The shipping industry has always maintained distance when it comes to using digital technology. There are few who would complain about changes in engines leading to better fuel efficiency, for example, but it is much harder to see such top-line results when talking about digitizing a Safety Management System. What the industry fails to understand is how digital tools can ease the life of various stakeholders involved.
- Ship Owners: Whether you are operating your own vessels, or have hired a management company to handle vessel operations, monitoring vessels is a challenge for ship owners. With the use of web or phone apps, it becomes easier to monitor and understand vessel performance with help of trend lines. Knowing this information, and the current location, performance, and state of your vessels in an easy to access location on your phone or computer lets you quickly react before minor hiccups become major problems. Your decisions become easier, better, and faster, and visits to vessels do not need to be as frequent.
- Ship Managers: Ship Managers have a lot on their hands. They work within budgets set both by their own companies, as well as the owners whose vessels they manage, and have to justify all their decisions to multiple parties. Many have already embraced digital tools for everything from planned maintenance and finance, to vessel tracking. But even here, the workflow is based primarily on email, resulting in extremely high volumes of daily emails between ship, shore, and all stakeholders.
Email based communication is not going anywhere. For example, it is the simplest way for a company-wide alert to be sent in nonstandard situations. The majority of email traffic is routine. They are regular status reports, discussions about audits, approvals that are sought or granted, and paperwork sent to port agents.
Much of this email can be streamlined using digital tools. At OceanManager, we have created tools that streamline audits, risk assessment, and streamline communication and give vessel particulars for superintendents and fleet managers. We also have built BIOME for monitoring of key performance indicators (KPIs) for an entire fleet. These tools increase operational efficiency and speed, while KPI based monitoring helps in root cause analysis of problems faced and determining best practices so that the same issues are not faced repeatedly.
Using set of digital tools also helps to maintain an auditable trail of communication, as well as actions to be followed in case of emergencies or routine problems.
- Ship Staff: Paperwork takes up a significant portion of an officer’s working hours. Status reports, risk assessments, and port forms are just some of the documentation that has to be regularly completed and exchanged between ship and shore. Reducing this paperwork, and keeping track of changes, comments, and the most recent version of a document is imperative to reducing the burden of paperwork. This is a simple enough task for most digital tools. As a result, crew would be able to focus on operational safety and efficiency to a much greater degree.
At OceanManager, we have built Maritime Software Solutions that address the needs of all the stakeholders mentioned here. Using these applications will help streamline workflows, ensure better quality compliance, reduced training time and requirements for crew and shore staff. Combined with better maritime analytics, we are using technology to help create safer seas for everyone.