Spanning some 40 years of experience with software development, Chris Thomas and the team at Pacsoft know a thing or two about the impact software can have on a variety of industries and businesses. Indeed, the marina and boatyard sector is one of the more complex business environments to navigate yet Pacsoft’s software solutions can simplify business life and increase business intelligence on the marina for management and staff alike – while meeting all the needs of the operation.
While life can seem like a breeze on the marina there is always much to keep on top of for marina owners and managers. Frequent water space rental turn over, dry stack rental management, leasing ownership, Body Corporate management, utility management, car parking, accounting and finances, retail shop operation, boat moving and servicing, compliance, the list goes on. Typically the above business functions would be operated, administered and managed by a small number of staff, which could add up to big costs on the year’s balance sheet.
The Marina and Boatyard business also varies considerably depending on where the business is located – by the ocean, a harbour, lake, the land area available and the demographics of the local population and customer base. Sometimes the marina can be a ‘port of entry’ with requirements from the local government and perhaps environmental compliance may arise too.
Software systems have to provide management solutions and a range of easy-to-use tools to simplify business life on the marina, suitable for use across different countries, cultures and in various languages.
A key issue facing this very specialised, complex and sophisticated business area is the matter of staff training and the ease of use of a management system. As a business develops and hires new staff, regular and up-to-date training is a must. Several years ago Pacsoft determined that these factors were a major inhibitor in the industry and proceeded to develop features in its software, automating systems to the benefit of management and staff. It has been noted that many operations can view IT training and IT systems as necessary evils and therefore try to minimise costs. However, the cost of not utilising an effective IT system can be much higher.
It is also common place that many marina managers are tempted to shy away from hands on use and tend to rely on junior staff to operate the system. This can reduce the opportunity to use the full potential of the system – improving the business along the way. Due to a potential lack of knowledge of the systems’ capabilities, management can miss out on the real opportunities for improving the business operation, productivity, efficiency and management insight reporting.
Marina managers who understand the potential and intricacies of their IT management systems are set to reap the business rewards.
Chris and the Pacsoft team believe that a good marina & boatyard system can significantly add value to a business operation by improving efficiency, providing flexible charging features and strong management reporting to assist decision-making and business performance KPI’s. Like any asset – the IT system needs regular maintenance and review, and arguably more so than other assets as the world of technology is in a constant and ever increasing pace of change. Having gained extensive industry knowledge and experience from working with Marinas and Partners around the world, and understanding these IT constraints and realities, Pacsoft decided a new fresh approach was needed.
Embracing new technology and new ways of doing things has always been a big part of the Pacsoft philosophy in business, so Pacsoft embarked on redeveloping their PacsoftMMS system from the ground up. Critical to this redevelopment was retaining flexibility, sophistication, efficient processes and building a solution that focused on ease of use – assisting users and leading them through business operation rules and processes.
With over 100 person years of development having gone into PacsoftMMS this redevelopment was no mean feat, but has now resulted in Pacsoft’s new system: PacsoftNG (New Generation). This industry leading software has built in features such as the ‘Visual Marina’ and the use of ‘Wizards’ to guide staff through processes like moving a boat from one berth to another.
Chris and the team at Pacsoft urge management to become more involved and knowledgeable about the capabilities of their management system and to be more demanding on their staff utilisation of the system. Treating your IT management system as a valuable business asset rather than a sunk cost is vital, along with regular staff training to maximise the potential for your business.