According to global consultancy IHS Market 2017 is set to be one of the most significant years for shipping because it will be a year of transition for many sectors of the industry (i). In order to benefit from this period of change and to maximize opportunities the shipping industry will need to embrace technology. Its fair to say shipping depends on information and communication however, it can be a conservative industry and will need to accelerate its use of technology to truly change the way in which it works.
At its heart shipping remains a people business. Therefore technology and people management are a powerful combination to achieve improved efficiency, ensuring compliance and that vessels are safely manned. With the cost of crewing typically the biggest expense when it comes to running a vessel, the systems and processes used for the sourcing and selection of seafarers are vital. The more individuals with the relevant skills and their up to date details that can be captured, the more costs can be controlled. In order to achieve this an integrated workforce management system is required.
Here are three reasons to implement modern resource optimization technology to help benefit from inevitable changes in the global maritime industry:
- Ensure optimization and efficiency bringing information together into one place, including people assignment and deployment, staff qualifications and competencies, regulatory compliance, travel plans and documentation reduces duplication of effort. In addition it significantly reduces the administrative burden, time and staff costs leading to increased margins and overall profitability while providing effective crewing and avoiding penalties for non-compliance with industry regulations.
- Strengthen safety and security in our private lives we are all convinced of the benefits of using innovative technology, often for the most sensitive of applications for example mobile banking. Modern software-as-as-service (SaaS) resource planning tools can be securely tailored for use by masters, shore side planners and managers to offer a single version of the truth and remove security issues based on a mixture of different data storage solutions, such as multiple spreadsheets and/or a number of different management information systems. Many of todays most security aware industries, including the military, use mobile applications for manpower. If the defense sector is able to maximize the use of cloud-based resource optimization solutions – then why not shipping?
- Improved connectivity in a highly complex, multi-layered industry such as shipping, communication is key. Pulling together, ship owners, charterers, cargo owners, ship managers plus manning agents is a difficult task at the best of times, but as margins get squeezed and global competition increases, communication can make all the difference. Harnessing the power of modern technology and communications means that new business models and behaviors are emerging to lower costs and maximize profits. However, for this to happen the right tools need to be in place and the industries inherent reluctance to embrace technology needs to be put aside.
With increasing complexity in terms of the volume of data available, regulatory requirements and the global nature of the industry, technology is now an essential part of shipping. Those sectors of the industry and the organizations that best utilize technology will be the winners in this year of transition for the global maritime industry.
Donald Anderson is Senior Advisor to the board of Dynama, he was previously Group CEO at V.Ships Group and is Chairman of ShipServ, the marine and offshore e-marketplace.