From early seafarers, the Roman Empire to the Hanseatic League of the 15th century and the rise of seafaring nations, such as the Netherlands and Great Britain - merchant shipping looks back on a long and successful tradition. Yet in the course of growing globalization and increasing competitive pressures, each company today operating in the shipping sector is faced with a great challenge: the change of established structures that have been successful for a long time but which are reaching their limits in the economic world of the 21st century. They have to be adapted to suit the changed framework conditions and made fit for the future. So what does modern ship management look like?
We at REEDEREI NSB are convinced that changed marked conditions within the shipping sector make an adjustment in the way in which we perform our business necessary. Processes and structures within the company must fulfill increased customer requirements on the part of the investors as well as the charterers. This change in requirements comprises of:
The basis of our work is the excellent technical and nautical management of the managed vessels. However, three factors are important to be able to successfully continue the work of our seafarers on shore:
REEDEREI NSB started working as a ship management company in 1986 with four vessels and seven employees. Working in the company today is far more complex with 64 ship units and 2,000 employees. Only by clearly defining and continuously optimizing processes and with the matching structures can the greatest possible efficiency be ensured and transparency about the type of our work be created.
Processes analyzed beforehand are allocated to employees and collected in a central database for all to see. This serves the purpose of being a guideline in the everyday work for each employee and enables her or him to gain an overview of the entire process in which she or he is involved. In addition, this measure makes a central control and continuous optimization of the processes possible. This optimization can then, for example, result in further training measures for the employee, a redistribution of individual work or a reorganization of the process.
Structural adjustments as well serve the purpose of fulfilling the increased demands, such as vettings in container shipping. This has recently been done at REEDEREI NSB, for example, through setting up an internal Marine Department. Through supplementing the structure of the shipping company, stricter regulations that may apply in future for container shipping, can be fulfilled.
2. Information Management
Along with an efficient organization, the wealth of information available in a networked world has to be managed and processed always depending on the recipient. Each employee requires special information for her or his work, just like a customer requires certain information for evaluating our ship management work. Successful information management therefore has to adapt to the requirements of the respective recipient to improve the performance of each individual employee. Furthermore, the results of our work can be represented in a more transparent way through using a modern information structure. In this respect REEDEREI NSB orientates itself toward the change in customer requirements:
Increase in capacities
Faster provision of information
Improved prognosis of the future
Information management must be in a position to process large quantities of data with a high speed and quick frequency. All measures must aim at supplying the respective recipient with information that is relevant to her or him. We are therefore striving to achieve a flow of information that is as far as possible independent of emails and based on standardized reporting tools. These reporting tools simplify the communication between sea and shore and enable us to process the information quickly before the customer receives it.
Events occurring on our vessels all over the world need to be reported in the fastest possible way. They are initially collected and evaluated in our headquarters in Buxtehude before they are forwarded to investors or charterers respectively, marked with priority and, if necessary, recommendations for action. The faster the information reaches the recipient, the better the recipient will be able to make these decisions.
Whilst the added value in ship management always starts with the likewise complex and challenging work of our seafarers on our vessels, a diverse range of adaptations and improvements need to be implemented on shore. REEDEREI NSB is aware of the increased demands faced by modern ship management. We are convinced that we are on the right track to become a ship manager of the 21st century with the process we started in 2008.
The steps already implemented in the organization and in information management are described here.