Port Taranaki is a modern port which handles diverse cargo and offers a full range of providoring, stevedoring, ship agency and government border protection services.
Theta worked with the team at Port Taranaki, to define the scope of their business requirements, identify where a new ERP system would need enhancements to accommodate the specialised business processes of the port and implemented Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015.
The ERP system is easy to maintain, integrates seamlessly with existing peripheral systems, improves business processes for efficiency, has a lower cost of ownership and is tailored to meet the needs of a busy modern port.
Theta has worked with Port Taranaki for more than ten years supporting their existing Oracle financial management system. That system was becoming increasingly costly to licence and maintain, and the port was interested in exploring alternatives that could deliver improved usability and a lower cost of ownership. They asked our specialist enterprise resource planning (ERP) team to help them analyse what was needed.
Theta’s head of ERP, Joerg Rau, comments:
“Port Taranaki is a great customer to work with. They were willing to commit to analysis up front, to document existing processes and allow us to fully understand the requirements for a new system. As a result we were able to scope and deliver a system that met all of those requirements completely.”
We identified six different scenarios that covered the different dimensions of the port’s business, and used those as a basis for a working proof of concept. We built a working prototype of the solution with interactive screens, which meant we could walk through different processes on the new system and really show how it would work.
John Lehman, Port Taranaki’s Business Services Manager comments:
“Theta showed us a solution, not just a product. This gave us confidence in the proposed approach.”
Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 gets the nod
The initial analysis phase helped us to determine that the latest version of Microsoft Dynamics NAV – 2015 – was a good fit for requirements, and could integrate well with existing systems.
This was our first implementation of Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015, and one of the first in New Zealand. Strong governance and an active, engaged project steering committee meant that we could identify, evaluate and mitigate any potential risks of implementing the new software, and still deliver the project on time and within budget. John Lehman comments:
“A collaborative approach was the key to delivering on time and within budget, with strong commitment from both our team and Theta to keep the project on track.”
In this case, working with the latest version of a great product outweighed the risks. In particular, the simplified user interface of Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 has helped to streamline implementation process, engaging the users.
With an eye to maintainability of the new system, we also employed new design patterns to minimise the code footprint, making upgrades more straightforward – again contributing to a lower cost of ownership overall.
Vessel visits process streamlined and de-risked
Previously, Port Taranaki had a separate Oracle Forms based system for handling vessel visits. This is one of the port’s key business areas, encompassing four different kinds of service: marine services, wharfage, plant hire and sundry activities. In addition, pricing for vessel visits, which varies from customer to customer, by different types of cargo (units used to calculate pricing include tonnage, length or periods) and across the services consumed, had to be calculated manually. Specific individuals held the knowledge needed to calculate and generate a customer’s invoices – a risk to the business. Bringing vessel visits inside the Microsoft Dynamics NAV platform was a key decision for this implementation, and one that delivers efficiencies and reduces risk for the port. Joerg Rau comments:
“A key element of the analysis phase was extracting all that pricing knowledge, and information about how individual customers liked their invoices to be split and delivered. Now it all resides in the new vessel visit module, inside NAV, and is accessible across the business.”
John Lehman adds:
“Dynamics NAV created the ability to centre all invoices around the specific vessel visit they related to, greatly simplifying our reporting.”
As well as incorporating vessel visits within the ERP system, our implementation of Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 integrates seamlessly and efficiently with Maximo Asset Management. This means the port can track asset costs and maintenance requirements alongside other business activities and expenditure, for a global picture of operations.
Enhancing the inbuilt reporting capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015, we’ve added Jet Reports for custom, self-service business intelligence and reporting. This gives the port increased visibility into key areas of the business, and ability to analyse areas like berth occupation and services for cargo owners. The port always wondered about trends in cargo movements, but could not easily collect the data to report and analyse this. Now, with the new vessel visits module and Jet Reports, they can see beyond the shipping agents to the underlying owners of the cargo, monitor and analyse seasonal trends, and make informed adjustments based on these new insights. Enhanced reporting delivers other benefits too, says John Lehman:
“The time it takes to produce financial and operational dashboards for management and the board has been reduced by 50%. Less time producing reports means more time to focus on running the port, developing new initiatives and optimising operations.”
- Lower cost of ownership than previous system. The port will save an estimated $100,000 in licensing costs over a three year period.
- Reduced manual processes.
- Consolidation and integration - fewer systems to navigate.
- Important customer information resides within the system rather than with individuals.
- Increased insight into cargo handled by the port.
- Improved usability.
- Maintainable, future-proof system built using standard design patterns.
- Effective tracking of expenses related to fixed assets.
- Efficient management of capitalised fixed assets and their depreciation.
- Substantial reduction in the number of general ledger account codes, from almost 150,000 down to just 573 in Microsoft Dynamics NAV, for simplified administration. This was achieved by introducing default dimensions codes and applying their rules to the chart of accounts.