From the Bridge
>> GeoMetrix is Seventeen
We are working very hard to release our latest update: GeoMetrix v.17. In case you have wondered, the version number is also the age of our application. That’s right, the GeoMetrix rail logistics software has been available for seventeen years, and we are still developing new features for the rail transportation industry. This time, we have been building functionality for terminal operations, for frac sand transloading, shipment moves screen, handheld tablet software for rail car inspections and stronger analytical tools.
Have a look through this issue for the details.
Our 2016 GeoMetrix Users Workshop will be hosted this time in the Gulf States rail metropolis of Houston, Texas in September. Why Houston? We have a large contention of GeoMetrix users in the States, and some of them have asked for a workshop closer to home. Some of our American corporate clients have not attended a workshop for various reasons but said they could make Houston. So we are coming! It will be in a downtown location with limited seating, so please book your spot as soon as the announcement goes out.
The next rail gathering for us will be the Pacific Northwest Association of Rail Shippers (PNWARS) in Portland, Oregon March 9 & 10th and we will have several GeoMetrix team members in attendance. If you are also going to be there, look for us and let’s catch up on the latest news. It is promising to be a good turnout and I am personally looking forward to meeting our customers.
See you there.
>> New features & functionality for the GeoMetrix Performance Suite
As always, we are working hard at GeoMetrix to bring you new features, new functionality and new ways to make your job easier. We also like to make sure we’re staying on top of new regulatory changes in the industry. To that end, we’re working on a major revision of the GeoMetrix Performance Suite that includes some screen changes, some nice-to-haves and some important changes to how you ship your cars, all while squishing code bugs with all of the fervor and tenacity of a professional exterminator.
Here are some highlights of what is coming soon!
Changes to Routing for Rule 11 Shipments
Rule 11 allows for different freight terms for each railroad that will be shipping your cars along a route. More and more railroads are asking for Rule 11 shipments and GeoMetrix has incorporated changes to meet this demand with a new freight terms screen. Previous versions had a “Party to Rule 11” field, but now you can set up a full set of freight terms for each leg of the railcar’s trip. We’ve added a Freight Station Accounting Code (FSAC) field, an easy checkbox in case it is the same payer for all railroads and a Fee Code entry for any additional fees that you need to track. And, of course, all of the relevant information is being captured in the outgoing Bill of Lading.
New Help Site
GeoMetrix is launching a new support website! You will be able to go there to read GeoMetrix documentation and browse upcoming training sessions through GeoUniversity. In the future, we will be working on making this Help site even more feature-rich, including training videos for common GeoMetrix tasks. Accessing this site will require a username and password, so keep your eye on your emails from GeoMetrix, as we will be sending yours soon!
What’s New in GeoMetrix?
We have added a feature to GeoMetrix that will allow you to see a list of new features in your version of GeoMetrix. Of course, we will still tell you about exciting news in this newsletter, but if you’re itching to know what’s new in your version, you can click on the Info button in the top right of the GeoMetrix screen. In the window that pops up, you will see your version number, as well as a link that says “Release Notes.” Click on this link to get a point-form list of changes in your version of GeoMetrix. If you need even more detailed information on how the new features can work for you, our help team is always ready and willing to give you a walkthrough.
Improving Operational Efficiency
>> Moving toward the “Paperless Yard” using Intrinsically Safe Tablets
Our customers have multiple hardware options to use when accessing the GeoMetrix Performance Suite. Desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones have all be utilized to access GeoMetrix. While we all have our own preferences, some users utilize multiple options, one area that benefits greatly from the use of mobile devices is yard management and GeoMetrix Yard is an industry leading module available to GeoMetrix customers.
Until recently environmental challenges and safety concerns have limited the types of yards that may employ these devices. The available hardware was not intrinsically safe and could not be used in certain hazardous environments and posed risks to both people and property.
Another challenge has been the screen size and resolution of the older handheld, or ‘gun’ style, AEI readers. While these are handy for scanning cars and barcodes it’s a big challenge to complete inspection sheets on a device with a screen that is smaller than on old iPhone 4. Often yard crews would continue to use paper in addition to the gun style AEI reader.
The continued use of paper presents potential efficiency issues when managing yard operations. Paper tends to get soggy when exposed to rain and dampness, dirt and grease can make it difficult to read what has been written on it and sometimes paper gets lost. One way to improve the efficiency of yard operations is to use GeoMetrix Yard® along with mobile hardware that best fits your needs.
Many customers prefer tablets to the old style scanning gun because of the ability to complete inspections, view and create switch lists, order-in or release railcars, take and send photos of equipment, create and send bills of lading, as well having information recorded just once and in a timely basis. Tablet use eliminated the need for multiple data entry, makes it easy to order-in or release cars so you reduce demurrage and/or detention costs, allows equipment condition to recorded using a built in camera, completion and digital storage of inspection sheets, locate equipment within a yard, match orders to equipment and have the most current yard information available to users.
Users now have the option of using these intrinsically safe, rugged mobile devices in conjunction with GeoMetrix Yard® to get more current visibility into rail yards and improved operational efficiency.
>> Training ranging from The Basics to advanced analysis
Thursday, Mar 10th 2016 1:00PM
Tuesday, Mar 15th 2016 10:00AM
Thursday, Mar 24th 2016 1:00PM
Tuesday, Mar 29th 2016 10:00AM
Thursday, Apr 7th 2016 1:00PM
Tuesday, Apr 12th 2016 10:00AM
Thursday, Apr 21st 2016 1:00PM
Tuesday, Apr 26th 2016 10:00AM
Where Is GeoMetrix Going to Be?
Staying in touch with our customers can be challenging, as we have GeoMetrix users located across most provinces in Canada and a lot of the states in the USA. One way to be visible and accessible is to attend industry conferences. Please look for us at the various venues.
Pacific NorthWest Association of Rail Shippers (PNWARS)
March 9 – 10
Double Tree Lloyd Center
September 13 – 14
SouthEast Association of Rail Shippers (SEARS)
Hilton Head Marriott Resort & Spa
Hilton Head Island, SC
NorthEast Association of Rail Shippers (NEARS)
April 26 – 28
Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards
September 20 – 23
Marriott Sable Oaks Resort
SouthWest Association of Rail Shippers (SWARS)
Oct 5 – 6
Renaissance Glendale Hotel & Spa
Midwest Association of Rail Shippers (MARS)
July 11 – 12
Grand Geneva Resort & Spa
Lake Geneva, WI
Hydrocarbons-by-Rail: Strategies for Energy Takeaway
CORE Saltlik Summit – Saltlik Restaurant
CORE Salt Grass Summit – Petroleum Club of Houston
September 22 or 29