After Testing Records Technology Waters, Tug and Barge Company Jumps In.
Shortly after Florida Marine Transporters CIO Don Carlton installed an electronic records management system for Kimberly Hidalgo, the tow service company’s head of Compliance, he suspected there might be other department heads interested in the new software. But, when Hidalgo’s department cut dozens of hours every week from staff time spent pulling paperwork from rooms full of filing cabinets while also automating complex administrative operations with the new system, Carlton knew all department heads would be interested.
“So, we decided to go big with Laserfiche ECM,” Carlton said, referring to the new system. “I didn’t appreciate where this technology could ultimately take the company, but now that we see the way it is unfolding, we’re not thinking about where it can be deployed next, but when.”
Twelve months ago, when Florida Marine purchased RIO – the most comprehensive system Laserfiche offers – it originally opened it to just 25 of its 1,000 employees. Today more than 200 employees are logging on in the company’s three largest departments: Compliance, Dry Cargo and Fluid Cargo. With another 75 employees expected to be up-and-running by the end of the year, Carlton is now pushing to have the system working companywide as fast as possible.
FMT Embraces ECM
Florida Marine’s decision to move into electronic records technology was in part prompted by the sheer volume faced by Hidalgo’s Compliance Department. With Florida Marine’s 80 tugs and 200 barges pulling or pushing petroleum products through the country’s most challenging rivers and channels, Compliance responds to a flood of records requests from client auditors and government regulators. It was expected that converting those rooms full of paper records into electronic images would be an enormous time saver because those images could then be instantly accessed from anywhere from a centralized computer server.
However, the system also came with added software features that Carlton was eyeing when originally negotiating the RIO contract with national Laserfiche reseller Complete Paperless Solutions. For example, the system’s Workflow module offered the company the capacity to automatically forward all those Compliance Department records to auditors and regulators upon request. No more pulling, copying, scanning, emailing or snail-mailing paper files for Compliance Department staff. “We had no idea that we could so reliably automate multi-step administrative functions,” Hidalgo said. “It gave us a whole new prospective on what this technology can do for Florida Marine.”
That perspective can best be summed up as the difference between electronic records management, the technology Florida Marine was originally looking to adopt, and enterprise content management, the technology now being rolled out throughout the entire company. It’s the latter concept that Complete Paperless Solutions, (CPS) introduced to Florida Marine, Carlton says.
Instead of just turning paper records into electronic images for increased ease of access, enterprise content management uses software to move those digitized documents throughout an organization, turning the manual passing of paperwork from person to person to the computerized flow of information from decision-maker to decision-maker. It not only allows for email alerts for those decision makers, it has security features that can be automated to accommodate changing access requirements, automated indexing for ease of filing when those electronic images are archived, and automated document destruction schedules at the end of the required lifespan of those archives.
Beyond Compliance: logistics & operations
As the new system successfully navigated the channels in Hidalgo’s Compliance Department, it was expanded next into the company’s Fluid Cargo Department. Florida Marine specializes in transporting oil and gas industry-related cargo, so nearly every moving part and flowing fluid on each of the barges and tugs it operates is monitored around-the-clock. As those tugs and barges pass through the most crowded shipping lanes in the country, their movements are also closely monitored. Inspection reports on all aspects of those operations are a daily routine that is now increasingly being automated at Florida Marine. “If you do inspections on boats now, they automatically get routed to the appropriate people without someone having to make the decision of who gets what,” Carlton says. “We’re no long relying on somebody physically routing these records, the system does all the routing and filing for us.”
Taking advantage of other software modules in the new system, all the forms those inspections fill are now available on tablets carried by ship staff or port captains, eliminating another enormous source of paper from Florida Marine’s operations. This is opening the door to taking the nation’s third largest in-land tug and barge services company completely paperless, in what is one of the world most paper-laden industries, Carlton says. “We used to have cabinets and cabinets full of paper. We were killing trees by the thousands,” he says. “Now we have all the forms electronically, weather on computer or mobile device. They are all right there. No more printing them out and carrying them around.”
That’s why Carlton wants the system installed companywide as soon as possible. Florida Marine’s training department and its vessel maintenance yards are being sized up for the system, as are accounts payable and personnel. Deck hands, tankermen, and captains are all expected to make use of the system. The speed of the roll out has been greater than either Carlton or Hidalgo expected, and training has been training required for officers and staff in each of the departments. Carlton credits Complete Paperless Solutions with its ability to get department heads comfortable enough with the new system to move their staff onto it and start building workflows of their own.
CPS credits Florida Marine with understanding early the potential of the system and being aggressive in rolling it out once they felt comfortable using it. “It’s unusual to see a project move so fast, but they are pretty doggone good over at Florida Marine,” says CPS president Tom Ziencina. “Caution is important when making a move like this but when Florida Marine got the hang of it, they had the institutional knowledge to rapidly expand it throughout the company getting a much quicker return on their investment in the process.”
Carlton says being willing to delegate and get staff directly involved in the process has been a big part of that. Weekly training sessions with CPS have enabled staff in Human Resources to build their own workflows involved in the new-hire on-boarding process. Hidalgo estimates Florida Marine has about 40 workflows in place now and there does not appear to be any facet of operations that can’t, in some way, be streamlined through the new system. Still, Carlton says, the company is taking it step-by-step.
“We’re taking very fast steps,” he says. “There’s so much that we can do, now it’s just a matter of making sure that we get the maximum benefit available from the system from each department before we move onto the next department.” That includes the boats. Five of Florida Marine’s vessels have Laserfiche installed into on-board computers allowing them to share with land-based operations real-time information on the activities of each. However, the vessels still rely on cellular communications networks to transmit ship-board data and in some of the farther reaches of the Mississippi watershed, service can be spotty. That has Florida Marine considering prospects of one-day using ship-board satellite communications, but that may not be coming as quickly, as so many other aspects of Florida Marine’s operations are being lined up for conversion to the new system.
Real Utility, Real Savings
“We started out saving hundreds of staff hours every month and we might now be saving that every week,” Hidalgo says. “It’s been transformational for us, and while it’s been just a year, we’re starting to wonder how we ever got along under the old paper-based system.” The transformation has not escaped the attention of the family-owned business which has expanded almost as rapidly as the new Laserfiche system. Last year alone, Florida Marine commissioned four new tugs and one of those vessels, the M/V Kimberly Hidalgo, is scheduled to be christened in December. No doubt, when it is delivered, it will be that much more efficient, with the help the Laserfiche ECM system.
(As published in the December 2014 edition of Marine News - http://magazines.marinelink.com/Magazines/MaritimeNews)
Joseph B. Shiffert, president of North Florida Shipyards at Commodores Point in Jacksonville, Fla., has announced recent appointments to expand and strengthen the yard's extensive services to ship operators. Albert A. White has joined North Florida Shipyards as production manager and assistant to
where the nation’s intermodal equation and the infrastructure to more efficiently move freight is coming together. And, not a moment too soon.North Florida Mega Port, almostAllison Magrath is the Senior Land Planner at Kimley-Horn in Gainesville, Florida. She was Industrial Development Manager -
Coastal Tug & Barge, Inc., Miami, Fla., recently announced the completion of its newest tug, the Coastal Florida. The innovative design of this motor vessel incorporates the latest advances in marine engineering into Coastal's towing services. The 90-foot-long, 4,000-horsepower class vessel is
Government and industry will join forces on October 1 to create an oil spill on the waters of Florida's Cypress Gardens tourist attraction. That's the "bad" news. The good news is that they will clean it right up. This dramatic exercise in coping with hazardous spills is to be part of the 7 th Annual
every two days and from Miami every five days, with transit times to San Juan of less than four days. Northbound sailings from San Juan to Florida are available every second day. A fifth sister barge will be integrated into TMT's Florida/Puerto Rico operations in March. "By introducing these
treatment other than near-freezing cold treatment at sea in containers for at least 14 days to prevent fruit flies from maturing. That’s because both the Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) take fruit fly interdiction
for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division and Marcos Daniel Jimenez, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, announced that three senior cruise ship engineers were indicted by a federal grand jury in Miami, Fla., for their role in concealing the overboard dum
. Turning to corporate finance, Mr. Moran was appointed assistant vice president of finance in 1973. With Moran's acquisition of the Florida Towing Company in 1976, he was named vice president and general manager of the Jacksonville, Fla., firm. In 1981, Governor Bob Graham of Florida
The Southeast Section of The Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers inducted the newly formed Student Section from the Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Fla., into SNAME at a recent section meeting. This is the second official student section to be established in the Southeast
Marine Lines in 1971 to work in the sales department at the New York office. A graduate of Georgetown University, he was appointed vice president of Florida Towing Company in Jacksonville when that firm was acquired by Moran in 1976. He returned to New York in 1983 to become manager of Moran's Barge
also held positions in operations, special projects, labor relations and subsidiary management. In 1980, he was appointed assistant vice president of Florida Towing Co., and in 1982 he became vice president and general manager. Moran's Jacksonville operating company has since been renamed Moran Towing
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..... 14, 16 McGown, John D. .................. 48, 49 Federal Maritime Commission .. 26, 27 Mitsui ......................................... 40 W,X,Y,Z Florida Ports Council ................... 25 Modi, Nimesh .............................. 32 Wilson, Mike ......................... 28, 31 Freeport ..
above water levels in a natural disaster like a hurricane. Also, move truck, rail and cargo to safe locations, above food- is President and CEO of the Florida Ports Council. Reach him at [email protected] prone areas. CREDIT: Ares www.maritimelogisticsprofessional.com 25
PORT LOGISTICS PORT RESILIENCY IS CRITICAL TO SUPPORT LOCAL ECONOMY By Doug Wheeler n my home state of Florida, our ports support almost 1 million share r eal-time information with other ports and key state and jobs and have an annual impact of more than $117 billion. The federal agencies during and after
7479 5 Marc Johnson is CEO at BunkerTrace. Marc brings his extensive experience in product development, im- 11 Doug Wheeler is President and CEO of the Florida plementation, and management from previous roles in Ports Council. Reach him at [email protected] the energy and fnance industries. 12 Peter Whitfeld
ca and Latin America. Previously, Bar- of Kongsberg Maritime. in locations including Georgia, Central rie was Head of Global Key Accounts Florida, Louisiana and the Texas Gulf for Danfoss Drives. In a 25-year his- Coast. He earned his BS in Construc- RAL’s Harford receives Maritime Excellence
MarineNews MarineNews December 2019 Volume 30 Number 12 (ISSN#1087-3864) (USPS#013-952) Florida: 215 NW 3rd St., Boynton Beach, FL 33435 tel: (561) 732-4368; fax: (561) 732-6984 Departments Analysis New York: 118 E. 25th St., New York, NY 10010 & tel: (212) 477-6700; fax: (212) 254-6271 www.marinelink.
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Kaplan Rick Eyerdam is an award winning jour- operations. Richard can be reached at nalist and editor. Formerly, he was Editor [email protected] of Florida Shipper Magazine. Additionally, he was Executive Director of the Miami Chris Huxley-Reynard has 15 years’ River Marine Group and Captain of the
MarineNews MarineNews November 2019 Volume 30 Number 11 (ISSN#1087-3864) (USPS#013-952) Florida: 215 NW 3rd St., Boynton Beach, FL 33435 tel: (561) 732-4368; fax: (561) 732-6984 Departments Analysis New York: 118 E. 25th St., New York, NY 10010 & tel: (212) 477-6700; fax: (212) 254-6271 www.marinelink.
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or “Summer Doldrums,” were anything but in 2019. Expect more of the same in 2020. By Barry Parker 36 Who ’s Fueling Whom? A snapshot of Florida’s nascent LNG bunkering business. By Rick Eyerdam 40 S an Pedro Ports – Clearing the Air As the nation’s largest and busiest port complex
role as Head of Digi- winning journalist and editor. He is a former editor of Nicole Ventimiglia tal Learning at Informa plc, Ted leads a team responsi- Florida Shipper Magazine and has served as an adjunct [email protected] ble for creating and delivering high-value professional professor of communications
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