When running a vessel which is crewed by an American labor Union, you are subject to extensive requirements in terms of contributing to the benefit plans contained in the collective bargaining agreement. Management Systems Consulting LLC has developed a module that manages your benefit contributions with a minimal amount of effort. Most unions have stipulated that contributions be paid within a few days of the start of the month for the previous month of service. This can be problematic, as your desire is to pay for actual service seen in the last month taking into account all of the various rules relating to how the service is calculated. The time allotted is usually not enough to perform a completely thorough job; therefore most companies will make estimated payments and then reconcile this at a later date. By doing this, the shipping company is essentially providing a no-cost loan, thereby tying up capital that has an opportunity cost associated with it.
One purpose of this module is to automate the contribution process and provide the precise calculations which prevent any overpayment and reduce any capital exposure from fronting the money using the older method. Also associated with this is the reduction in time which is taken making these calculations, allowing accounting staff to perform other functions.
With this in mind, this module manages many aspects of the contribution process, such as:
- Management of Benefit Plans
Management of Contract Specifics
- Overlap Benefits (Foreign and Domestic)
- Travel Benefits for both Join/Depart (Foreign and Domestic)
- Article Number Ranges
- Management of Contribution Rates by Contract
Once the basic configuration is set up, the system manages the following:
- Management of Contribution Batches (i.e. Jan 2009 Contributions, etc....)
Management of Actual Service
- Detailed View of Service to be Used in Calculation (visibility of Overlap Days)
- Ability to Override Overlap on a case by case Basis
- Ability to Exclude Entire Lines of Service
- Unearned Wages Management (allows for the entry of manual entries)
- Management and Segregation of Travel Benefits
- Error Reporting which indicates potential problems with data
- Cost Reporting (multitudes of reports to view the results in any form/fashion)
- Exports to Union with required service data
- Finalization of Calculations
The workflow to the process is quite smooth and intuitive; just imagine your accounting staff being able to determine and then pay the actual monthly contributions for a medium size fleet in just a few hours, rather than the days that were usually spent by many different personnel previously!