The Central Ore Transship Point Information System Migration Project Brings Many Benefits
Early in February the best projects for the 4th quarter of 2015 were evaluated in the section of Vice President BSC. First place was awarded to the Central Ore Transship Point Information System Migration Project, the solution of which involved a team of specialists from the unit of General Manager Plant Processes USSE. They addressed the risks connected with the import to U. S. Steel Košice of raw materials which are transported here on the wide-gauge railway. "We have carried out the migration in close cooperation with the Transport and Blast Furnaces Divisions and the Strategic Raw Materials Purchasing Department. At the same time these also are the main users of the system," says project manager Martin Pokorný, explaining how it works. He further points out that this project has already been on the table for several years; however, it was given the "green light" only in April 2014. "We considered several options: finances played a crucial role. The main user of the original Central Ore Transship Point Information System was the Blast Furnaces Division, and it operated on a platform that was technically difficult to sustain. We could not guarantee its failure-free operation. Taking into account the costs, we finally decided to shut down the original information system and include its functions in the existing information system of the Transport Division, which also covers and manages the area of rail transport," adds Martin Varga, General Manager Plant Processes USSE.
With regard to the financial possibilities, specialists in BSC decided to deal with the whole project using their own capabilities. The technical solution of the Central Ore Transship Point Information System migration to the Transport Information System was developed by specialists in Process Control, Production Support and Environment units, assisted where appropriate by other colleagues from BSC and other involved organizational units. Information architect Bohuslav Potočňák led the project and played a key role within it. "The management of the whole project was difficult because of the coordination of activities between a number of organizational units of USSK with emphasis on maintaining continuous operations. We had to make a significant effort, also considering the fact that one member left our team during the project solution," says B. Potočňák. The project was implemented in two phases. The first phase lasted from April to October 2014 and involved the shutdown of the original information system and process consolidation in the Transport Division Information System. The team worked under stress as basic functionalities had to be completed by November 1, 2014. Our license from the external contractor of the original system was valid until that date, and after that date we could not use that contractor's databases. "I would like to thank our colleagues who have done a very good job," M. Pokorný praises the members of the team. In the second phase the specialists fine-tuned the whole system and added other functionalities. These also involve for example monitoring of the radioactivity levels of imported raw materials.
The members of the project team representing the users appreciate the innovated system. They mainly point out the variety of added functionalities. "We have incorporated the raw materials in the system right from their loading in the mines. An absolute novelty is also the registration and data regarding the raw material rail car shipments immediately after the shipment crosses the inter-state border. We receive this information in the on-line system through the integrated communication channel with the rail carrier. Thus we already know in advance which shipment is coming here, and we are able to prepare ourselves for its processing," says František Pollák, Special Activities Coordinator from the Transport Division Support unit. He adds that this was not possible in the old system; it was necessary to record data laboriously in the system only after the arrival of ore-carrying trains at the Haniska rail station, and also to adjust them at the Central Ore Transship Point.
Thanks to the new system our colleagues in the Transport and Blast Furnaces Divisions can work faster and in a more efficient way. A number of incidents have also been eliminated since its startup, thanks to all the members of the implementation team.