News Article 01/01/1998

ISM Software Claims New Approach

01/01/1998 - Fairplay Solutions

A software package that is designed to simplify implementing the ISM Code uses a system of modules "that work the way you do," according to its promotional literature. It is called Task Assistant and has been developed by Ulysses Systems, a joint venture between the US company Ulysses and Lyras Shipping of the UK.

Dimitris Lyras, managing director of Lyras Shipping, believes that much ISM documentation is poorly prepared. "No one is concerned about when people are going to read it or use it," he told Solutions. So in developing Task Assistant it has taken advice from the Institute for the Learning Sciences at Illinois's Northwestern University.

Ray Bareis of the institute suggested that the resulting system is unique "because it is organised around the roles and tasks on a ship" and thus provides relevant information for each tack. We learn, said Bareis, by reflecting on things. "With these systems, companies can reflect," he said.

Most ISM support software has been developed from accountancy and planned maintenance systems, argued Lyras, which may make for good record keeping systems but "more important is reminding people" about the tasks they have to perform.

"If personnel can't easily find the required information, documents and tools to do their jobs, productivity will suffer," suggests the software's demonstration documentation.

Instead, it argues, Task Assistant' approach "ensures on-going compliance as a natural by-product of people's work, not as extra work to be overlooked or ignored."