COVID-19 Crisis: Going Digital could be the Solution to Faster Recovery

Sea News File Photo

By Alexander Buchmann, CEO, Hanseaticsoft

A recent survey from Australian telco Telstra of more than 120 business leaders across four continents, found almost two thirds of respondents believed Covid-19 had changed their organisations forever. It also showed that technology will be a key driver in their businesses in the future. 93% said they were accelerating the adoption of cloud services, while 97% of respondents in Europe and North Asia saw cloud as ‘the only option’ (i).

We are already seeing companies accelerating their use of technology in the shipping industry. Satcom specialist IEC Telecom(ii) recently reported that the demand for digital technology has risen tenfold as maritime businesses embrace new ways of working during the coronavirus pandemic. Changes to normal working practices, including more remote working, have encouraged shipping companies to use digital technology.

Since lockdown, we have seen shipping companies embracing technology to improve collaboration between their teams working on shore and at sea, creating a connected workplace culture as well as generating major cost and efficiency savings. As the world moves through the pandemic, technology will be key to helping companies recover too.

To operate efficiently in the current climate, having access to accurate and up-to-date data is crucial. For this reason, cloud-based technology solutions which give companies the ability to access data and information from any location and device are increasingly in demand. There are also multiple business benefits that companies can reap from moving into their business into cloud.

Benefits of moving into the Cloud

Cloud-based software like Hanseaticsoft’s Cloud Fleet Manager (CFM) can help companies optimise the management of their entire fleet, automate their processes, improve their communications, increase their business performance, improve operational efficiencies, and drive down costs in many areas of business.

Real time information sharing is also enabled which can transform how companies work. Using software companies can centralise and share information easily with all staff no matter where they are based, transforming how they operate.

For example, sending out a fire drill procedure can be done in one click to all the vessels that need it. This speeds up communications and saves fleet managers from having to manually send instructions or check if all vessels have received them.

Using a cloud solution, companies will no longer need to send emails back and forth, requesting or forwarding information. Data is entered once at one end and automatically made available to everybody else regardless of their location, improving communication and collaboration and reducing a great deal of time spent on administrative tasks.

Software can also be used to manage crews. This includes planning staff and checking their availability, managing contracts, planning their working and resting hours – ensuring they are in line with regulations, and even checking the validity of seafarers’ documents. Automating such processes saves companies significant time and money spent in administration.

Cloud technology like CFM can also be used to improve purchasing and enable companies to automate the entire purchasing processes and gain real time visibility into their budgets and operating expenditure (OPEX). This means they can keep on top of their stock taking and purchases, as well as enabling managers to approve purchases on the go.

Managers no longer need to pick up the phone to request prices or place orders, they can access the latest offers and deals automatically in real time, enabling them to make more informed and faster purchasing decisions.

Using an advanced solution, it is possible to directly integrate third party e-procurement platforms such as ShipServ or SeaProc too, further accelerating the procurement process since everything is handled in a single solution.

Finally, going digital can improve how shipping companies manage the maintenance of their fleet. It can give them full visibility of their fleet status and maintenance jobs, so they can manage them, check on their status and analyse their costs more efficiently. Crew members can also access such a solution and see immediately which jobs are most critical so they can carry them out quickly and productively.

These are just some of the ways cloud technology can transform how shipping companies operate, saving them time and money, something that is vital going forward.

As a recent study from members of Maritime Singapore highlights, when companies digitalise their processes, they increase their performance, focus more deeply on innovation, and create more value(iii). Digitalisation must therefore be on the agenda for shipping companies to ‘future-proof’ business.

Greater connectivity at sea, as well as access to 5G will help shipping companies on this digital journey so they can take full advantage of cloud-based solutions and mobile apps. This could enable them to recover quicker and weather the stormy economic conditions that may lie ahead following the Covid-19 crisis.


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Sea News Feature, August 18

Baibhav Mishra
Author: Baibhav Mishra

Associate Editor, Sea News