DGControl Software Documentation Software

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From  DGControl.com

Frequently Asked Software Questions

1. Is this just a HAZMAT / DANGEROUS GOODS documentation tool?

A. In a word, NO! It is a document management system, especially made for creating and distribution over the Internet of the shipper's declaration for dangerous goods, US hazmat shipping papers and DG Notes in European parlance. Its capabilities will surprise you; and yes, through our custom-designed application programming interface (API), we can make it available to software developers to include in their commercial WMS (Warehouse Management Systems and Logistics) programs as well as to in-house developers for the same purpose.

2. Does it offer any compliance or compatibility functions?

A. It has multiple checks and balances (for air shipments) to ensure that hazmat items, as they are processed, are being correctly entered, and that those intended for carriage on Cargo Aircraft Only (CAO) are not unintentionally listed for transport on passenger-carrying aircraft. It too has an inherent warning system for errors made in selecting packaging. It displays graphic representations of required hazmat labels for each item. Display is made of ICAO packing instructions and limitations using current information. A compatibility and segregation feature, which has already proven able to work accurately using 49CFR criteria, is under development.

The program is designed for shippers who rarely use their hazmat / dangerous goods training skills, by offering warnings in very minute detail. Like the dangerous goods themselves, the software does need a little shipping savvy in order to put it to its best use. However, it is designed around a provision to supply multiple prompts and warnings for the trained, yet irregular, or inexperienced shipper. These can be deactivated for the regular user, which will help him or her to avoid the frustrations of an endless round of flags and alerts. We certainly have tried our hardest to satisfy the needs of all users.

3. Am I required to purchase documentation templates from a third party, or does a configurable template come with the product?

A. The software is almost always used to generate standard documents which are inherent to the program and included in the initial price. To date we have had zero demand for configurable templates. We anticipate future requests for such templates in some jurisdictions when local ground transport document formats become available to us. These we will supply as the demand arises. For generic documentation there will normally be no charge.

4. Is it mandatory for customers to purchase form templates?

A. As DGControl becomes more popular, and customers in certain countries find they are not served by documents currently supplied by DGControl, these will be provided, normally at no charge, provided that the documentation is generic to users in that country.

5. Is there any form of UI (User Interface) validation?

A. The program addresses the situation where multiple operators use the same monitor. Each individual has his/her own user name and password. This is important information, inasmuch as it is needed for US 21CFR compliance in recording the archival detail. Upon startup the operator will be prompted to supply a user name and password. Until sign-out by that individual every shipment processed will show as historical data the name of that person alongside all input information. It too will serve to validate the shipper's signature that has been assigned to any declaration made during that individual's session.

6. Will DGControl be responsible for any liabilities?

A. By law, the shipper's employees are required to be trained in the proper handling and documentation for hazmats, and to know what they are doing. Otherwise, legally, they should not be shipping hazmats. The user company is responsible for any liabilities. The developers, distributors or re-sellers of the software are not liable for any injuries resulting from the use of the program. This is clearly spelled out in the user license agreement. (In over 10 years of use, to date there have been no incidents that we are aware of.)

7. What other types of documentation can the program generate?

A. The software can generate an almost endless variety of paperwork. It could print generic air waybills, local ground transport pick-up slips, house air waybills for major couriers, and others. Packing slips, pro-forma invoices and US TSCA declarations are among the other documents that are envisioned. When demand grows, these will be made available, subject to a reasonable charge.

8. Will DGControl support hazmat documentation for rail?

A. The program is fully 49CFR-compliant for both rail and road.

9. Is the product multi-lingual?

A. No! We will address this issue as the market demands it. Do keep in mind that, internationally, English is the accepted language of dangerous goods shipping.

10. What operating system platforms are supported?

A. DGControl is configured to run on a Windows 32-bit operating system. It is compatible with Win-NT and Win2000, Win-XP. The software, when used on the Internet, creates its own secure virtual data distribution service.

For LAN/WAN/Mainframe users:

i. Local-area network, Wide-area network: DGControl will be available configured for operation on any LAN / WAN that is capable of running Windows-based software by Spring, 2006. The client/server version will allow for an unlimited number of users to be connected to the network database.

ii. Support will also be provided, upon request, for third-party databases (such as Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle) in the client/server version.

11. Why should I buy DGControl's service?

A. This is a highly innovative document management service, using the Internet to provide a leading-edge functionality that is not available anywhere else in the world.

For the shipping of hazardous materials (hazmat) and dangerous goods, the DGControl solution offers you complete oversight of the documentation process.

DGControl allows end-users to create their shipper's declarations for dangerous goods rapidly, accurately, and reliably, using the most up-to-date industry regulations. The system reduces almost to zero the possibility of error in this otherwise manually intensive and repetitive process.

Virtually every mode of transport is addressed by DGControl, interchangeably. (That means multi-modal and inter-modal.) To illustrate, hazmats can be documented, by ocean (IMDG) and then, if circumstances warrant, at one click of your mouse the entire consignment can be re-documented for air freight (IATA,) if it meets the packaging limitations for the new mode. If any part of the contents does not meet the packaging limitations, the program will warn you so that corrective measures can be taken.

Once a shipping document has been properly filled out, it is electronically signed, then digitally signed to protect its integrity. An audit trail is created to track who made what changes to the declaration, and at what time. (This harmonizes with the requirements of 21CFR, Part 11, for those in the food and/or drug industries.)

Without end-user or DBA intervention, the database is updated seamlessly via the Internet with regulatory changes as these are adopted by the transportation industry. The operation is very similar to the way the "Norton Anti-Virus" service updates your system at present.

Implementation of the DGControl solution results in cost savings. Example: Hand writing a shipper's declaration can take up to 1/2 hour. Typing it without errors can take even longer. By using DGControl, a shipper can complete the same declaration in about 4 minutes. This fact alone could save you thousands of dollars, depending on your volume.

If you are a US-based organization, or even just shipping to the United States, then you should be aware that the FAA imposes fines on individuals and corporations for violations of 49CFR that can easily reach US $27,500.00 per violation, per day. If a shipment is sent undeclared, the fine can be much higher. DGControl is designed to greatly reduce this possibility of error and having to pay the resulting fine.

The unique features designed into DGControl allow corporations to keep pace with the growth of their organizations, whether in terms of users, geographic locations, network performance or electronic data interchange with other shipping partners.

DGControl supplies up-to-date Emergency Response information as required by 49CFR 172.602 in printable or viewable format so that hard copy printouts can be made for dispatch with the other documentation.

12. I'm an airline. Of what value is your program to me?

A. You get to pre-scrutinize DG declarations long before the goods turn up at your dock. This is particularly helpful for planning your loads as well as your day. You have instant access to emergency-response information related to each item of hazmat included in the shipment. Upcoming features: No need to write out your NOTOC by hand. DGControl will print it!! You have only to nominate each item to its respective flight and then print your NOTOC; multiple per-page items. ETA of this functionality: January 1, 2006.

13. To what extent is DGControl able to communicate with other systems?

A. DGControl is compatible with Microsoft Automation (formerly called OLE Automation). It is designed to act as an MS Automation Server (ActiveX Server), allowing any Automation Client to call functions surfaced through the ActiveX API. As an example, applications such as Microsoft Word , Excel , and Access will be able to control certain functionality in DGControl via their own programming interface. You can write program code in these three MS applications using VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) which will allow you to control DGCONTROL via its ActiveX interface.

For those who prefer to make direct DLL calls, all key functionality in DGControl can be controlled through Dynamic Link Library calls using the standard "C" calling convention

14. How does the system extract hazmat information that is printed on documents?

A. Through the GUI (Graphical User Interface,) the user can search and view relevant hazmat information for the chosen mode of transport. Once a UN/ID number and Proper Shipping Name are selected, the data is copied to that particular file/document. This source is also used to establish and display what packaging is required. Inner receptacles and outer packagings are verified as within allowable limitations and acceptable for the means of transport selected. The final product is then saved and "signed" for delivery across the virtual network.

15. How does the software address the matter of filling in the Proper Shipping Name field from the operator's entering the UN/ID number?

A. A search can be initiated using UN/ID number and/or the proper shipping name. Entering a UN number will call the operator's attention to all the items that bear that UN number, and the correct one can be selected according to the level of the hazard, i.e. PG I, PG II, or PG III. The system will auto-fill the proper shipping name field with information if there is only one possibility.

16. How does our operator enter the technical name for a product being shipped under a generic UN number, i.e. Corrosive liquid, n.o.s. Class UN 1760, etc?

A. A dialog box will open to allow operator to enter it, when one is required. No (parenthesis) need be added; the software automatically appends this. Shippers who frequently use this feature with their hazmats will be very pleased with the ability to store "(technical names)" in their personal "preferences" file.

17. If more than one packing group is allowed for a UN number, how does the operator make a selection?

A. Upon initial entry of the UN/ID number, the user is presented with a list of all items attached to the UN number along with the applicable packing groups from which a choice can be made.

18. We are users of LTD QTY shipments. What provisions have you made for us?

A. The "Limited Quantity" provisions are based on the UN number chosen and the PG selected. Upon entry of these, the system will present the operator with the opportunity to choose between full UN-specification packaging for 1) passenger/cargo aircraft, and 2) Cargo Aircraft Only service, or 3) LTD QTY provisions. All labels, displayed or printed, will take this into account. (Note also that while Ocean regulations do not require such items to be labeled, nor their container to be placarded, some ocean Lines still require all dangerous goods items to be both labeled and placarded.)

19. Can DGControl handle RQ shipments for domestic and international shipments to and from (or, within,) the United States of America?

A. Yes! The US government's requirements are fully respected by the software. (49CFR 172.101, Appendix A.)

Note that a product that contains a Reportable Quantity (RQ) of an environmentally unfriendly product that is not apparent from the name, i.e. Paint Class 3 UN 1263 PG III, is still subject to the RQ rules. This legal requirement is met by endorsements on the documentation and on the packaging. Once you identify the material as a "RQ" commodity or quantity, it will cause "RQ" to be added to the Proper Shipping Name and to the package labels. For example, "Paint Class 3 UN 1263 PG II," becomes "RQ Paint Class 3 UN 1263 PG II."

This "RQ" is required to be indicated on any shipment traveling by any mode of transport, and it is reflected in all transport modes of DGControl.

20. Our drivers are held responsible for missing or damaged labels. How will the software make sure that a driver applies the correct label to a package?

A. The software will display the correct labels that should be applied to any particular package. The driver can simply compare the display with labels on the box, or placards on the transport.

21. A DoT inspector recently notified us of a proposed fine of US$60,000 because we erroneously loaded Division 5.2 materials with Flammable liquids of Class 3 on a transport. How do you propose to help us to avoid doing this?

A. The software in a future edition will address this common problem. It has already proven capable of detecting the proposed lading of non-compatible hazmats and we anticipate that this feature will be able to be activated by those desiring to use it by Spring, 2006.


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