HYDERABAD: With a crew of nearly one lakh drivers and guards labouring round the clock, 365 days a year ensuring the nation is not caught on the hop, Indian Railways is among the largest public transport employers in the world. A chink in its operations would mean only one thing: life comes to a standstill in the country.
Among the many mission critical applications in the Indian Railways is the Crew Management System (CMS), a vital component in the smooth functioning of the human resource management arm of the mammoth organisation. Developed by Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), the software and communications arm of the Indian Railways, CMS automates day-to-day business functioning by monitoring crew movement real-time, duty allocation, payment calculation and crew training in an efficient and transparent manner. “This has not only improved the safety of train operations, but also reduced the operational costs by replacing the age-old manual system,” says Deepak Ganju, General Manager, CRIS.
It was in 2006 that CRIS was entrusted with developing the role-based system. Developed entirely in-house as a web-based system on J2EE and ‘struts framework’, the architecture was adopted using object oriented analysis and design offered by IBM’s Rational software.
The heterogeneous environment of the Indian Railways makes this project unique. CMS demanded that over 400 geographically dispersed locations across the country be covered in a short span of 18 months, according to Mr. Ganju. “The team took a systematic approach in consulting the Railway officials from all over India to address the differences in practices and lack of common standards within the geographical disparity.” In CMS, the crew can interact with the system through biometric authentication via a user-friendly touch screen kiosk that is capable of supporting local languages. Among its highlights is the ‘real-time updating of operations’ that allows crew to input any abnormality encountered en route into the system. Automated SMS alerts are promptly sent to update and inform everyone. CMS was recently chosen for the ‘Most Innovative Solution using Rational Software’ for ‘The Great Mind Challenge for Business-2009’ by IBM