Cloud solutions at sea – the intelligent future of ship inspections

Alexander Buchmann, CEO of Hanseaticsoft, on changing drydock practices in the internet era.

In times of the globalisation of markets it is becoming more and more important for the shipping business to operate highly effectively and economically: competition is fierce and overcapacities force the otherwise rather conservative business into action. More than ever, a sustainable and successful development depends to a large extent on the innovation capability of a company.

Rethinking established procedures such as ship inspections can be a great opportunity to improve efficiency.

Up until now, shipping companies faced several challenges in the fields of communication and audits: exchange with multiple teams, across long distances caused time lags and distorted the message. Furthermore the reaction to current occurrences and processes as well as to damages and disturbances were delayed – which leads to a waste of time and lack of information. The usual communication channels were emails and excel lists that needed to be exchanged. And this causes problems, because not all employees received the information that is relevant to them. Cloud based solutions close this gap in the most intelligent way. They allow crews, shipping companies and external service providers – such as agencies or logistics experts – to stay connected in real time.

This is the most valuable asset.

Especially in the area of inspections a cloud based solution is more than appropriate. So far, data is acquired generally in handwritten form at each respective location. At this point it is compiled and entered into a stationary computer. Additional efforts need to be made in order to document and map abnormalities. Finally, the report has to be dispatched to all relevant people via the internet. Unfortunately, the possibility of error appearances increases during this multistage process. A further financial set back is that the traditional approach requires up to six weeks from the date of inspection until the release of the results – a time in which crews could have already completed essential repairs, had they already been made aware of the necessity.

Thanks to intelligent cloud technologies, paper, pencil and camera become completely unnecessary. Inspectors can audit the ship and record all essential information on a smartphone or tablet. There is no need for auxiliary tools or devices. Voice memos, comments and pictures can be produced on the device and be implanted into the report directly. For the production of a cloud based report, the users require no internet connection – online access is only necessary for synchronisation.

Shipping companies are able to coordinate all crucial tasks in real-time, no matter where the ships are located. In the case of damages all partners can react quickly. Furthermore, companies will prevent redundant efforts that waste resources thanks to the organisation-wide, real-time communication. Another asset of cloud-based solution such as Inspection Report is the prefabricated question catalogue. Adapted to the needs of the target group, available on Android, iOS and Windows, it ensures that no relevant audit points are overlooked. This proves: in addition to the obvious convenience aspect for employees, reliability also plays a significant role for the developers of cloud based solutions.

Intelligent tools for real-time communication are not only capable of optimising the own companies workflow, but rather provide an excellent edge over the competitors in the acquisition of international investors. Proving that your own company works with optimal processes will win their confidence.


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