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The Port District automates its assets

This article appears in the issue June 2001 [Volume 10, Issue 6]

User stories from the knowledge front

The Port of San Diego manages the considerable land, sea and air resources of San Diego Bay. And now it will use new Web-based software to handle the multimillion-dollar budget that supports the Port’s assets and operations.

Serving as a gateway to countless visitors each year, the Port is using management planning and control (MPC) software from Comshare, as well as database technologies from Oracle to take administration of the annual budget to a higher level of automation. “We are going through a major metamorphosis,” says Bob Graves, the Port’s budget administrator. “We have 40 departments in nine different divisions at several locations around San Diego Bay—100-plus users who are beginning to reap the benefits of our work. Our people just love what they can do with the information we make available to them through the MPC solution virtually any time, anywhere over the Web.”

For years, the district handled budget information via spreadsheets that were copied onto individual diskettes, then mailed to each of the 40 departments for input and review. The departments then mailed the diskettes back to be copied into the master spreadsheet. As the departments submitted revisions, the Port ended up with multiple versions of the information. It was a slow, laborious and error-prone process.

According to Graves, users are impressed with the new system’s speed and ease of use. He adds that the solution gave him and his staff the ability to survive a midstream reorganization. .

“Halfway through our budgeting process,” he explains, “the Port announced a reorganization that affected about a third to a half of the departments in the district. As a result, some departments just about had to start over. We were able to do it because our system had become so much more agile using the analytical software. When we get requests from senior management to make changes, what used to take us a week to turn around can now be done overnight.”

The port is a special-purpose district created in 1962 by an act of the California Legislature. It’s responsible for aviation, maritime and real estate services and infrastructure for the San Diego Bay area. Among the resources it administers are public lands and oceanfront tidelands along the Bay, as well as Lindbergh Field, which is the city’s international airport.


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