Meet the Release: Helm CONNECT 1.4

by Helm Operations | May 26, 2017
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Hi. I’m Cooper Barry, Product Manager for Helm CONNECT Maintenance and Compliance. I’m really excited to introduce you to the latest release of Helm CONNECT - Version 1.4. For this release we focused on building a number of new features that make Helm CONNECT vastly more flexible, robust, and powerful. All of the features we’ve built into this release are also direct responses to feedback we’ve received from users, and we’re really excited to hear what you think.

The changes in this release represent major improvements to several areas of Helm CONNECT. While we've done extensive testing to ensure they won’t affect any routines you are already using in Helm CONNECT, these improvements will impact how you setup and modify your routines in Helm CONNECT going forward. To make sure you can make the most of these improvements, our Account Management Team will be reaching out to you to setup 30-minute orientation sessions to go over the new features with you, but if you have any questions or concerns don’t hesitate to contact us.

Here’s what to expect in the new release:



Say hello to your new & improved scheduler

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Left: Our old Scheduler. Right: Our new more robust frequency engine. 

One of the main sources of feedback we received about Helm CONNECT has been our routine scheduler for Inspections, Maintenance Routines, and Forms. Based on user feedback, we’ve completely revamped the scheduler and implemented a brand new frequency engine to make the system more flexible and robust. You’ll see these changes immediately when you go to create a new routine or edit the schedule of an existing one. Best of all, this feature is available to all subscribers of both Helm CONNECT Maintenance and Compliance.

Let’s talk about the major new capabilities of the new scheduler. 

First, our new frequency engine gives you incredible flexibility. Where before you might need to create multiple templates to have a routine occur several times per day, or bi-weekly, monthly, or quarterly, our new engine allows you to schedule routines multiple times per period – daily, weekly, monthly, annually, all with a single template.

Second, the new scheduler supports full 24 hour scheduling. Where before routines were set to become overdue at end of day, you can now schedule routines to be due or become overdue at any time of day and even multiple times per day. If you’d like to do shift or watch based routines, you can now do that quickly and easily. Again, all from a single template.

Third, we’ve now added the ability to schedule templates based on either effective date or the last completed date. This means you can now easily have a checklist become due every month on the first, or every 30 days from the last completion. You can choose exactly how you want your routine to function. For routines that you want to re-occur on specific dates each period (i.e., the first of the month) – choose effective date. For routines you want to re-occur based on the last completion (i.e., 7 days from the last completion) choose last completed date.

It’s as simple as that. 

For existing routines in the system we’ve maintained all of the current settings, so you’ll see that all your routines are scheduled to become overdue at the end of the day they are scheduled for. You can keep your routines as is if you like, or you can change them at the click of a button.

Want help getting the most out of the scheduler? Don’t hesitate to reach out to your Account Manager.

Maintenance & Compliance Users – Meet Event Logs.

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One of the other key pieces of feedback we received was that users want to pause all routines on a vessel based on the vessel status. We tested a number of different approaches and options, but in the end we turned to functionality already available in our Helm CONNECT Jobs module to give you even more power and functionality.

What we’ve done is take the Event Logs functionality used in Helm CONNECT Jobs for tracking billable events and activities for docking and shifting, and made it a powerful add-on available to our Maintenance and Compliance subscribers. This functionality is available free to current subscribers of Helm CONNECT Jobs and Maintenance or Compliance, and will be available as a paid add-on for subscribers who only have the Helm CONNECT Maintenance or Compliance modules.

For all our Maintenance Managers, Port Captains, and Safety Managers – trust us, you’ll want to check Event Logs out. Here are some things you’ll be able to do with this new add-on:

Activity-Based Maintenance

Would you like to have your standard routines pause when your vessel is alongside or in drydock? Would you like to have a different set of routines trigger depending on the status of your vessel? Now you can do that – easily – with Activity-Based Maintenance. 

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Our Jobs users will recognize Activities from their current set up of Helm CONNECT – but now you can assign maintenance templates not just to specific dates or times, but also to trigger based on one or more vessel activities.

Based on how you set up the system, when the Activity changes your routines will change as well – and future occurrences of routines will be paused automatically. So when your vessel is in drydock you won’t need to worry about your normal operational routines coming due or going overdue. When your vessel returns to operations, you can turn those routines back on at the click of a button. 

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Your Activity types are fully user-defined, so you can match your activities to your actual operations. You can even schedule activities to trigger in advance, letting you plan out changes in operations weeks or even months ahead of time.

Pretty awesome right?

But that’s not all our new Event Logs functionality allows you to do.

Event-Based Forms

Event Logs also offers some major new functionality for subscribers to Helm CONNECT Compliance, namely the ability to trigger event-based forms. 

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Again, Events in Helm CONNECT are nothing new for our Helm CONNECT Jobs users – but for Compliance users, Events are highly customizable add-ons that allows you track data related to events onboard – things like incidents or barge pick-ups. Events are fully configurable within Setup, and can be easily triggered from onboard your vessel just like Activities.

Much like Activity-based scheduling on Maintenance templates, Form templates can now be triggered by specific Events.

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Once you’ve assigned Event Types to a specific Form template, that Form will trigger automatically as a to do item in whatever space you wish.

So when you trigger an Event onboard: 

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Your crew will immediately see the new Form they need to complete – set to be due by the end of the day. 

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Feedback from our early adopters for these features has been great, but we look forward to hearing your feedback as well. That’s how we continue to make Helm CONNECT better for you and for the entire industry.

For more details on the release or to see a full list of all changes and what else is new with Helm CONNECT, please read the full Release Notes here. 

If you have any questions or concerns don’t hesitate to contact us, or your Account Management team. We build these features for you, and are excited to help you use them in your company and with your crews.

Thanks again, and we look forward to hearing from you.

Cooper Barry is the Product Manager for Helm CONNECT Maintenance & Compliance. He’s on the phone almost daily with our users, as well as with crews, captains and leaders throughout the industry working to make the industry and our software better.