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Freight Operations Information System (FOIS)

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  • FOIS is the Management Information System (MIS) used in Indian Railways for its freight business.
  • MISs are used for improving efficiency in management and control of operations in Railways resulting in higher productivity of resources and improving quality of service to customers. FOIS helps to improve the process of planning, monitoring and decision making and reduce operating expenses through a more efficient utilization of rolling stock.
  • FOIS software comprises Rake Management System (RMS) for handling operating portion and Terminal Management System (TMS) pertaining to commercial transactions.
  • The system has been introduced to keep records of loads/trains, wagons, loco movements and consignment details etc. by reporting rake formation, load formation, train arrangements, crew assignment, train consists including consignment details, train departure, train arrival, forecast, shunting performed en-route, loco changes, train stabling, correction in rake composition, placement, releases, removal from sick lines/goods sheds, RR details, loco irregularities and maintenance activities.
  • Further it facilitates to make enquiries from the system regarding all the above activities and furnish real-time, accurate and reliable information about the status of all the activities.

Advantages of FOIS

  • FOIS uses Information Technology as an aid to decision making and ultimately improving the freight services.
  • A management tool to optimize utilization of costly assets and resources by improving distribution of rakes /wagons and locos and scheduling and routing traffic in a cost effective manner.
  • Provides continuous cargo visibility and instant access to information regarding status of consignments in transit to freight customers.
  • Global tracking of consignments in trains and wagons.
  • Timely planning and just in time inventory management.
  • Facilitate acceptance, billing, cash accountal of freight traffic from identified nodal customer centers which may not be handling terminals.
  • Simplified logistic management by extending such facilities to customer premises.
  • Total logistic system in future.
  • Accurate and uniform operating information regarding loco, wagon, yard, terminal etc. will be available to operating officers and other managers.
  • Distribution of empties can be done, Congestions can be avoided.
  • No missing / unconnected wagons.
  • Maintenance record of loco / wagons available.
  • Accurate statistics regarding loading / unloading earnings and freight will be promptly available.
  • Long term planning for increasing section / line capacity can be done.
  • Train/stock/wagon interchange position.
  • Yard detention/delay on the run information.
  • Stock /loco holding.
  • Just in time inventory is available and hence no case of unconnected/missing wagons.
  • Manual process/maintenance of registers dispensed.
  • Quick settlement of claims.
  • Arrival/departure/placement, release info.
  • Indents registered/pending, RR preparation, Goods shed earnings.

Implementation

  • Software implementation and maintenance is done by CRIS.
  • If MIS requirements are to be met in totality entire IR has to be covered, otherwise only a truncated picture will be available.
  • Certain FOIS subsets presuppose others to be operational before they can be implemented.
  • Loco and wagons based functions presuppose load/train/rake formations to be operational.
  • Goods shed functions expect wagon based functions to be in place before they can be implemented.
  • FOIS/RMS has been designed in a modular structure which could be taken up for implementation in phased manner.
  • COMs of Zonal Railways to ensure timely completion of field implementation including training of staff, preparing of sites for installation of hardware, maintenance of channels and datacom equipments.
  • CRIS provides specifications for hardware.
  • Servers are networked among themselves and to the central server.
  • Central server provides management reports at board level and act as repository of all the global data and also provides global services to maintain referential integrity of database including master files.
  • Star based network topology is used in which every location has at least two paths to reach CRIS.
  • Railway owned digital microwave communication networks, leased lines from BSNL are used for reliable and fast means of data transfer.

FOIS design

  • FOIS is designed in a modular way.
  • FOIS is designed taking into account IR’s present and future requirement.
  • Around 80-85% of rakes moves already in rakes. It is assumed that this trend will continue in future.
  • Forecast and pipeline of consignments should be available.
  • Movement and forecast of consignments has to be available for the customers also.
  • Operations and data capturing will remain control centric for train, rake, loco and stock management and terminal centric for booking, loading, unloading and delivery taking into account spatial distribution of activities that needs to be captured.
  • RMS and TMS are designed to provide integration with other subsystems as and when they are developed.
  • FOIS gives web access to Railways customers for obtaining information regarding pipeline of their incoming outgoing rakes and details of Closed Circuit rakes.
  • FOIS introduced SMS based Consignment Tracking which facilitates Railway customers to track consignments using mobile phone. Customer have to send the SMS with FNR id of consignment.
  • FOIS ultimately plan to put in an event driven integrated reporting in real time, beginning with tendering of Forwarding note to loading and generation of invoice followed by load consists, train ordering, departure of train, transit, arrival of train at destination, unloading and delivery.
  • Data thus captured is used for generating associated managerial reports(MIS).

FOIS - Current Status

  • Rake Management System, the core module of FOIS has been deployed at around 250 locations spread throughout Indian Railways which are networked through Optical Fibre Cables (OFC).
  • Terminal Management System (TMS) has been deployed around 500 locations.
  • A pilot project for e-payment of freight for Badarpur Power House , Delhi is implemented which transfer the freight amount electronically to Railways Account.
  • Other modules like Control Office Application (COA), Crew Management System are under various stages of implementation by CRIS.

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