The times of transitions are unsettling, stressing people and business models. It is even more difficult when the business is changing at the same time as the technology evolves, often at different speeds. This can be clearly seen in the ship operations and voyage execution area.
In a major development, IMO changed the game of fueling the ship, while regional Sulphur Emission Control Areas made dual fuel usage an acceptable tactic. Modern engines equipped with array of new sensors produce more data about ship’s sailing behavior, allowing companies like BunkerMetric to employ more sophisticated algorithms capable of finetuning decisions taken between the ship and the land-based back office.
Proliferation of data produced by market, ship’s and as outcome of decisions taken in the back office tests decision capabilities of business teams. Relying on experience alone is still valued, but owners-operators investing in information technology platforms supporting human experience fare better than their competitors.
In the process of developing new technology to address fuel buying decisions, we have discovered a few interesting things of interest to people interested in improving shipping operations processes.
Efficiently distribute information to all parties to foster better collaboration and faster decision turnaround.
There is a tremendous need for the end-to-end decision + consequence visibility between various business function teams. From the chartering desk, through the operators’ desks, to the ship bunkering and supply desks. A lack of common insight into voyage decisions results in each team making decisions which in themselves are good, but taken together with decisions of other teams, lead to less than optimal outcome. This has a knock-on effect on the company achieving equally well on all Key Performance Indicators. Mixture of real-time and delayed data causes problems throughout the chain of decisions. Sorting out which data is important for real time response and which is only important for multi day (week) tactical plan is a mundane task and often leaves people at disadvantage, picking up the pieces and miscommunicating with other teams on the impacts of decisions taken by each team in separation. We noticed that companies using BunkerPlanner benefitted from keeping all three teams in the loop allowing them to embrace up-to-date automated planning centered on voyage performance, but also transparently considering interests of trader, ship’s master, ship’s operator, and the bunker manager.
Automate alerts and updates and make them visible centrally in dashboards, not hidden in e-mail messages.
In shipping operations, we learned to live with noon reports, from which we derive impacts on voyage commercials (TCE) and bunker procurement decisions. Many opportunities to improve TCE boil down to not implementing automated alerts based on continuous data analysis. For fast and most effective use of voyage data, automation is critical, so that updates, warnings, and communications are not constrained by the timing of the reports, whether created by the ships or the decisions taken on land. We designed BunkerPlanner with automatic alerting and visual clues directly on the ship journey dashboards in mind, because we studied how bunkering teams like to receive information, process data and communicate with other functional teams inside the company.
Learn why a major ship owner/operator empowered their vessel and bunker operators:
Manage by exception highlighted from automated analysis of data.
Management by exception gives employees the power, control, and responsibility to make informed decisions faster and with greater clarity. Automation, not manual process, improves responses to voyage data, because it allows managers to focus on problems requiring actual intervention, rather than tying them up with simple issues or insignificant delays. This method embraced by BunkerPlanner technology allows operators, traders, and ship masters to fulfil their obligations to accurately project cost/time/profit trade-offs and gives them time to find the most rational decisions, while maintaining certainty about voyage performance against promises made to the customer’s.
Ask technology to predict problems and suggest actions, then use human experience to decide, not the other way around.
Using voyage data powerfully and practically helps voyage operators predict and plan for problems and deviations with the bunkering team more accurately. The sooner everybody is aware of an issue, the sooner changes can be made and bad outcomes addressed. Effectively applying real-time data and prescriptive analytics applications makes difference between KPI-measured success and failure. We saw how various teams of our customers used BunkerPlanner to achieve that, and we are certain that we took the right path when deciding on the development roadmap of our applications.
Learn more by contacting our team and don’t forget to click on the links to various useful management briefings highlighted throughout this blog.
Learn how a specialized bunker strategy planning tool complements any typical voyage management system: