Andrew Johnston: Rapid Application Development Services

ConQuest Container Yard Management System

ConQuest is a prototype visual container control and planning system for Microsoft Windows. It enables all users, from the gate operators to the planners, to do their work in real time, using intuitive visual displays, which give a clear picture of the yard.

Please note that ConQuest is not at this time a complete software product, but a technology suitable for adding onto an existing or new system. I would very much like to work with someone developing shipping or yard management systems, either in-house or for sale, who could incorporate this technology into a complete product.

To illustrate ConQuest in action, I've included some Lotus ScreenCam movies, with an icon like this.

To view these movies, you will need to the Lotus ScreenCam player installed. Download it by following one of the links, and then run it once to install it before viewing the movies on this page.
(Download player for Windows from this site  - or - Download from Lotus)

The Display

ConQuest provides a graphical display, showing all the containers in a yard. You can see the actual position of all your containers at a glance, and decide where to best place a container to minimise "dead" and redundant moves that do not generate revenue.

The main display shows the rows and stacks of containers in the yard. A container's position is defined by the lane, the stack within the lane, and the level within the stack. You can easily define the layout to suit your own location. The view controls allow you to scroll the visible part of the yard, or to change the zoom factor to view more of the yard:

Normally, the yard is shown in "perspective" view, so you can see the rows and stacks from above. However, you can also choose "side" view, which isn't as realistic, but can make it easier to see the position of containers lower down each stack.

The different container types are identified by different colours. You can choose any colour you like for each container type, and even create new types of container. You can define the layout of the yard, showing (in different colours), rows, usable 20' spaces, refrigerated areas, gate entry and exit positions, and dock areas. 

Watch the movie to see how this happens: 

Handling Containers

In ConQuest, all the main container control actions are just a mouse click away:

As the movie shows, you can then click on one of the containers in the list to view, and modify, its details.

The powerful search facilities let you locate and view at a glance any desired type of container. 

For example, suppose you want all the dry cargo containers belonging to a single line. The movie shows you how, and the picture shows the result:

When a container arrives you register it by simply clicking on the dock or gate area where the container enters the yard. You then allocate the container to its actual position by dragging the image with the mouse, and dropping it on the destination stack. You can change the position of any container by simply picking it up, and dragging it to the desired location. ConQuest will check that the location is available and usable. 

Watch the movie to see how this happens: 

Despatching a container is also a simple operation. You simply pick it up, drag it to the gate or dock area, and drop it. ConQuest will then ask you for the despatch details.

Planning and Confirming Moves

ConQuest allows you to plan moves in advance, to plan the work in your yard as efficiently as possible. You can then confirm the moves when they have been made.

If you want to plan a series of moves in advance, you can first use the search facilities to show the containers you are interested in, perhaps all those wanted for an outgoing voyage:

When you have finished recording moves, ConQuest can produce a work order to give to the gangs who will actually carry out the moves. When the Work Order is returned, you can update the containers to their new locations by confirming (or modifying) the plan. If you have a Radio/LAN the moves can be updated automatically as they take place.

The "Use Planned Moves", display shows the outstanding planned moves, and a set of controls to work with them. 

You can use the "Show" and "Back" controls to review the sequence of planned moves, to see the effect on the yard. You can change the moves if you want to, and ConQuest will apply the normal rules to validate them. You can confirm moves which have taken place, or delete ones which have not. Once a move has been confirmed it will no longer be modifiable. 

The movie shows us confirming the first three moves: 

Developing ConQuest

If you are interested in adopting ConQuest, or sponsoring or participating in its further development, please contact me for further details.