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Port inspection specialist invests in automation

One of the UK’s leading providers of lifting inspection services to the port industry is investing in automation to help it enhance productivity and meet an increase in demand for its services.

Port Engineering Services – which includes almost every UK port as well as inland container terminals amongst its client list – has worked with software company CoreRFID to develop an asset management and inspection system tailored to its needs.

The new system is based on CoreRFID’s market-leading CheckedOK solution but has been adapted to meet the requirements of the port industry.

Removing paperwork

CheckedOK, which has replaced a legacy system developed in house, will enable the Port Engineering to automate inspection reporting, removing paperwork for engineers, saving days of time for admin staff and providing a faster service for clients. It comes at a time when the company is seeing a major increase in its workload.

Port Engineering specialises in inspection, maintenance and repair of cranes and other handling equipment. It also designs and manufactures bespoke equipment. The company was established in 2010 by Martin Pownall, an engineer with years of experience in the port industry and who also acts as an expert witness in accident cases for ports worldwide.

Martin says: “The old system did its job but it was longwinded and becoming outdated. We considered various suppliers but CheckedOK came out on top as it had better usability and was more in line with what we wanted to achieve. CoreRFID were also willing to tailor it to the needs of our industry. As development work has progressed, we have asked for more features to be added and it hasn’t been a problem.

Saving time for staff

“The system will enable us to increase efficiency and automate reporting. Our engineers get paid to do inspections, not spend time on paperwork. Although we are good at turning around certification quickly, CheckedOK system will do it even faster and without any input from our side.

“It will also save days of staff time each month on invoice. Each item that has been inspected is itemised on the client’s invoice. Currently it takes six to nine days of staff time each month to collate the lists, but CheckedOK simply puts a cost code alongside each inspection and automates the job.

“We have always been busy but since Covid we have been even busier due to increased safety inspections at ports and we have taken on additional clients. We can’t afford our engineers to be spending time doing paperwork – we need them to be out the field. Any system that can help us do that has to be worth investing in.”

Automating processes

Richard Harrison of CoreRFID said orders for CheckedOK had increased four-fold in recent months as companies sought ways to enhance productivity. “We are delighted to be working with Port Engineering. By automating processes, companies can save time for skilled engineers and do more with their existing teams. CheckedOK, which is specially designed for the lifting industry, not only helps them achieve that but includes functions such as costing and invoicing to provide a complete management solution.”