POLO – Port Activity App expands as an open ecosystem with service orders and integrated invoicing

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19.9.2022

Unikie’s Port Activity App is a digitalization platform developed together with ports and port actors, which offers ports new ways to improve operations, covering activities related to port calls from beginning to an end. It is a user interface designed for port digitalization and communication, based on an open ecosystem and open interfaces.

“Unlike many other similar services or products, Port Activity App has not been developed for an individual operator in the port ecosystem, but is intended to serve the entire port community. Maritime authorities, ports and port operators have been involved in the development of Port Activity App from the beginning to make sure that the application meets genuine needs,” says Unikie’s Head of Industrial Solutions, Petri Kalske.

“When Unikie set out to develop and commercialize the Port Activity App and launched the POLO Software as a Service service, the goal was to maintain the opportunity for all operators to participate in the development work. Port Activity App has been built on top of an open ecosystem from the beginning, so that it can be used as widely as possible,” Petri continues.

An open ecosystem practically means that anyone can participate in the development of the Port Activity App through a platform that is open for everyone. However, the decision-making power regarding the content and management of the application remains with the ports and port operators. When one of the port operators identifies a specific need or some functionality is missing, the operator itself can decide whether the solution developed for the need is exclusively developed for them, i.e. a closed feature, or whether it becomes an open feature available to everyone. Unikie also tries to identify functionalities in advance that might be of interest to other ports as well. Then a solution that benefits everyone can be easily developed in cooperation with several partners. This way of working also serves the needs of other ports and saves costs.

Service orders bring efficiency and transparency to port operations

Based on feedback from port operators, Unikie has developed two new features for the Port Activity App. The first and most desired feature is service orders. Unikie has developed a solution for this need, where all operators have access to the same digital platform and everyone has the same visibility into the ordering process.

“With service orders, our customers can order through the same order for example a pilot, a tugboat, and mooring and unmooring service. Phone calls are no longer needed as before, when orders are saved in the system in real time. This way we get better information about the orders in advance. Service orders make it easier to share information and organize resources,” says Tuomas Jokela, District Manager Rauma, Alfons Håkans.

“A lot of service orders are currently handled manually,” says Traffic Manager, Port of Uusikaupunki, Sanni Leino. “We hope that service orders through the application will reduce the time it takes to place the order for both the customer and the port’s staff. In the application, the orders will be better noticed and we guarantee the timeliness and smoothness of the services even better,” continues Leino.

Through the Port Activity App, the operator can order the desired services for the ship, for example various permits or help at the pier. The application also shows port-specific service providers, as a result of which the ordered service and the service provider can be connected with each other. Orders generate ship-specific information, which makes it easy to follow and unify orders. In addition, service order information can be easily transferred via Port Activity App to external systems, for example for invoicing.

“We can easily and centrally make essential orders related to the ship’s port calls with a few clicks and monitor them in real time,” says Euroports’ Department Manager, Ships’ Agency Services, Mauno Mäkilä. “It’s also easy to check what has or hasn’t been ordered, if, for example, something needs to be clarified afterwards,” Mauno mentions.

“We hope that using the application will make it easier for our customers to place orders and further improve our customer service for ships. From the port’s point of view, we can compile service events into the system, and monitor what is going on in the port and at what stage we are with the orders. Orders leave a trace in the system, which helps with invoicing and other reporting related to service orders,” adds Sanni Leino.

Speed ​​and smoothness for invoicing with system integration

Along with service orders, another new feature of Port Activity App is invoicing, i.e. integration of the application into various invoicing systems. In order to meet the application users’ need for invoicing automation and interfaces to other systems, Unikie together with its partners and customers developed an invoicing integration for the application.

“Thanks to invoicing integration, we no longer have to use several different systems at the same time. We can see the invoicing prerequisites directly from the Port Activity application, which reduces manual work. Thus, the risk of human errors is also reduced. We can also use the saved time to focus on other key functions at the port”, says Sanni Leino.

“Through invoicing integration, it is possible for us to manage and review both the shipping situation, work orders, and invoicing data in the same application,” says Tuomas Jokela. “The integration also significantly reduces manual work and increases the desired speed and smoothness in the invoicing process,” continues Tuomas.

The application processes ready-made price lists for pre-selected services and automatically creates an invoice based on various variables. For example, the price list for mooring and unmooring a ship can be defined according to the ship’s weight class or the time of the day. The invoice is created automatically when the ship is reported to have left the port, and the invoice information can be transferred through integration to any external invoicing system.

Service orders and invoicing integration are both examples of new functionalities developed on top of the open ecosystem in the Port Activity application.

Watch a video on the new features


Further information:

Unikie Oy, Petri Kalske, petri.kalske@unikie.com, +358 400 638 880

 

Picture: Port of Uusikaupunki

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