Reasons to Embrace The Data Revolution for Ship Maintenance

Five key reasons to embrace the data revolution for ship maintenance

In some of our other blog posts we have examined the digitalization of the shipping industry, both from a general perspective and more specifically from the ship repair and conversion angle. But what does all this actually mean for the people that manage the upkeep of the world’s fleets week-in, week-out?

Shipping companies are becoming more familiar with the use of bespoke digital tools to manage the majority of their operations, but the booking and overseeing of ship maintenance, repair and retrofit projects continues to be a fairly manual, paperwork-driven process. 

Here, we examine five ways in which the use of digital tools to manage these important projects can benefit and empower the technical fleet managers that carry this important responsibility.


Why use digital tools for dry dock management?

  1. Save time

When you are managing the maintenance schedules and resulting downtime of multiple vessels, time is of the essence. Of course, you want work completed to a high standard, but also, from a commercial perspective, you need that vessel ready in time for its next charter. With the development of digital tools to check yard availability, price up repair work and to book and oversee the whole process online, fleet managers have all the information they need in just a few clicks.

2. Reduce risk

Missing deadlines, losing out on a better price or deal, project scope creep and spiralling costs can keep technical managers awake at night when ships are in dry dock for repair or conversion. What is needed to lower risks and remain competitive is comprehensive control through a fast, trackable and auditable system. Replacing the laborious paper trail for a more efficient, online work stream not only reduces the risk of these fears becoming reality, but also enables a wider team to run the day-to-day operations whilst you focus on the bigger picture.

3. Monitor performance

Continually monitoring the performance of your supply chain and enforcing consistent high standards across the board can be a headache, but it is something that you need to keep on top of. The ability to both proactively and retrospectively monitor the success of your ship repair and conversion projects is key.  Evaluating successes and examining issues together with your supplier contacts, enables you and your team to make informed and data-driven decisions, as well as formulate best practice for future projects.

4. Ensure agility

For works that go ahead as planned, keeping control of the multiple players that contribute to its ultimate success is facilitated with a transparent view of the whole picture, made possible with up-to-date information at your fingertips. However, plans can always change and often do. Whether it be for commercial or operational reasons, when the timeline for a repair or conversion project shifts, you need to be able to efficiently adapt your plan and feel confident that your suppliers can adapt with you. The availability of real-time information is essential for you to get a clear picture of yard availability and reschedule detailed works, keeping a tight control on the numerous elements of the process that need to come together for project success. 

5. Improve communication

Ship maintenance is a people-centric industry and we all like to talk. Nothing is going to replace a quick call to check on progress and discuss the finer details. What is changing though is the collaboration and accountability fostered through the standardized use of digital tools that complement these conversations with a visual picture of that progress. Technology allows you to record, monitor and evaluate progress which, in turn, help to validate and strengthen the personal relationships that are the bedrock of this sector.

In summary, the most important thing is not to switch off to the digital revolution but to engage with it. Shipping is already well on its way to becoming a sustainable, smart and connected global industry. As key players in the field, the importance of technical fleet managers in leading the charge for the repair and conversion sector cannot be underestimated. 

It is only a matter of time before all aspects of the ship management process will be digitalized for the operational and commercial benefits that this brings.