Crystal Decisions’ Crystal Enterprise application is being put to good use at the Port of Napier, where shipping companies and other clients are accessing reports on container status in real time.
The reporting facility has been particularly useful since the Customs department introduced new regulations this year requiring overseas-bound containers to have a customs export delivery order, says Dennis Carter, central regional operations manager for P&O Nedlloyd NZ, a Port of Napier customer.
“As a result of the new requirements, the port wrote a report that we can go into and check.
“A week before the new regulations came in, the trial reports were there for us to look at and now that it’s been implemented, our people go into those reports regularly.”
Receiving that report enables P&O Nedlloyd to remind its own customers of the new container requirements, he says, and builds on other Port of Napier-generated reports it was already using.
“We can check gross weight, serial number, booking reference and see if there’s any incorrect information [on the documentation] before the container goes on the vessel.”
The port has been using Crystal Reports for seven years and began using Crystal Enterprise, which allows reports to be widely disseminated, three years ago.
Port information officer Tony Des Landes says Crystal Enterprise was introduced “to give our customers access to information about their cargo that they can access in real time, online, any time”.
The port doesn’t charge users for the reports, he says.
“It’s part of the service. If we didn’t make it available on the web, they’d be ringing our staff and taking up their time.”
Some reports are statistical in nature and information can be accessed in terms of country, or the commodity being exported, or other ways, to suit the customer’s requirements, he says.
Reports can be downloaded in PDF, Word and Excel and customers can have reports emailed if they wish, with the option of accessing the web for more information.
Crystal Enterprise is described by Business Objects, which recently bought Crystal Decisions, as “a common architecture for data access, reporting and information delivery.”
Crystal Decisions’ main product, Crystal Reports, is widely used for fundamental business intelligence reports and is embedded in the products of many other software vendors, including SAP, which uses it as its reporting tool and Microsoft, which uses it for reports in Visual Studio.Net.
The Port of Napier also uses Crystal Reports internally, Des Landes says.