Case Study – Barbados Port Authority
The Barbados Port Authority (BPA) is a government agency which regulates shipping into the island. Established in 1979, it is a statutory body whose mandate is to plan, build, develop and maintain a high standard for the Barbados seaport.
The Government of Barbados commissioned a study of reform and expansion of the Bridgetown Port. Several working papers, issued as part of the study, concluded that the BPA required assistance with further development and implementation of its management information system (MIS). It was believed that information technology at the BPA that complemented important reform initiatives could help the port improve customer service, lower its cost profile, and, provide superior management systems. A number of issues had been identified, namely,
- the appropriateness of existing hardware and environmental software (LINC) as a platform for the future,
- the suitability of the Cargo Control and Tracking system, and ACCPAC General Ledger and Accounts Payable software,
- the application development environment,
- the introduction of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) to communicate with shipping agents and companies, other ports, and Customs and Excise, and,
- how to best provide the BPA with an information technology tool to support cost and performance management initiatives being introduced as part of the reform program.
Nicom Maritime undertook a Management Information Systems Review.
- IT Consulting Services
- IT Strategic Planning / Operational Review
The resultant information systems plan outlined a steady two year execution strategy, paralleling other port enhancement projects. The plan consisted of six inter-related sub-projects, each with a beginning and an end. These projects included on-site training and mentoring designed to equip MIS and user staff with the knowledge and experience to effectively use contemporary information technology. These sessions were introduced to improve training levels and, because of their structure, would have given participants the opportunity to practice under a mentorship program, easing the transition.
The improved methodology would have introduced a new level of professionalism and discipline into the work of MIS and the user/department interface. In some cases, manual tasks would be eliminated and new activities added to support the new information systems. The proposed technology was built on the existing base with no change in the core hardware, saving the BPA additional monetary expenditures. The proposed plan moved the BPA towards a standard, more user-friendly graphical interface and a client server environment consistent with general information technology trends. Off-loading some of the work from the mainframe to the desktop within the client server technology, and using contemporary desktop tools, would help relieve some of the systems development load on MIS.
To ensure this extensive work plan moved forward as smoothly and as timely as possible, the working paper recommended overall project supervision by consultants.