Solution for Union “Saint Gerasimos”

The application we developed at year 2006, on behalf of the largest Greek stevedores union, is a solution that replaced a completely handwritten system of workflow operations with a modern computerized. The new system constists of workstations in a computer network and a plethora of software applications that was developed in order to face serious problems of delays and errors in the workflow as well as the lack of organised and fast information. From the first moment the result fully vindicated the union’s investment rendering it as one from the most modernized and effective associations of sector.

From the first moment the result fully vindicated the union’s investment rendering it as one from the most modernized and effective associations of sector.

Business Case

The union “Saint Gerasimos” is the stevedors labor association at the central wholesale vegetable market of Athens/Renti. It is responsible for the conduct of all stevedore work undertaken on behalf of merchants who served in the largest vegetable market of Greece and is administratively attached to the FCS (Foundation of Social Security).

The daily cargo operations are recorded in detail and based on these, projected FCS receipts, much like a services invoice, are issued in order to collect fees from the merchants. The collection is carried out by collectors -members of the union- directly from merchants and provides its sole revenue-turnover .

Income clearance is performed also in daily basis, producing the social security contributions and other resembling union’s obligations to third parties, while the rest is financial distributed in its approximately 350 members. The payroll is performed once in a week and the net income of the previous days is equally distributed to the members, while social security and other obligations to third parties are payed in monthly –mainly- base.

Project Agg - Applivation Menus Project Agg - Daily Management

Analysis & Problem Definition

The system operated with a volume of data that usually oscillates between 400 and 700 cargo operation invoices per day, serving about 500 merchants with permanent shops inside the market facilities and many other occasional traders. The bulk of work, such as the daily cargo operations recording, the subsequent issue of all the daily invoices in order to request the collection, the daily clearance and the payroll of 350 members, was handwritten and the sole computerized element was certain auxiliary Excel spreadsheets held by the administration..

The problem was obvious, enormous volume of information that respectively was also source of errors due to the fact that all had to be done by hand and under strong time pressure. Moreover, the need for dramatic acceleration of the data management processes and results production, were something more than necessary for proper union’s functioning, especially in peak days, given the short timeframe, as ie in the collection of cargo handling data and issue of invoices which should be followed as soon as possible by the income daily collection and clearance.

Project Agg - Cargo Handling Recording Project Agg - List of Daily Clearances

Requirements & Solution Design

Setting as fundamental objective the solution of before mentioned subjects and with the help of analysis data we produced in close collaboration with the union‘s administration, we designed a solution absolutely adapted to the their needs. 

This solution should utilize as hardware, workstations with windows operating system connected on star layout network, central server running Windows Server operating system for the application and SQL Server RDBMS for data storage and management. Some of the workstations, that constitute the team of primary data production, should utillize fast and reliable dotmatrix printers in order to be able to print on the 5copy FCS literature in daily base.

We designed the application using object-oriented technics for programs code and entity-relationship database modeling for data. The software should contain concisely the following modules:

  • Issue and Management of Invoices
  • Daily Operations and Clearance
  • Payroll Management
  • Publication of Payroll Reports
  • Payroll Submissions to Bank
  • Clearance of Social Security and Other Contributions
  • Accounting and Financial System
  • Tradesmen Management
  • Association Members Management
  • Cargo handling Price lists
  • Statistical Information

The system should be able to operate the 1st of the befalling year and in parallel operation with the old handwriting for a while until the decision to shift to the new.

Project Agg - Daily Clearance User Form Project Agg - Daily Clearance Printout Preview

Development & Implementation

The programs development targeted the Windows 32bit platform and facilities that their graphical interface provides. As development tool we used Borland Delphi with Data Centric Application Framework, our own developed object-oriented framework for Delphi which is modeled for windowed applications using database.

To model the business rules and main database we used our DataModeleR entity-relationship tool that have developed and use in most business applications concerning data management. The accountant and financier follow-up was materialised with use of our already made financial management platform “Ledger Server” in Client/Server online communication with the union’s main application playing the client role.

Development face completed enough before the predetermined timeframe - almost two (2) months earlier- thus giving the opportunity for extensive test and training at the union’s installation. The result vindicated all of us, having minimal and of minor importance issues that needed to be solved during the parallel operation of systems (handwritten and computerized) that followed.

Since then the system is in continuous and daily full operation without any matter of substance arise. Data management and production of results times were drastically decreased, and in enough cases they practically annihilated while the human errors eliminated. The information provided is immediate since all data elements recorded primarily via flexible programs, and the subsequent workflow steps require minimal user interaction to produce results. .

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Maintenance & Re-Evaluation

 

The maintainance and reviewof system is a continuous process, usually based on our collaboration with the administration of association and due to the extensive system parametrization it depends on simple regulation of application parameters.

During the years past since, we also developed system additions such as many custom statistical programs and reports, while some needed changes in union’s operations materialized with small interventions in the object oriented program code.

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