Embrace and extend

Christchurch firm Production Software has built an internet-based inventory tracking application called AIMS (Area Information Management System) for South Port, the port at Bluff.

Christchurch firm Production Software has built an internet-based inventory tracking application called AIMS (Area Information Management System) for South Port, the port at Bluff.

It plans to buy the software back and sell it to other ports and similar businesses. Production Software managing director Graham Dollin sees the potential to extend AIMS’s functionality through web services.

The system provides real-time information of customer stock levels in storage, tracks cargo movements from the customer site to storage and the loading of cargo on to ships. AIMS is built in Visual Studio but Production Software will be using Visual Studio.Net to build web services technology into the software by the end of the year, says Dollin.

“Ports know when vessels will arrive and they have manufacturer customers whose products go on the ships. The challenge, especially with just-in-time manufacturing, is to ensure products leave the manufacturer in time to be compiled and loaded on to the vessels. The ability to check the status of those type of things is the sort of function that would make a good web service.

“We are looking at an agent that will look at when the ships are coming in and pass that to the manufacturers so they can work this into their just in time schedules. Loading on to that vehicle could be done with greater accuracy.”

The Millennium Institute of Sport and Health in Auckland hopes that by using Visual Studio.Net to develop its website and CRM system, it will be easier to interface with partners’ systems in the future.

It uses its web-based CRM solution to manage membership and booking requirements, and to track members’ online behaviour as well as what they do while they’re at the institute.

Auckland-based 3-tier.com, which developed the system, is also researching the provision of wireless device support for coaching staff on the move. The XML based architecture separates the content layer from the presentation layer so it can target any device without having to recreate the content.

Microsoft.Net product manager Tony Ward sees notifications as an area where organisations can differentiate themselves. “There could be notifications to tell you when there is traffic on the motorway, that your mortgage term is about to expire, that cheap airline tickets have just become available.”

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