Andrie Paper Mate

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Andrie provides marine transportation logistics in the petroleum, chemical, and cement industries. Andrie operates over 12 vessels in the North American Great Lakes from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Chicago, IL. Utilizing the Kentico Xperience based application developed by BizStream they generate reports, invoices and review analytics on their vessels every trip. The data recorded in the Andrie Paper Mate application includes a wide range of information, including cargo statistics, vessel efficiency data, bookkeeping, and fuel consumption. Ship data is reported back, in near real-time, to Andrie's headquarters located in Muskegon, MI. headquarters in near real-time. Moving to a digital rather than traditional paper logging has allowed ship personnel to concentrate their efforts on safety-sensitive operations rather than on documentation and data recording.

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A Kentico Xperience Case Study

Previously, a very manual, paper-based system was in place to record vessel data. Analyzing that data was time and labor-intensive. Andrie knew they needed to move to a digital system to improve efficiency. In a typical business, with a standard network, this would have been a straightforward solution. However, vessels traveling through the Great Lakes, are often out of range of a cell phone tower, and therefore have no internet connection making real-time reporting problematic.

Goals

  • Andrie had an idea of how an application could be used to remove manual entry and processes but didn't know how to design or create it.
  • They needed an application that could work even without guaranteed internet connectivity.
  • Andrie wanted to move from an all paper-based form system to a digital one.
  • The solution needed to integrate with SharePoint Online and Excel.
  • The solution needed to be able to be utilized on their other vessels
  • Vessel data needed to be in sync if Andrie headquarters required a new report.

Challenges

  • At the start of the project, none of the vessels had a local network for users to use the application. 
  • Andie was unsure how to create an application that would be used in multiple locations on each boat. They wanted users to be able to input data in numerous locations on each of the large vessels.
  • BizStream assisted Andrie with digitizing over 40 previously paper-based forms and report by creating a database schema to standardize the data collected.

Solution

The custom application BizStream developed for Andrie is known as, Andrie Paper Mate (APM). This project isn't an ordinary Kentico Xperience website; it is a unique Xperience application solving a number of issues. 

  • BizStream whiteboarded a solution that involved installing Kentico Xperience on each vessel as it traveled the great lakes.
  • Each vessel needed a local network with one server on each vessel that would host the Xperience-based application.
  • Every workstation/laptop connects to the network from anywhere on the ship. 
  • That local network would represent a vessel on a trip. As each vessel progressed through its voyage, the ship crew would track the information required directly in the application. Data would be stored locally on the vessel until an internet connection was available.
  • An additional instance of Kentico Xperience was installed on a private cloud location that would serve as the data collection point for Andrie's headquarters. Data collected from each vessel would then be pushed to a Microsoft Office 365 SharePoint Online site at Andrie headquarters. This would allow headquarters not to have to rely on email or fax communication to see the set of forms that each vessel creates during a trip. 
  • BizStream untilized Xperience's Roles and Permissions feature. This feature would allow users to only make authorized updates in the application based on their role. Roles were broken out by the user's rank, such as Captain, First Mate, Second Mate, Engineer, etc. 
  • BizStream created a custom set of scheduled tasks that would synchronize the data to the main private cloud installation of Kentico when each vessel came in contact with an internet connection throughout the journey, or at a port. 
  • BizStream used Kentico Xperience as an application platform because of its ability to easily integrate anything using the built-in REST service, robust C# API, and out-of-the-box control of security roles and permissions.
  • The application was created from the Xperience foundation and customized to be a full data-centric web application that uses advanced technologies including:
    • Angular JS
    • Office 365 SDK
    • SharePoint SDKs

We are very excited in the fact that by using the application that BizStream created for us we were able to reduce the need for a Mate (full-time employee) from the operation of the Karen Andrie vessel. This saves us on cost, every day of the year because we are a 24/7 operation.

Jeff Musselman - Project Coordinator, Andre Inc.