Running a tight ship is easier than you think, thanks to the latest advances in technology says Crispin Jessop
In today’s connected world, keeping track of your fleet and the crew members is a simple task, right? Wrong! Of course, each master of a vessel holds an accurate log – albeit an electronic one today. This is an up-to-date crew list with all the safe manning requisites clearly identified along with everybody’s skills and qualifications. But is this crucial information shared with his shore side colleagues in a timely manner, whose job it is to keep track of all maritime resources and activities around the globe?
Many of the problems associated with finding, deploying and managing an appropriate skilled workforce of seafarers is down to what some call the ‘information gap’, the result of disconnections between well-established strategic HR management systems, project management systems, that are designed to deliver operational efficiency, and individual ship management solutions used by masters of the vessel themselves.
Fortunately, help is at hand. Offering more than just simple workforce management, the latest web-based resource optimisation software delivers safe, intelligent crew planning in a complex industry that is under increasing pressure from stringent health and safety and compliance regulations.
Here are three top tips how to take advantage of technology to keep everything shipshape, on-and-offshore:
1. Clear 360 degree visibility whatever the weather – one central solution integrates with HR and project management systems shipside and shore side to provide an accurate picture of crew movements, staff and contractors, at any time. The master of the vessel can see who is scheduled to join the ship, their contact details as well as those of their next of kin, arrival and departure dates, port visits, agents, cash and crew accounts, vessel certificates and provisions. All the master has to do is log onto the system and the information is communicated back to shore side to be downloaded in common formats such as Microsoft Excel and CSV files.
2. Navigating the fog with joined up, quality planning – specialist tools enable onshore staff to manage and change multiple back-to-back crew rotations and download vessel itineraries from anywhere in the world quickly and efficiently. Make sure you are never surprised by out-of-date documentation that prevents crew travelling and executing large-scale client engineering projects on time and on budget. Receive and record passports or visas, discharge books and ID documents and be automatically alerted to upcoming expiry dates. Any changes made to the crew list, by the vessel, are automatically notified to shore. This joined up approach to planning and scheduling gives everyone the confidence that vessels and projects are properly manned, will pass audit and are in full regulatory compliance.
3. Calm before the storm: make sure you have the right skills and resources in place – automation and sophisticated functionality of modern workforce optimisation solutions ensure the right crew are always in the right place at the right time and information is exchanged between on-and-offshore staff:
- Generate a complete and accurate skills and training matrix to flag up skills shortages
- Measure the suitability of personnel based on skills held and their role requirements
- Certificate management tools record the necessary licenses and qualifications needed or each safe manning position
- Personnel appraisal templates can be used onboard vessels and then transmitted shore side to facilitate relevant and ongoing training programmes
- Simple user interface reduces training costs for users
- Reporting capabilities show end-to-end training information such as the name of training providers, costs, invoice numbers, total hours and number of attendees on each course
Now there really is no excuse for onshore staff to be unaware of activities taking place at sea. Today’s simple-to-use and easy to install workforce deployment solutions alleviate the administrative burden to keep crew management and training shipshape onboard and onshore.
Crispin Jessop is Offshore Workforce Management Specialist at Dynama.
Dynama, an Allocate Software company, builds on 25 years’ heritage and is a leading provider of maritime and defence workforce deployment software. Its flagship product, OneView, is designed to underpin complex workforce management in safety critical, highly skilled and legislated environments, delivering both safe staffing and productivity savings by way of informed decision making.