Working for a multi-national organization such as BPD Zenith brings its own perks and specializing in a niche area such as IBM Maximo in the Asset management space, you are bound to be exposed to some excellent opportunities. I was presented with a secondment to work for our BPD Zenith Canadian office on a Maximo enhancement project. Now, the prospect of an overseas official assignment can be quite an intimidating one – depending on the duration, the place you are heading to and of course, what value addition will the project bring to your career. If it is a great assignment during which you are travelling alone and heading for one of the most tourist-friendly island towns, you would take it.
First up, I landed in Calgary, Alberta to the BPD North America headquarters. Accustomed to a tropical and temperate climate all my life, strolling late night on a snowy evening at -11 Celsius proved to be a challenge but nevertheless, I survived.
I was introduced to some of our BPD Canadian team members and per the omnipresent Canadian politeness, the team were incredibly warm and welcoming. It was great to see the vast expertise of the team, the range of projects with IBM Maximo and IBM Anywhere implementations, and the industry base covered extensively in the Oil and Gas sector. They are also taking on other great initiatives such as hosting MaxTECH which is the first platform of its kind started by BPD Zenith.
MaxTECH is a dedicated and free Maximo Technical User Group aimed at all technical individuals including Maximo Administrators, Developers and Technical Support staff. The purpose of the user group is to discuss a Maximo topic at length and showcase how new ideas can be executed. It is a great place for users to ask and answer technical questions, learn from each other, collaborate, and help improve Maximo in their respective organizations. For any Maximo technical or functional queries, you can submit it here.
The project – Maximo enhancement
Our client is the largest passenger ferry line operator in North America and second largest in the world, operating a fleet of 36 vessels. They were using IBM Maximo for a range of operations alongside numerous other enterprise applications. I was based in Victoria, British Columbia for the entire duration of the project, and ably supported by the wider delivery team.
The purpose of the Maximo enhancement project was to replace a limited and outdated standalone application on the vessels and terminals in addition to some manual tasks with the functionality in Maximo for centralized control. We utilized their existing Maximo Implementation along with the Maximo HSE add-on to provide the basis for configuration of the Operators log functionality within core IBM Maximo. In particular, the out-of-box Operator Log was the base application on which the current functionality was configured.
In utilizing Operator Log to provide much of the required functionality and back-end configurations, we avoided duplication of effort and leveraged existing features where possible to streamline the implementation thus providing the most cost-effective approach for the solution.
There are connectivity challenges while the vessels are in transit so there was a mobile solution implemented on top of the Maximo design. The mobile app would work in offline mode when the vessels were out of network range and provide the capability to download the required data, enabling users to complete the necessary functions. When connectivity is available, the device will automatically synchronize with Maximo to update the onshore solution.
We took an agile approach to design and built the solution delivering it in 2 halves on functional divisions. The Maximo enhancement solution prototype was built and reviewed thoroughly with all stakeholders before the actual implementation and rigorous user acceptance testing.
The major processes covered by the solution were:
- Drills Management and Records
- Employee Records & Competencies Management
- Food Handling / Temperatures and Thermometers (including storage) Monitoring and Recording
- Handover by shift to the next
- Inspections and Audits on the vessels
- Vessels Licences and Certificates
- Lost and Found items management
- Maintenance Checklists – Daily operation Notes / Checklist
- Requisitions of the items
- Team Meetings including designated task owners and deadlines
The most intriguing part for me personally was to interact with the fleet captains, engineers and other crew members from Deck, Engineering and Catering departments as well as Terminal operations to become familiar with their requirements and learn how to add further value to their system with a strong focus on providing ease of use.
The Maximo enhancement solution was well accepted by all stakeholders and was instrumental in providing operational improvements, including:
- Management of safety drills to be in compliance with the regulatory requirements
- Competencies tracking with timely reminders for expiry
- Time Efficient Day to day operations with logs history
- Vessels certificates and licenses tracking with renewal notifications
- Working solution even in transit without connectivity with offline mode mobile solution
When you are in Canada, you must visit both the bustling downtown and the vast stretches of wilderness in the countryside. I explored a fair bit over the weekends with short trips mostly in the British Columbia region including the Rocky Mountains bordering Alberta, Vancouver, wineries in Prince George, Victoria, hiking in Tofino and the tranquil waters and picturesque views around Banff. Furthermore, the New Year break with a flair in the Caribbean made it an unforgettable tour. I just missed out to meet the Polar Bear and Moose this time.
Overall, it was a very enjoyable experience from getting to know the global team to overcoming new challenges that will serve as great lessons to drive me forward. I am eagerly waiting to be part of many more assignments like this in the future.