How to Approach Ship Management Software Implementation

Avoiding Project Failures and Costly Delays
ship management software implementation
Ceylan Ersoy
Apr 9

Implementing comprehensive and effective fleet management systems requires the utmost care and planning. Unless you follow the necessary guidelines, there are many pitfalls you may fall into that may result in extremely costly problems or even project failures. This complicated process includes maintenance planning, crew safety operations, and the migration of big data for technical and operational purposes. This takes a software solution that will tackle the entirety of the maritime fleet management delicacies. Consider this: there may be anywhere around 15 thousand equipment and hardware pieces in a given vessel. These pieces will require a maintenance staff for over a thousand tracking schemes. 

Many new companies are looking to create or update their ship management systems with modern software, and preferably cloud-based, solutions. This process involves the widespread technological and workflow shifts concerned and even extends to the business operation and culture. That is why a comprehensive plan that will get everything organized set a realistic set of expectations, and have the optimum targeted metrics are essential. 

How are you going to update your system and boost your efficiency in the meantime? You are in a competitive market and manage a group of operations that require swift and real-time access to centralized data and relevant operational insights. To plan the process mentioned above, an essential thing to consider is the set of obstacles you may encounter. For your convenience, here are five mistakes routinely encountered, causing costly delays and, in some cases, project failures. 

Do Not Make These 5 Ship Management System Implementation Mistakes

Starting with limited stakeholder and end-user involvement. 

While ship management concerns human capital, it also has to do with software operations to manage onboard and onshore fleet properly. Initially, most maritime companies go about this process without involving all stakeholders as they select and start implementing the chosen software. 

Why can these lead to issues? 

  • The chosen software may not respond as comprehensively towards the needs of your organization

  • The preferred software may not cover the user preferences onboard and onshore, causing complications

  • When the chosen software is too complex to manage, it may cause delays and rework needs. 

  • If your team is not ready to adopt this new software, your choice of it may diminish their commitment while restricting the capabilities and benefits this software can provide for your business

  • Lack of potential data quality in the new system may infringe access to the complete capacity set of the software

Failing to integrate contract details.

If your company has a specific request for a quotation procedure, you may go for the supplier offering the lowest-cost bid. In retrospect, this may appear to be the right course of action as you venture into uncharted territory. But, in most cases, you run into hidden costs. On the contrary, when you lack specificity in your RFQ, your business will likely offer unclear deliverables that are hard to respond to. 

When handling contract details with your software supplier, it is essential to be precise in what you and your stakeholders need covering from this solution. No software provider will go out of their way to add a feature into the delivery to impress you. Failure to address the essential needs of this contract will mean a lack of delivery or a delta in delivery. Companies will be going through this software transition with a deadline in many cases, wanting their functions operational as soon as possible. That is why having a definite contract agreement with your vendor will help you create an end-product that will be usable, require no rework, and will be implemented quickly. 

When you are revising your contract, take a good look at unknowns or unaddressed sections. What should be delivered by when? Will the users be able to use the system entirely by the deadline? What may cause a schedule change? Make sure you got these items covered to achieve the proper functionality of your new software system. 

Not paying enough attention to preserving or enhancing current data.

Creating a new fleet software for your company may be a necessary transition; but, whoever will take on the responsibility of managing this operation is taking on an enormous burden. Consider the factors at play in the entirety of the operations:

  • A great pile of data; with anywhere around 20 thousand data points 

  • Data spread across different locations and systems

  • A stellar migration process ahead of you

With all of this in mind, you will have to integrate all this data into one mutual platform. At this point, the project manager is likely wondering where to start collecting the initial data to compare with the new set of data. This, in most cases, is necessary to determine improvement or potential incidents. The manager will also have to manifest how the alignment, streamlining, and analysis of this data will benefit the company. Data collection requires a specific skill set and expert familiarity with management and potential consequences of when data lacks quality. Further, it takes ample time and effort to gather the necessary data, especially if you are trying to collect it between maritime operations. The manager will have to carefully assess if the information is incomplete or unclean and how it will be managed continuously to avoid external costs.

Choosing non-centralized data management strategies. 

Ship management is a highly costly operation, and additional costs that come with gathering and managing databases specific to ships are undesirable. Centralized management of data helps ensure seamless, consistent operations that allow for complete data transitions and minimized costs and data rework prospects. Cross-feet analytics, on the converse, can diminish efficiency gains, especially if you lack the resources for comprehensive implementation. Is anyone on your team familiar with the system, the transition process and will be able to take advantage of the non-centralized system? The varying components, maintenance data, data sharing, and parts of the process may be costly in the long run. 

Failing to implement a comprehensive strategy for change management 

When approaching this project, many miss out on adopting a solid change management strategy that can help influence what comes out of it. However, missing this step can have massive long-term consequences that may be costly. With this new system, many people will have minor to significant changes in how they go about their work; for this very purpose, users may be resistant to fully embracing the solution and fail to capitalize on its advantages. Many people have difficulty seeing the change from a positive light, mostly trying to stick to traditional methods. However, as 2021 progresses, it is paramount to adopt and implement the novel version of the ship management system to conduct the optimized operational insight, safety and compliance procedures, and more. 

If you are looking for solutions that can help you avoid these five common problem areas in ship management system implementation, Navatom may be the solution for you. With its cloud-based, responsive, and real-time interface, Navatom is designed to help ease ship management processes, allowing users to enter, query, and analyze data seamlessly.