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Williams & Gosling

Matt TraversCase Studies, Records Management

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Stevedoring and Pilotage Services. What do they possibly have in common with records management? Both are in the business of organizing and navigating crowded and congested situations. And both have control over the speed, direction and movements of their items.

Here's a case study on a freight forwarding champion, who expanded into document storage/management. They're using O'Neil software as a navigational screen to determine how and where their business is going.


The word stevedore originated in Portugal or Spain and entered the English language through its use by sailors. It means a man who loads and unloads ship cargo.

Stevedores are responsible for loading and unloading a ship's cargo. They must follow a written plan, to ensure that it's accomplished correctly, efficiently and safely. They may use a crane, or forklift to move cargo containers to and from trucks and other ships. A stevedore may also be required to perform basic administrative tasks and to moor and unmoor vessels upon arrival and departure.

The reason for utilizing Pilotage Services is to ensure the movements of the ships (navigation) through congested waters securely and in the shortest amount of time. And although Stevedoring and Pilotage Services are two of the oldest and least-known professions, they are two of the most important in maritime safety.

Stevedoring and Pilotage Services - sound quite a bit like what you do in your facility every day, but with records rather than a ship's cargo?

The formation of Williams & Gosling Ltd., based in Suva Fiji Islands, goes back to the mid 1920s. Captain Williams and Captain Gosling, who were at the time involved in Pilotage Services for the vessels entering the Fiji group, got together and decided to form a partnership in Suva. This partnership was incorporated in October 1935, as a private liability company predominately engaged in Stevedoring and Pilotage Services. The company just recently celebrated their 75th anniversary.

Since then the company has grown and diversified. It has established itself at the leading edge of freight forwarding technology, as part of an international network of cooperating agents involved in this profession, as well as Household and Office Removals, Local and International Courier, etc.

Williams & Gosling have offices in Suva, Lautoka, BA and at Nadi International Airport. The company is manned by over 300 staff, who together have a jealously guarded reputation for quality services and trust.

The company offers the full range of integrated logistics services: Import and Export by sea and air plus; Haulage Operators; Shipping Agency/Document Storage and Household Removals. They have been offering outside customers Document Storage Services for the past nine years and currently have 7,500 cartons in store for 11 clients.


W&G had always done its own Document Storage and decided to expand and extend these services to certain clients, utilizing existing warehouses not specifically designed for this function. While they filled them with racking, they were low in height and soon became full, not enabling the company to expand and promote these services to other clients.

Additionally, turnover time for retrievals recorded manually was not efficient, especially when records were brought back from clients and someone else would place them in a different location.

With those challenges in mind, W&G recently purchased a 12-acre site, where they are building a fully integrated logistics depot, with a complex of 9m high tilt slab warehouses. This will enable them to migrate from offering their clients a basic Document Storage Service to a fully fledged one, as well as promote these new services to larger corporate clients. And because software scalability would be an important factor, as they expected the number of their users to increase over time, they were looking for a system that would automatically grow to meet their needs.

"While doing our research, we visited a number of Document Management sites in New Zealand and Australia. We were impressed with the demos given using O'Neil's software," notes Dave Aidney, Managing Director for W&G. "Further investigation suggested that O'Neil was the market leader in Records Management software. Since we were a market leader as well in our particular industry, we liked being associated with those who have similar principles. And we especially liked the fact that O'Neil continually updates their software, so we could plan on using it indefinitely," Dave points out.

He continues: "Fiji isn't a large place and quite often overseas companies are not that particularly interested in offering services where the market size is seen to be small. However, once we expressed a keen interest in O'Neil to proceed with their software, they took the time to visit us. They were impressed with our facilities, along with the opportunities that were available in this emerging industry."


When asked about other benefits/functionality W&G gained from using O'Neil's software, Dave Aidney responds: "The proper labeling of locations and cartons in particular, with barcodes for faster retrieval and an efficient locating system. This enables quick turnover and the precise recording of item movements, no matter who is doing it. We can also scan on demand and because the software is user-friendly and multi-functional, it offers our users and clients a host of business services and reports, depending on their needs."


O'Neil doesn't just make better software. We make better companies.

We do that by giving companies like W&G quicker access to and a better return on information. A better return on information means meeting record center customers' needs faster; making the most of technological changes in the marketplace; and increased revenue, profits and growth opportunities.

A better return on information may mean different things to different companies. But it always means a better company.

And so far, O'Neil has helped over 1,000 facilities in over 80 countries, like W&G, do just that - become a better company.

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