, and because the stock figures are up to date it allows them to accurately plan stock levels to their customers as well.
Track-a-Pack continues to be developed adding more value and even greater benefits as time passes, allowing Shoreham Port to offer even more facilities and benefits to both existing and potential customers. The Track-a-Pack solution has helped Shoreham Port position them selves as a premier port offering a first class service.
The bespoke application was written from scratch. Sql Server was selected as the database, visual studio to write the client and hand held software.
No lost or misplaced packs of timber in a vast area of warehouses and open storage locations. Track and trace from the time the packs are offloaded from the ships to when they are sent to the customer. Customer Web portal also allows the customer to manage their own stock availability.
Sql Server Database
Hand Held Terminals
Bespoke Client Software
The project timescale mitigated against development along traditional lines - detailed specifications being produced and agreed at each stage. As a basic requirement of the system was to be the validation of information at source, it was decided to reduce the learning curve by employing George James’ Core Tracking solution as the messaging hub for the system. This freed the team to concentrate on the user interface. The system was developed using SQL Server as the backend database with a Visual Studio interface for the office PCs and hand held terminals. At the start of the project a roadmap of milestones was established - one milestone per user-delivered module. SPF established a user team to test the system as it was delivered and gradually the SPF team began to refine the requirements with experience and with the close working of the George James team. The teams met on a weekly basis to review and test progress. SPF recognized that the changes would lead to an implementation delay, the price to be paid for a system that actually met the business requirements. In the event, through sound George James project management, the system was implemented on schedule, and the success and robustness of the George James solution has led to extensions to the overall system. Recently a web interface was developed to allow their customer base to have access to their individual stock holding at the port. This has been a major sucess as the port no longer has to handle time consuming phone calls from customers asking about their stock levels.
"George James Ppovided us with an excellent system, which has grown with our business and is now vital to our everyday operation."
"The support we recieve from George James is fantastic. It is very rare we encounter issues but when we do we can rely on George James to solve them."
"Since using the system our customer service levels have really improved, due to the fact our stock accuracy is spot on."