Unstructured and complex data stifling progress in digitalisation says Shipserv

Unstructured and complex data stifling progress in digitalisation says Shipserv

E-procurment platform ShipServ has detailed the results of a recent survey that showed an industry-wide lack of structured, accurate and well-managed data that can provide critical insights on procurement trends. This is reducing the opportunity for maritime buyers to optimise procurement efficiencies and reduce costs, ShipServ claims, as well as stifling their desire to increase spend under contract with suppliers.

ShipServ’s research was conducted with more than 100 maritime buyers spanning shipowners (44%), shipmanagers (39%), shipyards (2%), government and military (2%) and other buyers (13%). The research forms part of a report into the best practice and future opportunities of data optimisation within marine procurement.

In a release, ShipServ observed: “Outside of the maritime industry, the new wave of analytical tools is enabling procurement departments to analyse their data in a meaningful way, combining insights from data and unstructured information to respond to customer and market demand more quickly and efficiently. However, the adoption of strategic procurement models in the maritime industry is currently poor, compounded by a considerable lack of clean data to produce impactful reports, insights and intelligence.”

ShipServ’s research showed that 78% of respondents would like to increase their spend under contract, but were prevented from doing so due to the complexity and unstructured nature of their data. 69% of respondents stated that they would like to consolidate their spend with fewer suppliers, but in the majority of cases (60%) were unable to report savings across all spend areas because of inadequate data and reporting tools. 72% of respondents stated that they couldn’t monitor their procurement spend, which extended to the categories, brands, product types and suppliers that they were using. 72% also emphasised the lack of transparency, in that they were unable to quickly identify where they were delivering orders, what equipment they had bought, or what brands and products each vessel or office had purchased.

Commenting on the research, Kim Skaarup, ShipServ’s CEO, said: “Given the transformational change that is happening right now in the shipping industry, there is a fundamental requirement to switch from a transactional model for procurement, which is sporadic and mostly done on intuition, to one that is strategic, and driven by data; a model that harnesses efficiencies, reduces spend, and delivers value beyond the basic price of a product. To achieve this though, there needs to be a cultural shift and disruption of the status quo, which must be driven from the boards of organisations and cascaded down, and where there is genuine collaboration between procurement, and other departments.”

Data organised by spend analytics tools can produce savings of between 5% and 20% according to the procurement platform. ShipServ is currently developing a Spend Analytics tool for its shipowner and shipmanager customers, which will be launched later in 2018.

Skaarup concluded: “Like the wider maritime industry, marine procurement is also on the verge of radical transformation, where high quality, reliable data that provides clear insight into spending and supplier performance becomes the bedrock for informed, strategic decision-making and improved business performance.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.

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