V.Group embarks on project to digitalise crew management

Shipmanagement giant V.Group is digitalising its crew systems to make life easier for those at sea. The company has tapped consultancy Accenture to help transform its approach to crew management. Named Embark, the project seeks to develop an in-house shared services model which streamlines and optimises key processes for V.Group’s seafarers, customers, and colleagues.

For seafarers, Embark will include streamlined and standardised recruitment software, a new global payroll system, and an app that seafarers can use to search for assignments, sign contracts, and manage documentation. The project will also create a consistent model for professional development.

In doing so, Embark addresses the fact that while digitalisation is transforming the industry, ships’ crew often remain left behind, V.Group reckons.

“Traditional, manual processes are common when it comes to the recruitment and administrative processes that accompany seafaring. This not only eats into shore leave but takes up time that could be spent improving quality of life at sea, and crew performance,” the company stated in a release.

Allan Falkenberg, group managing director, crew management at V.Group, said: “As a business, our focus is on delivering consistently high-quality, engaged and motivated crew ensuring maximum vessel performance. With around 3,000 shore-based colleagues and a seafarer pool of circa 44,000, we need to ensure that we are spending more time on more rewarding work, focused on doing the right thing for our seafarers and customers, and reducing paperwork and manual activities. In turn, this leads to improved communication with seafarers, a reduction in last minute changes and rectifying errors, and access to accurate data that allows for more informed decision making on the planning side. For seafarers, it means more time to spend with family and friends on shore leave, and more certainty about their career planning and travel.

“To make this project happen, we’re not only investing in the digital technology, we’re reinventing our more than 30 crewing offices around the world to deliver a consistently high-level of service through our innovative operation model supported by centres of excellence, which will ensure that best practice is disseminated throughout the organisation. Ultimately, we’re a people business. Our values are to care, challenge, collaborate, be consistent and to commit and deliver. This brings all of these together, investing in the skills, technology and behaviours that will deliver for our customers, and improve life at sea.”

In Q4 this year, V.Group will open a new crew management centre in Mumbai, coinciding with the rollout of a digital platform that will allow seafarers to apply for assignments, upload documentation and track progress and travel arrangements.

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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