Internet-Linked Barge Management System

Thursday, March 02, 2000
ALK Associates, Inc. and Midland Enterprises are creating an innovative Barge Management System (BMS) to help Midland increase efficiency and competitiveness. Using the Internet to tightly integrate communications, business and systems processes on an enterprise-wide basis, BMS also offers a rich palette of e-commerce functions. Detailed design for the project was completed in January 2000, with delivery and installation slated for completion by the end of September 2000. Two primary business goals of the BMS are to improve equipment utilization and manage yield potential by analyzing new requests for service. In past years, most barge transportation services operated on long-term contracts with well-defined traffic patterns. However, recent market changes are causing complex changes, inducing barge companies to re-examine the way they do business. BMS allows Midland to match order book entries with available equipment at specific locations over a 90-day horizon. The system reduces barge cycle times by highlighting idles equipment awaiting re-assignement and curtails detention periods for loading and unloading by providing equipment on a just-in-time basis.
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