The Australian Border Force has launched an app to make the inspection of air cargo more efficient.
Called ‘eBorderForce’, the app replaces the paper forms officers needed to fill out when recording outcomes of cargo inspections at airport mail depots.
“One of the best things about this capability is that it frees up our officers to focus more of their time on protecting our borders,” said Randall Brugeaud, Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection CIO.
The app, developed by Microsoft partner, Sydney-based SMS Management and Technology (SMSMT) and stood up in seven months, includes a simplified data entry process and function to capture images of any dodgy deliveries.
The backend of the solution was built on Microsoft Dynamics 365 and delivered on a private network as the agency’s data is classified.
“We needed to find a way to speed up the process while ensuring that we maintained the integrity of our systems. We needed to deliver a solution quickly, we needed it to be practical and we needed it to be easy to use,” said Anthony Corbitt, assistant secretary for operational capability at the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
The department said the app replaces up to 40 paper forms, and since officers no longer need to take notes and later enter them manually into multiple systems, they are saving up to 100 hours a week. It also reduces the time it takes for a cleared parcel to be released for delivery.
The time it takes to train officers to use the app, which is accessed via Microsoft Surfaces, was less than half an hour, the department said.
“The impact on the organisation has been significant. It has enabled our officers to spend far more time inspecting goods and far less time on administration,” Corbitt added.
The app’s success has seen it deployed at sea ports and seven international airports, where officers work to stop weapons, drugs, biosecurity threats and toxic materials from entering the country.
“This process was incredibly time consuming for our officers,” Brugeaud said. “Our mission is to protect Australia’s border and manage the movement of people and goods across it, so we are continually looking for opportunities to reduce the administrative burdens for our staff.”
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