FREIGHT OPERATIONS INFORMATION SYSTEM (FOIS)
Indian Railways have decided not only to perform the traditional tasks of carrying passengers and goods efficiently, but also to change the mindset of working in a closed system. There has been a longstanding demand of the industry for transparency in sharing of information to give the customers an upto date businesslike environment.
1. Continuous cargo visibility has always been viewed as the most critical component of any physical distribution system. FOIS enables freight customers to have instant access to information regarding the current status of their consignments in transit, for just in time inventory. It is a system for management and control of freight movement that also assists managers to optimise asset utilisation.
2. FOIS comprises the Rake Management System (RMS) for handling the operating portion and Terminal Management System (TMS) pertaining to the commercial transactions. TMS has been installed at more than 300 locations and with the availability of infrastructure will cover all major handling points. As of June 2005, about 1500 reporting devices have been commissioned at more than 500 locations of Indian Railways. Railway owned digital microwave communication facilities complemented by channels hired from the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd., (BSNL) have been used to establish the network. The network is continuously being expanded to meet the growing demand.
3. FOIS has been designed to give strategic advantages to both Indian Railways and its customers. The implementation of the system is envisaged to eventually achieve the following:-
Extension of the current business practice of bulk movement in train load formation to piecemeal traffic to increase the market share by clubbing and moving together similar type of stock of "Hub & Spoke" arrangement.
Global tracking of consignments in real time whether in rakes or in individual wagons. The insight and pipeline of consignments would be seamlessly available for timely planning and just in time inventory management.
Facilitate acceptance of customer's orders, billing and cash accountal from identified nodal customer centres which, may not necessarily be the handling terminals. These facilities could even get extended to customer's premises and alongwith introduction of e-commerce benefit both by reducing the burden of logistics management.
4. The system as implemented upto now performs the following functions:
Monitoring of all freight trains indicating their position in computerized territory and their expected time of arrival at destination.
Commodity wise flow of freight trains for customers like Power Houses, Refineries, Fertilizers and Cement Plants, Steel Depots and Public Freight Terminals enabling the recipients of consignments to have an accurate forecast of cargo arrivals giving them adequate time to complete preparatory arrangement to handle the cargo.
Out bound loaded rakes from the
computerized territory are also monitored in the same manner
Full particulars of detachments from block rakes are recorded and updated eliminating chances of wagons getting unconnected or missing.
Details of rakes/Wagons in various yards, their phase-wise detention in different terminals, eliminating the need for costly manual documentation and tedious retrieval systems and inaccuracies.
Managerial reports regarding availability of rolling stock, i.e. wagons and locomotives at any instant of time to plan for their most efficient utilization.
5. With the use of the system there has been a visible reduction in the anxiety levels mental stress and confusion amongst railway customers and its operating staff. The voluminous and repetitive exchange of data on telephones round the clock has now been reduced and is gradually being replaced by minimum data input. The improved work environment has significantly simplified planning and execution of assigned tasks.
The system information is being used to club less than train load consignments from different loading stations. The words of appreciation from bulk customers who are being advised through e-mail the status of their consignments, is a clear indication that the anticipated benefits from FOIS have already begun to accrue to the customers. Interactive web based solutions to give customised reports to Railway Board, Zonal Railways and Divisions is in place
6. FOIS provides tremendous opportunities to both the Railways and their customers, to improve existing business practices and consequently reduce the operating costs while enhancing the quality of service. A full fledged Domestic Terminal Management System for CONCOR is already in place.
7. E-Payment of Freight: A pilot project has been implemented for electronic payment of freight for coal booked for Badarpur Power House from collieries on ECR. Originating point intimates electronically the freight charges due to the bank (SBI). After receipt of "Successful Transaction" message - electronic confirmation from the bank of this transaction confirming the debit from BTPS account, RR is printed at the originating point. It is a synchronous transaction and reply is received within 150 seconds.
8. Future Approach:
Design & Development of MIS, Data Ware House & Data Mining capabilities: Provision of MIS reports enabling trend analysis, statistical reports, Data Warehousing and thereby enabling Data mining activities are also envisaged in the future.
WEB Enabled reports: It is
contemplated to give web access to Railways customers for obtaining information
regarding pipeline of their incoming outgoing rakes, details of Closed Circuit
rakes and tracking of interplant movements transfers.
Copyright © 2006-07 CAO/FOIS, Indian Railways. All rights
reserved. Best viewed in Screen Resolution of 800 x 600 pixels
Designed & Developed by: Dinesh Kumar Sharma, Inspector/Web (CAO/FOIS Office, New Delhi)