EDP Systems For Success

The shipping industry is demanding better and faster information utilizing electronic data interchange with all marine terminals. These demands and increasing competition are forcing all marine terminals to consider computer systems that were once the domain of only the largest terminals. These systems are now available to terminals for two reasons: powerful computers are available at dramatically reduced costs, and packaged off-the-shelf computer software systems are available. In order to obtain the full benefits of the computer system, the terminal must find a total computer solution that can be installed in its current terminal operation. Once installed, the computer system should support the terminal's growth from the current operation to as automated an operation as is economically justified. This paper examines the typical growth path for the marine terminal's computer system from simple bookkeeping needs into a computer-directed operation. It identifies three phases of growth, including the pitfalls and promise in each. From this discussion, terminal management can plot a course which will include the appropriate features in each phase.