With confidence in shipping industry at a record high as the year ended [according to a BDO report], maritime software company Hanseaticsoft predicts an acceleration of technology in 2022, as shipping companies seek to automate business processes and access data and analytics to drive decision making.
Alexander Buchmann (pictured), Managing Director, Hanseaticsoft says the pandemic advanced the use of technology in shipping several years as with staff working remotely, companies had no choice but to embrace cloud solutions and digitise their businesses.
Mr Buchmann says, “Most have seen many advantages moving to the cloud in terms of it being cost effective, reliable and enabling staff on shore and ships to work from any location. As data is centralised in the cloud, important information such as maritime instructions, crew schedules, payroll data can be accessed by everyone, which also speeds up communications and productivity.”
“In 2022, technology usage will continue to rise, but companies will be seeking more sophisticated outcomes, with demand for quality data and analytics being a key driver. We are helping customers set up their systems to record and extract consistent and accurate data in areas such as spending, purchasing, maintenance and risk assessments and this data is like gold – providing new insights into their operations and improving their decision making.”
He adds that tools such as Microsoft’s Power BI, which is integrated into its fleet management system, Cloud Fleet Manager, are enabling companies to draw data from multiple sources, to be analysed in a central place. It provides interactive visualisation tools and business intelligence capabilities and allows users to create their own reports and dashboards.
Mr Buchmann says, “Companies can also use it to process any operational data, giving them access to robust and informative reporting options. Being able to visualise data in a clear and structured way can enable managers to make decisions much more quickly than if they received it from several different sources and had to collate themselves. Data becomes more than just a report and can be used to give the business clarity, uncover areas that need improvement and highlight growth opportunities.”
Hanseaticsoft also predicts there will be an increased uptake of self-service solutions for crew members, which will give them greater autonomy and control over their data so they can manage their schedules, payslips, training, and other key employment areas themselves.
Mental health will be another focus for companies in 2022. Mr Buchmann notes the increased interest in seafarers’ mental health since the pandemic and expects to see new apps and solutions being introduced by companies to support their crews.
Lastly, Mr Buchmann says blockchain has real potential for the industry. He says, “Blockchain has been misunderstood by many, but I am excited about its potential in many areas. Most shipping companies have multi-national crews all paid in different currencies, so payroll is complex to administer and expensive. Introducing blockchain-based systems could radically improve payroll and introduce a digital currency for everyone that would simplify and standardise payments and change how companies compensate their employees. It could also be used effectively in other areas too, such as dematerializing bills of lading, insurance payments and approvals and custom clearance for goods – it is a key technology to watch.”