REFMAN - Overview

REFMAN is a software package that has been specially designed to allow technical people who are involved with the day to day running of ships, to take control of the ship repair process.

REFMAN has a Specification Generator for compiling and printing specification documents, Cost Control for comparing shipyard tenders and reporting drydocking costs and Shipboard Defect Recording & Monitoring for managing defects and other jobs initiated onboard.

There is also a Drawing Package for creating simple drawings, sketches and annotating photographs, a Time Management module for planning and keeping track of the progress of jobs and a Yard Performance Evaluation module for 'grading' or 'rating' the shipyards performance.




REFMAN's Specification Generator has been designed to allow people who are not word processing "experts" to quickly and easily produce well formatted, professional looking specification documents.

To achieve this, REFMAN encourages a high degree of standardisation, not just in the presentation, style and layout of these documents, but also in technical content.

Standardisation of content is achieved by making use of previously written job descriptions both as templates and as standard work descriptions that can be used over and over again.

This saves both time and effort when preparing new specifications and provides an opportunity to refine or 'hone' each standard job description each time you use them which helps you produce 'tighter' and 'tighter' specifications!

Features include:

Automatic Job numbering/re-numbering.
Instant recall of any previous job description.
Simple to use job-writing facilities.
Automatic formatting of printed specifications.
Flexible document printing facilities.
Automatic table of contents.
A system that is designed for use by a Superintendent, a Secretary, or both.
Now includes Drawing Package for creating simple sketches and annotating photographs and other images.


In the analysis and monitoring of drydocking costs, REFMAN's Cost Control has been designed to allow a non-accountant to quickly and easily forecast the cost of a refit or drydocking, to compare competing tenders and to monitor costs during the repair period itself.

In a REFMAN analysis there are no complicated 'accruals', no 'reversals' and no 'balances B/F'. Instead, REFMAN simply uses the 'best' cost information that is available at any particular time. If a job is complete, the 'actual cost' is used, if a job is in progress, the 'bid' is used, and if a job has been included as an 'extra' and the only cost available is an 'estimate', then that will be used.

By combining these together, at all times before, during and after the repair period, the Superintendent or Port Engineer gets the clearest possible indication of 'how much has to be saved' or 'how much is available to spend'.

Features include:

Ability to record estimated yard and owners costs, yard bid and actual costs for each job.
Analysis of job costs against 'repair', 'capital', 'insurance', 'guarantee' and 'project' budgets.
Recording of yard tenders in tender currency with analysis in your own currency.
Full range of on screen and printed reports in your own or tender currency.
A system that is designed for use by a Superintendent, a Cost Estimator/Accountant or both.

Recognising the part which ship's staff play in initiating many of the 'repair' type items in a specification, REFMAN's Shipboard Defect Recording has been designed to provide a smooth transition for each specification item from 'defect report', through to inclusion as a 'job' in a specification and on to its eventual completion.

This is achieved by providing a system for the ship's staff that enables them to record defects in a format that can be transferred to the Superintendent or Port Engineer and incorporated directly into a specification document with little or no re-typing.

This makes it easier and quicker for the Superintendent or Port Engineer to get ship initiated jobs into the specification.

Also, because the Shipboard Defect Recording Module is cross-referenced with REFMAN's Specification Generator, when the specification is produced, the ship's staff can easily confirm that all of the defects that they have reported actually found their way into the specification.

Features include:

'On screen forms' ensure ship's staff supply all the information that the Superintendent needs.
Automatic defect numbering.
Simple to use defect-writing facilities.
Facilities for 'private' or 'departmental' work lists for 'ship's staff' jobs.
A system that is designed for use by both ship's Engineers and Deck Officers.
Now includes Drawing Package for creating simple sketches and annotating photographs and other images.


REFMAN's Shipboard Defect Monitoring makes Shipboard Defect Recording a 'two-way' process rather than the one-way operation when REFMAN’s original Shipboard Defect Recording module is used alone.

Defects are reported onboard using REFMAN’s Shipboard Defect Recording module as before except that the ship now also assigns a priority to each defect. Defects are transferred to the office where they can be reviewed, assigned to a Drydock specification or have a status and planned date assigned to indicate how and when they are to be dealt with.

The status and planned date are then transmitted back to the ship. This provides the ship with confirmation that the office received the reported defects and provides positive feedback about how and when each one is to be dealt with. Defects that are subsequently rectified are marked as complete by the ship’s staff with a date and code to indicate how and when it was actually dealt with. In this way both office and ship can see the current status of every reported defect.

Features include:

Ship' staff can set "Priority" to indicaet the urgency/impact on vessel operation.
Superintendent has access to a complete copy of the ship's defect list
Superintendent sets user defined 'Status' (i.e. 'Assigned to Contractor', 'Office to arrange visit by Manufacturers Representative', 'Ship's Staff to Rectify', etc.) and Planned Date.
Status and Planned Date are transferred back to the ship so ship's staff how and when each item is to be dealt with.
A system that is designed to ensure that both Superintendent and Ship's Officers know the status and planned action for every reported defect.
Otional Instruction Module available which allows Superintendents to create lists of 'Instructions' and other 'Items for action by the ship' which appear as 'Pending Items' in the ship's defect list onboard.


REFMAN's Drawing module can be used in conjunction with both the Specification Generator in the office and the Shipboard Defect Recording module onboard.

Very briefly, this module allows the Superintendent and/or Ships' officer to easily produce simple line drawings such as a line diagram of a section of pipe or frames inside a tank, etc, to add dimensions and then insert these into a REFMAN job description. The drawing module also provides the facility to import photographs or scanned and other images that can then be annotated. So for example, given a photograph taken inside a tank, you could draw a circle around an area where cracking has occurred and add an arrow with text to draw attention to the relevant part of the photograph.

Once installed, the new module is completely integrated with REFMAN so to add a drawing, you simply click on a button on the job text panel and you can begin drawing. On completion, click the OK button and the drawing is saved and automatically inserted into the Refman Job description. In designing the package, we have kept in mind that many REFMAN users may not have used a drawing package before so we have kept it simple. So you don't need to go on a course or "read the book" to be able to produce simple drawings.


REFMAN's Time Management module has been designed to provide a quick and simple means of producing a Time Line and keeping track of the progress of jobs during a repair period.

To achieve this, you simply record the estimated start day/date and duration for each job in the specification. An option is available in the software to allow the shipyard themselves to supply the owner with this information for each job as part of the yard's original bid (via the Yard Quotation Package).

These figures can then be loaded into the specification automatically in a similar manner to the bid prices. When used in this way, all the Superintendent has to do to complete the picture is to record times and durations for any 'owners' jobs that are to be carried out by sub-contractors.

Using this information, REFMAN's Time Management module can produce a simple time bar (Gantt) chart that gives a pictorial representation of when each job is expected to start, how long it should take and when it should be finished.

During the actual repair period, all the Superintendent has to do is note which jobs are complete and optionally, estimate the progress on jobs that are in hand. The program can then produce a summary showing the overall proportion of the work that has been completed and the proportion that is still remaining. Alternatively it can produce a time bar (Gantt) chart that shows the same information pictorially.

If you are an existing REFMAN user and are interested in purchasing a licence for this module, then please contact Minitech Systems.


REFMAN's Yard Performance Evaluation module allows the Superintendent to 'grade' or 'rate' a shipyard's performance during and after a docking. Ratings can be given under any number of user-defined headings (for example, Facilities, Services, Equipment, Response Speed, Cooperation, Communication, Engine Work, Steel Work, Safety, Prices, etc.). The Superintendent can also record comments to qualify these ratings.

On completion of the docking, the completed ratings are stored centrally so that an overall average 'grading' or 'rating' can be produced for each shipyard. This overall average can be shown on the Yard Bid Comparison Report to assist in yard nomination decision. You can also produce a ranked list which shows yards in order of their overall average which can help in deciding which yards to invite to tender when sending a specification out.


REFMAN's Ship Instruction & Feedback module has been designed to provide a simple means of ensuring that defects and other jobs which have been identified by the Superintendent or which have been brought to the Superintendents’ attention are recorded and dealt with via REFMAN’s Shipboard Defect Recording system onboard.

This is achieved by providing the facility for the Superintendent to send “instructions” to the ship that ship’s staff can use to automatically initiate new items in REFMAN’s Shipboard Defect Recording system onboard. Items initiated in the Shipboard Defect Recording system in this way are automatically cross-referenced with the original instruction so that it is easy for the ships’ staff to track instructions and to check which have been processed and added to the ship’s Defect List, which have been completed and which are still outstanding. When used in conjunction with REFMAN’s Shipboard Defect Status Monitoring module in the office, the Superintendent can also check the status of each Instruction and produce a list showing which are overdue.

Used in this way it provides a comprehensive system for dealing with defects identified during ship inspections/ audits, ad hoc defects and or jobs that are identified following a Superintendents visit to a ship as well as for items that are raised by ship’s staff. Most importantly it provides a means of ensuring that each one is dealt with.


System Requirements: Win XP with 1GB RAM, Vista or Win7/8/10 (32 bit) with 2GB RAM or Win7/8/10 (64 bit) with 4GB RAM and 110 Mb Free Hard Disk Space.

Minitech Systems Limited, Bridle Way, off St. Vincents Close, Girton, Cambridge, CB3 0PB, U.K.
Phone: 01223 277049 Fax: 01223 277632
From Outside U.K. Phone: +44 1223 277049, Fax: +44 1223 277632