Modern smart shipmanagement = sophisticated simplicity

Rather than being a dubious 80’s rock band or a romantic notion, KISS is a four-letter acronym and a call to action for anyone wanting to explain that which is potentially difficult to explain.

With so much attention being put on digital solutions and a version of the future where autonomous, unmanned vessels are sailing across the seas, there remains the need to train and equip ships officers with the tools to do their work to the best of their ability. The digital solutions targeting this challenge are the ones that are making the difference today, and will likely do so for many years to come.

But keeping things simple is a lot harder than one might think, and it’s been behind the rewrite by a growing number of shipmanagers in recent years of onboard operational procedures, as well as for new platforms such as ShipSure, the desktop information service from V.Group that has now been rolled out as a mobile app for staff.

Sean Hutchings, Chief Technical Officer at Thome in Singapore told the Smart Operations event participants that the company rolled out new simplified operating procedures for its managed ships only last week.

The process of taking hundreds of pages of guidelines, rules and instructions and distilling them into easy to read yet smart operational guides was not easy, he says, pointing to how more traditional examples rate poorly  in tests.

Ships’s crews, and in particular the officers, have hundreds of rules and requirements they need to make sure they comply with. Many are due to IMO and regional regulations, some may be from a specific charterer or from the shipowner or manager itself

Hutchings said operational procedure style was borrowed from the aviation industry, something another ship manager Bernard Schulte recently did

One of the key aspects of any requirement, whether it is a passage plan checklist or a cargo discharge or loading safety plan is the level of English used. Make it too complicated or too simple, then it becomes useful.

It is all about ensuring the crew are able to be autonomous, that they can do the work themseleves and be trusted to do the work, says Hutchings.  It moves the whole process away from having rule-based paperwork embedded with a blame culture that is all too common in many parts of society, to a smart process embedded with empowerment to allow ships crews to think and act for themselves.

Giving staff and clients the right information at the right time is also a key part of the V.Group ShipSure programme which Alastair Evitt, the company’s group director alluded to when he demonstrated its functionality at the Singapore Smart Ops event.

Superintendents and other V.Group staff can access a database of easy to digest information about the V-Group fleet as and when they need to. This includes operating budgets, as well as noted deficiencies from port calls and inspections.  It is a powerful tool for the ship manager to ensure that in the highly competitive ship management sector it can push forward quality.


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