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Some important settings in BICS

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This page is a quick start guide for setting and configuring BICS  after installation. A number of important and commonly used settings are described here.

Note: You can print this information on paper by clicking the printer icon at the top of the screen.

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You can find the user manuals and documentation on the page entitled "Using BICS => Manuals".

 


 

Some important settings

The section below describes the most important settings and configuration possibilities, such as setting your (permanent) ship as the default preference, creating new BICS usersediting your BICS account details and setting your personal email address.

Setting preferences (e.g. preferred ship)

A number of preferences for each user can be set via the "Settings -> User settings"  option. These include::

  • Account, changing the password for the current logged-on (active) user: i.e. you.
  • Preferences, you can use this to enter specific default values for automatic entry (e.g. preference setting for the ship).
  • Language, you can use this to change the language setting for the active (logged-on) user. The user then 'sees' BICS in his/her own language after logging on. This language may differ from the language used for the BICS installation. After setting and confirming the change, you are logged out and have to log on again.

Example of the BICS Settings screen (setting preferences)
Example: BICS Settings screen (setting preferences)

You can select the name of your ship as a default setting via the middle option; "Preferences". The same applies to the form of transport. You can set your preferences in the screen shown below.

Example screen Setting BICS user preferences 
Example: Setting user preferences

After saving the settings, the selected ship and the form of transport are always displayed subsequently as a pre-set default value when the associated user enters voyages. The preferred ship setting (name and number) is also displayed at the top right in the dashboard.

If you are a skipper and generally operate the same ship, we recommend you to set your own ship as the default value. To ensure that this information is automatically entered when creating voyages.

The default setting you select for "Standard form of transport", relates to the screens for entering cargo information.

  • Bulk: transporting dry bulk goods, generally not packaged and loaded directly into the ship's hold (see Goods, Bulk entry screen).
  • Container: container transportation where the containers may contain hazardous or non-hazardous goods (see Goods, Container entry screen).
  • Tanker: transporting liquid bulk goods, generally loaded in one or more of the liquid cargo holds in the ship (see Goods, Tanker entry screen).

The "Display" option is pre-set to "Basic". We recommend leaving this setting unchanged. The "Advanced" option does not apply to normal use. This display mode is intended for use when sending additional messages, such as a voyage plan.

After you have changed the settings, they become active. You may have to log on again, e.g. if you have changed the language.

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Setting your personal password (logging on in BICS)

A standard user (user name "bics2", password "bics2") is automatically created during the BICS installation procedure. This ‘standard user’ has administrator rights and can edit all settings in BICS.

 Tip: We advise you to change the "bics2" standard user credentials immediately after installation, particularly the password. This is particularly important in an environment where your PC can be accessed by unknown persons, or when a PC is part of a network.

You have to log on first in order to set/change a password. The setting/change is made via the following option: "Settings => User settings => Account". 

Example of the BICS Settings screen (setting preferences) 
Example: BICS Settings screen, editing your personal password (via the Account option)

After selecting the Account => Edit option, you can change the personal password for the logged-on user. The password must be a minimum of 5 characters long.

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Creating extra BICS users or editing users

In the BICS application, you can create or edit various users and their personal rights (authorisations) and settings, if you have the required 'administrator' rights. A standard user and group is automatically created during the BICS installation process. These are the user "bics2", with "bics2" as the associated password, and the "bics2_administrators" group that has a full set of rights (see also changing your personal password).

The (extra) BICS users can log on in BICS under their own name and then access the functionalities you have assigned to them. You configure rights (authorisations) by defining groups. This functionality is accessed via the "Administrative data => Groups", following which you assign specific users to a group.

The following personal configuration options are available for each BICS user:

  • User name and password (which can be changed by the user).
  • Functionalities according to the Group definition to which the user has been assigned.
  • Working with a specific ship (the default ship).
  • The user interface language (active after the user has logged on).

You can add or edit users via the "Administrative data => Users" option, as shown below:
Example screen New BICS User 
Example: BICS Administrative data, adding/editing users

You can edit existing users and add new users via the screen shown above. The action buttons on the right-hand side are used to edit an existing user (Example screen Action buttons for editing data).

The following screen appears when you click the "+ Add new users" button:

Example screen New BICS User
Example: Add new BICS user

You can enter the following details for a new BICS user:

  • User name: the log-on name for the new user, which he/she uses to log on in the BICS system in question.
  • Password: the password for the user (case-sensitive). The password must be a minimum of 5 characters long. After logging on, the user can change his/her personal password via the following option: "Settings => User settings => Account" (see Setting your personal password). 
  • Ship's bodies authorisation: the "All ship's bodies" option allows this user to view and enter voyages for all ship's bodies. The "Specific ship's body" option means that the user can only view and enter voyages for the specified ship's body.
  • Groups: you can link the user to a defined group here. By doing so, you determine the user's rights (available functionality).
    You can edit groups in BICS via the "Administrative data => Groups" option. The group called "bics2_administrators" is automatically created during the installation procedure. This group has all authorisations (rights).
    You can set the following authorisations/rights for each group (only the main rights are summarised here):
    • Edit users: The right to create and/or edit BICS users and groups.
    • Edit system settings: the right to edit the various System settings, such as the messages service account, advanced settings, etc.
    • Edit local reference data: the right to create and/or edit ship's bodies and/or addresses.
    • Edit voyage: the right to enter and/or edit voyages.
    • ERINOT notification: the right to notify voyages and, in particular, submit the ERINOT voyage and cargo messages.
    • Archive dossiers: the right to archive closed voyages.
    • Use services: the right to use BICS services (for external applications).

Working with groups is mainly relevant when different users all make use of a single BICS installation (e.g. a freight forwarder) and you want to assign (different) rights to each user group. For example, an office environment where voyages are entered by the administration department and notified by a different user following validation.

 Note: A standard group called "bics2_administrators" is created during the installation process. The standard user, user name "bics2", is assigned to this group. As a result, standard user "bics2" has a complete set of rights upon start-up!

Examples of groups:

  • A 'system administrator' group, which is purely responsible for the system settings and user management, may be assigned the following rights:
    • 'Edit users', for creating new users and/or editing existing users.
    • 'Edit system settings', for editing the system settings.
  • An 'administrative workers' group, which is responsible for entering voyages, may be assigned the following rights:
    • 'Edit local reference data', for entering new ship's bodies and/or addresses.
    • 'Edit voyage', for entering new voyages or notifying existing voyages.
  • A 'skippers' group, which is responsible for notifying voyages, may be assigned the following rights:
    • 'Edit local reference data', for entering new ship's bodies and/or addresses.
    • 'Edit voyage', for entering new voyages or notifying existing voyages.
    • 'ERINOT notification', for submitting voyage and cargo messages to the waterway manager.
    • 'Archive dossiers', for archiving closed dossiers.

The manuals, which can be found in the section entitled "Using BICS => Manuals", provide more information about configuring users and user groups and setting the authorisations (rights) for each group.

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Editing the Messages service account

After installing BICS, you can retrospectively edit or correct your Messages service account information. This applies if you make a mistake during installation, or if your details change at any time.

The Messages service account is only used for sending the messages to the authorities and sending Log information. All other email traffic (e.g. sending the PDF Transport documents) can be set up by configuring the additional (personal) messages account, which can be accessed via "Settings => System settings => Account for other messages".

Your account details in BICS, which you entered during installation, consist of the following items:

  • Messages service account: your BICS account, consisting of your user name and password, which were sent to you following submission of a BICS account application (i.e. your BICS mailbox information).
  • Contact details: your name and address details, which appear in the messages as the sender information (amongst other uses).

You can edit these account details via the "Settings => Systemsettings => Messages service account" option, starting from the Dashboard screen:

Example screen BICS Settings (System settings option)
Example: BICS Settings, System settings option (Messages service account)

 Note: The System settings screen also includes an option called "Advanced settings", which can be used to edit various (technical) system settings. You only need to use this advanced option if you are familiar with the technical settings, or if requested to use it by the Helpdesk. Editing certain settings may affect how BICS operates and also the amount of data transmission (so exercise caution when making changes, generally you do not need to change any of the Advanced settings).

The following editing screen is displayed after selecting "Messages service account => Change":

Example screen BICS Messages service account, change
Example: BICS Messages service account, change

The main fields in this account screen are:

  • User name: your user name, which is the 7000 mailbox number (your BICS account), as sent to you in the Welcome Letter in answer to your application for a BICS account. This 7000 number is also part of your messages service email address.
  • Password: your messages service password, as sent to you in response to your application for a BICS account.
  • SMTP server: the mail server for the BICS messages service, which is used when sending messages (automatically configured during installation, you generally do not have to change this setting).
  • POP3 server: the mail server for the BICS messages service, which is used when receiving messages (automatically configured during installation, you generally do not have to change this setting).
  • Email address (BICS): your BICS email address associated with your account (the first part comprises your user name, the 7000 number, and the second part is specific to a messages service ("@edi.bics.nl").
  • Sender identification: the EDI message sender's identification, which appears in the message header sent by your system (in general, this is your 7000 number).
  • EDI mailbox number: the sender's mailbox for any return (reply) messages (in general, this is your 7000 number).
  • Party identification: the message sender's code for this account (in general, a user-specified abbreviated company code, company initials, user initials or other recognisable code).
  • Party name: the sender's name, a user-specified company or user name, which appears as the sender's name in the messages.
  • Street, Postal code, Town/city and Country: the sender's address and details for your company or you as a person, as they appear in the messages you send.
  • Forwarding permitted: by ticking the checkbox, you give the receiving parties permission to forward these messages (the information they contain) to their counterpart authorities. If you do not give your permission (i.e. if you do not tick the checkbox), you must send a new notification each time you cross a border.

 Note: in order to send and receive messages, your network must allow traffic through to the specified (SMTP/POP3) mail servers and the ports (in this example, ports 465 and 995). No messages can be sent if this traffic is not enabled (see also the minimum system requirements).

After making changes, you can save the edited messages service account details by clicking the "Save" button.

The manuals, which can be found in the section entitled "Using BICS => Manuals" provide more information about using and setting BICS.

If you have any problems or questions about configuring or using any of the functionalities in BICS, please do not hesitate to contact the BICS Helpdesk for support.

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Configuring the extra messages account

Do you want to email the transport or CMNI documents or PDFs compiled by BICS directly from the BICS program? To business relations for example? If so, you must set up your own email account in BICS. BICS will then send the documents automatically via your own email provider. This requires the creation of an extra messages account in BICS, where you specify your own provider's details. 

Note: BICS messages (messages to the authorities) and log files are NOT sent via your own email provider, but always sent via the BICS messages service account.

In order to configure an extra messages account, you require the email name, password and mail server details. You have received this information previously from your own Internet or email provider.

You configure these personal account details via the "Settings => System settings => Other messages account" option, which you access from the Dashboard screen:

Example screen BICS Settings (System settings option)
Example: BICS Settings, System settings option (Other messages account, personal provider)

The following editing screen is displayed after selecting "Other messages account => Change":

Example screen Setting an extra (personal) messages account
Example: Setting an extra (personal) messages account

The main fields in the "Other messages account" screen are:

  • Email address: the complete email address for your own provider, which will be used as the sender.
  • User name and password: The user name and passwords for authentication by the specified mail server. In general, these are your email address and password as communicated to you by your provider.
  • SMTP server: your provider's mail server and the server port number used for sending messages. Tick the 'Secure' checkbox if communication takes place via a (secure) SSL connection.

After entering the information, click "Save" and your "Other messages account" has been configured. For example, you can now send (printed) Transport documents for the voyages you have entered.

 Note: in order to send messages, your network must allow traffic through to the specified (SMTP) mail server and the port. The port is 465 in this example. No emails can be sent from the BICS application if this traffic is not enabled.

More information can be found via "Using BICS => Manuals".

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Manually setting data communication, switching data communication on or off

BICS uses services (applications) which run in the background on your computer. These services perform various tasks, such as sending and receiving messages and checking whether updates are available. This means that these activities are implemented on a continuous basis for as long as the computer is powered up, even if you have logged out, or you have closed BICS. This also means that data communication for BICS takes place continuously. Even when it is not really required.

 Tip: Data communication is not necessary or desirable at certain times or in certain situations. For example, if you want to avoid unnecessary mobile data traffic. Consequently, the section below describes how you can manually set - i.e. switch on or switch off - communication, . On the other hand, you can also force BICS to use a bad connection. In other words you can force communication if necessary.  

Setting BICS communication manually: click the link Example screen Manually setting the connection level (data communication) connection at the top left of the BICS dashboard screen. Having done so, you can set the desired connection level/communication status:

Example screen Manually setting the connection level (data communication) 
Example: Setting connection level, communication status.

The connection level (the desired communication status) is associated with different settings with the following meaning:

  • Automatically detect connection level: this setting indicates that BICS measures the quality of the available Internet connection from time to time.
    Explanation: BICS measures the connection quality using the ping protocol. If your (company) network does not allow this protocol, or blocks it, the connection status will always be displayed as "Bad connection" = no communication possible. In this case, you will not be able to send messages and retrieve updates, even though communication may be possible. Because the ping protocol is not permitted, BICS 'thinks' that there is no connection and BICS will make no further attempts to communicate. As a result, all the messages that are scheduled to be sent will remain "pending". The same applies to updates and/or downloads.
     Tip: If you suspect that the ping protocol causes problems in your network, and secure mail and http communication via the Internet is possible (see also the system requirements), you must set the connection manually to "Good connection". By doing so, you 'force' BICS to communicate, exchange messages and retrieve updates.
  • Bad connection: this status indicates that message traffic is not possible. In addition, no attempt is made to retrieve any updates that are available. There may not be an Internet connection or any mobile network coverage. There may be other technical problems as well (see above). If the connection is set to 'detect automatically', the status will change as soon as connection has been re-established.
     Tip: You can manually set the "Bad connection" status to prevent unnecessary data transmission. Or to switch off communication when you are not using BICS. Do not forget to set the status back to "detect automatically" if you want to use the BICS connections again.
  • Poor connection: indicates that limited communication is possible, i.e. message traffic, but no updates.
  • Good connection: indicates that full communication is possible. When this status applies, BICS will always try to send messages and download any updates that are available. If communication is unsuccessful, BICS will generate an error message. You can manually set the status to "Good connection" in order to force BICS to communicate. BICS will then always try to send messages and retrieve updates.
     Tip: Sometimes you will need to manually set the status to "Good connection". Even if no connection is available and no communication is possible!
    For example, if the connection status when notifying a voyage is continually shown as "Busy notifying". This means that the voyage in question is temporarily not accessible if you want to make changes or perform other actions. Forcing BICS to allow communication results in completion of the "notification" process and the dossier becomes available again (regardless of whether or not the message has been sent). Also, you can edit or close the dossier again.

We advise you to set the status of the connection to "Automatically detect connection level" as default.

This does not apply in the case of networks that block the ping protocol. In that situation, BICS 'thinks' that communication is not possible even though Internet or message communication may be available. When using networks of this type, we advise you to always manually set the connection to "Good connection". This forces communication. See also the explanation and tip for "Automatically detect connection level"".

Example screen Connection level shown as "Good connection" = BICS always tries to communicate  versus Example screen Connection level shown as "Bad connection" = BICS never tries to communicate (so no unnecessary data transmission) 
Example: Communication status, "Good connection" versus "Bad connection" (no communication).

 Note: after restarting your BICS computer, the connection level is always set to "Automatically detect connection level".

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