OPMS Job Sheets
Interview with Megan Perkins
This year to date, we have rolled out 288 developments to OPMS software. Working at a pace like that, occupies our whole team in a never-ending loop of developing and testing with little opportunities to pop out of the office. Nevertheless, it’s very refreshing to occasionally take the time to discuss and analyse the completed projects.
Recently, Colin met up with Megan to reflect on the very successful Job Sheets project.
Is your organization struggling to make the switch from paper based to electronic work flows...? It might be worth it to bite the bullet and give up the old “habits”. Continue reading to see how this positively changed Go Inshore’s billing processes.
Q: Where did it all get started, when did you start working with OPMS?
I first met Colin in 2010 whilst working at Tidewater. He had once sailed with my manager at the time and was keen to present his OPMS product as a solution for managing rostering and crew competency. At the time, the industry was changing and the compliance requirements were increasing. We were keen to pursue options that offered efficiencies other than the paper based systems the industry was accustomed to. A long and productive business association formed from there.
I currently work at GO MARINE GROUP providing administrative support across a number of departments. My primary position with GO is the Project Administration Manager for a new build vessel project for INPEX. Secondarily, I am the focal person for the OPMS product across four business entities; GO Australia, GO Inshore, GO Asia and GO UK, with the overall responsibility of ensuring system efficiencies, development, trouble shooting, auditing and compliance. When and where time permits, I back fill into other roles and functions as the broader business unit requires. This capability provides me with a very sound knowledge of what our business needs and how we can create business solutions to provide better system and process efficiencies.
Q: You have used OPMS whilst working for three different companies. Why do you keep returning to OPMS?
I have been fortunate that each marine company I have worked with supported my belief that OPMS was a superior HRIS product that managed the complexities of managing marine operations with rostering and certification compliance. I haven’t come across a product that provides the same level of efficiency.
Q: In you view, what’s OPMS’s competitive advantage over other similar systems?
The biggest advantage from my view point is that the product is managed from a local level. The response time and support is always prompt. I also think that Colin’s marine background and Tiiu’s experience in this sector means that there is a greater understanding of what is required when it comes to compliance, competency and document management and rostering.
Q: You have contributed a lot over the years to the direction OPMS has taken. The last biggest project we worked together on was the “Job Sheets”. What are “Job Sheets” and who are they for?
The Job Sheet concept became a vital tool in streamlining our billing process and invoice management for a remote out port operation. The area of operation is in the small vessel space with each vessel undertaking a number of varied tasks in any given day for a range of clients. The Job Sheet tool allows the vessel to capture in time increments the task activities in real time which is fed back to the office for billing.
Q: What was the key driver for approaching OPMS and requesting for the Job Sheets function / what organizational problems were Job Sheets going to resolve?
Typical of North West towns people are transient and to some degree not always reliable, and after having to spend a couple of long stints in the regional office, when it was 43 degrees, to manage periods of absence, it was a good incentive for me to come up with a solution that not only provided redundancy but also greater efficiency in the way we managed our billing and task management reporting. Another key driver was to improve our cash flow. Using the Job Sheet tool, this has been achieved in spades, as our billing time is now reduced to less than 24 hours with an accuracy level of about 99%. The Job Sheet authorisation mechanism we have in place has seen the issuance of credit notes reduce down to almost nothing. The system provides a range of reporting that we use for budgeting and projection purposes and also give greater transparency to the business as a whole.
Q: Did these problems get resolved?
The before picture was not pretty. Aside from my frequent travels to the North West, always in the hottest time of the year, and the uncertainty all task activities were captured, there was mountains and mountains of tri-duplicate books that needed storage for a long time. Our cash flow was reliant on someone being in the office to process the paperwork. There were many a time that the office was not manned for various reason so our cash flow was strangled.
The after picture is one of greater flexibility and redundancy, with improved automated processes of many of the functions we were required to do, particularly in reporting. What, in the past took hours and sometimes days, to create, is easily accessible.
Q: Would you please tell us about the implementation and change management strategy that was utilized?
The implementation of the Job Sheet concept was mapped out for a week for each crew subset, calculating to two trips or 14 days, which ended up being an over allocation. The crew were happy to embrace the change & I had very little kick back…. Even from the salty ol’ seadogs. My perspective was, “you do internet banking don’t you???? Then you can do this for me”. Seemed to dilute their fear rather quickly.
Support by phone was available 24 hours but in reality it wasn’t needed as there were very few issues.
Q: What were the challenges, if any?
I can’t say there were any real challenges. The project seemed to gain momentum rather quickly, and whilst I cant recall exactly how long it took for the development process, it wasn’t that long before all my boats were using the function.
Q: Would you do anything differently next time?
I don’t think there is anything I would do differently. The Project as a whole was quite efficient as was the ongoing technical support.
Q: We are working with several companies who are hesitant moving away from paper based data entry on work sites to electronic data entry. The main concerns are that the electronic process is more complicated for employees to follow and requires certain level of competency using modern technology. We also acknowledge that there is a resistance to change. What would your advice be to such companies?
I can assure all who may have concerns about employees not having the competency level to manage the Job Sheet function, this is not an issue. The system is absolutely so easy to use with the back end parameters doing most of the thinking for the operator. A series of drop down boxes are used across many of the areas, reducing room for error.
Moving away from the paper based system, for our business, has been a fantastic move, reducing costs across a number of areas, not to mention the efficiencies.
Change is always challenging but this has been a positive change for our business.
Q: Have you received any feedback from the users since the inception of the Job Sheets?
My crew wouldn’t have it any other way now and I think if I asked them to go back to the old ways there would be a riot. The guys are also appreciating the efficiencies.