Ship Management has been quick to pick up the digitalisation baton and seek new levels of operational efficiencies to meet the increased demands of cost conscious owners. This three part series kicks of Fathom World’s look at how the shipping industry is being transformed from the inside.
With such a flurry of innovative technologies now on the market, ship management firms are now looking at taking a more strategic approach to the technologies that they implement. “However, there is a balance to be struck and we carefully evaluate new digital systems first to see if they will give us real benefits before deciding whether or not to implement them in our business”, explains Olav Nortun, CEO, Thome Group.
He also notes that it is not just a decision to buy a product, but: “It is also a question of collaboration between different departments in the business e.g. between IT and technical personnel as they need to work together to come up with solutions that will bring benefits to our operations”, he adds.
To do this, Thome Group opened its operation’s hub at its head office in 2017, which has state-of-the-art facilities enabling situational awareness for both duty-personnel and Thome’s crisis teams; and also providing high tech systems allowing remote tracking of individual ships in the fleet, passage planning, security risk assessment, weather routing, video conferencing, integrated vessel management system (NAU) implementation, and individual on-board CCTV remote monitoring by the hub.
Nortun comments about this hub that: “This has brought greater efficiency to our ship management services by providing real-time information allowing the Group to have closer control over its managed fleet.”
Benefiting from HiLo
Further, Thome has started using predictive data modelling techniques provided by HiLo, a not for profit joint industry initiative, allowing it to focus on the risks that makes the largest difference. “This is an example where the industry has to work together and share data in order to collectively and individually improve performance”, Nortun adds.
Thome Group has also recently implemented a mobile based application called NAU, that is designed to monitor the performance of its entire managed fleet.
Nortun comment about this latest application that: “It has really paid dividends in that it recently won an Environment award for the Group.” The app includes an ‘environment’ module that covers daily monitoring of the accumulation and disposal of machinery space bilges and sludge onboard across all managed vessels and alerts vessel managers when there is excessive build-up beyond set benchmarks.
“Improved data collection and digitalization have allowed for more fact-based decisions as intuition and observations are no longer the only basis for our decisions. Knowing what data to focus on is paramount as the amount of data available is huge so the skill is in understanding what elements are important and will help add value to the business”, Nortun adds about the latest application.
Thome Group is staying ahead of the game and implementing solutions that will and are making a difference to how it does business, but the company has also noticed that it also makes a difference if it is working with other companies that are on the same digital level.
Nortun comments about this: “although most of our clients are now investing in digital technology themselves as they can see the benefits that onboard equipment monitoring can bring, making a vessel run more efficiently and so saving valuable time and money.”
“We are entrusted to manage vessels (multi-million-dollar assets) by our clients and digital solutions allow them to have a better overview of individual vessel performance. We strive to give them the overview they want through implementing digital technology which enhances transparency. It’s also a way of increasing connectivity with our clients”, he adds further.