Hanseaticsoft’s Alexander Buchmann argues software can get owners the best out of their crews.
Personnel planning and management pose huge challenges for globalised shipping. Depending on the type of ship and the load, specific requirements are placed on the crews, certifications have to be kept in mind and much more. Due to poor process management and unnecessarily complicated communication processes, shipping companies often already lack the overview about who is onboard at which times. Time savings and the reduction of error rates are just two arguments for upgrading to modern crewing software that rely on communication in real-time. Especially in globally operating teams, the software must be user-friendly to all involved parties in order to prove itself beneficial.
While the requirements on shipping companies are steadily increasing, costs have to be kept as low as possible due to high competitive pressure. An enormous but often underestimated factor is in crewing, since the global, dynamic personnel planning is complex and cost-intensive. It requires in-depth knowledge about the planned route, the ship used and the team required for it. Who has what rank? What certificates are available? On which ships were the planned crew members already deployed, and what rate of pay is correct? Are all required documents at hand? And most importantly, how do you ensure that everyone involved on land and onboard is able to access the latest information?
The more complex the requirements, the higher the error potential. Nevertheless, many shipping companies are still planning their crews manually. Although there are already intelligent solutions available, many shipping companies remain committed to their current programs, which not only make communication more difficult, but also create error potential. Data is stored in a variety of Excel tables and certificates are stored on file servers, where no one is able to find them. The use of non-specific software means that data from e-mails has to be transferred manually and important documents are sometimes stored at different untraceable locations. However, many software solutions for crewing are cost-intensive and still do not create the desired transparency. As a result, neither the error rate nor the working time decrease. On the one hand, a high range of services, such as personnel master data administration, planning of deployment and the creation of practice-related reports must be covered. On the other hand, such solutions have to support all phases of the daily business without interruption.
To exploit the potential of modern technology consistently, companies have to resort to solutions that enable them to plan their crew as well as communicate in real-time – as intuitively and self-explanatory as possible. To plan the deployment of personnel intelligently and safely, cloud-based software is the solution of choice. The only thing necessary: an internet connection. With the help of cloud software, shipping companies can share their personal data online with all employees and offices around the world in real-time and transparently. The people in charge save time with an intelligent cloud solution and simultaneously reduce their error rate during the crew organisation. All data is available via a simple click – also mobile on the smartphone. In addition, there are intelligent suggestion features in some solutions. This means: depending on the planned tour, the software suggests appropriate crewmembers.
Corresponding programs optimise the entire process management. With just a few clicks, all users get exactly the information they need in the respective situation. For example, a variety of reports such as disturbance, noon or inspection reports can be created and made available to all people concerned. In addition, the integration of systems that automate payroll accounting, is possible. Since modern and user-friendly cloud solutions exist, the days of bulky Excel archives should be counted. These solutions can dramatically increase the process efficiency and thus save a lot of time and money.