London-based V.Group, a major marine support services provider, claims it is leading the transformation of the seafaring industry with its crew management digitalisation project called Embark.
As progress accelerates on project Embark, V.Group has unveiled a new app for seafarers as well as an upgraded training center in Manila.
The app, V Crew Connect, will enhance seafarers’ experience by tackling issues stemming from the tedious crew paperwork process while enabling V.Group to utilise regularly updated seafarer data to improve crewing performance and assist in planning.
The app will provide a seamless experience to support professional development, performance appraisal, training, and documentation uploads throughout the vessel mobilisation process, including travel arrangements.
“One of our core values is we care, and we believe by embracing the best of customer experience and operational excellence, working with our partner Accenture we have developed an ambitious plan to be a force for change in our industry,” said David Higgins, project director for Embark.
Higgins said the company is currently half way through the Project Embark programme, and the app, V Crew Connect, will go on general release in early December.
In the meantime, V. Group training facilities at its Manila seafarer centee have been significantly enhanced. The new facilities will offer a full suite of state-of-the-art training equipment including a high voltage simulator, LNG bunkering simulator, electronic MAN ME and RT Flex engine models, and hydraulic, pneumatic and electro technology training stations.
“We are brave enough to say that we are not only looking to transform our company but our industry, because we do believe there’s a market need. We want to set an example to drive the industry to the next level,” said Allan Falkenberg, managing director of crew management at V.Group.
According to Falkenberg, while the world has come to expect a lot of technology in their daily lives, until now, seafarers have just had to accept being stuck decades behind when it comes to arranging their next contract. The company started the project Embark in 2017 in efforts to re-engineer the whole process, focusing on three major areas – seafarers, customers and shore-based workers.
“Embark will change the way we approach crew management. Through new technology and digitised processes, we will make working with V. Group easier and greatly improve more than 44,000 seafarers across the globe. It aims to make V.Group even better at driving safety and competency at work, and attracting, developing and retaining the best seafarers,” Falkenberg said.
As part of the project Embark, V. Group has also rolled out V. Travel and V. Catering to improve the welfare of seafarers.
“We have embraced the best of digitalisation in the implementation of our global crew management service, which will ensure we drive consistency and transparency across all our crewing organisation,” Higgins said.
This month, the first element of V. Group’s future service delivery organisation, its Crew Management Centre, is going live in Mumbai.
“By the first quarter next year, we will be rolling out across the rest of the world,” Higgins said.
V.Group has access to an international network of over 44,000 seafarers, covering all areas of shipmanagement and crewing, as well as an onshore team of over 3,000 employees across 30 countries.