May 25, 2021

Why shipping companies should have data on their agenda

Structured data analytics can offer companies unprecedented possibilities and insights into their operations.

By Maximilian Hagemann

Why shipping companies should have data on their agenda

Data is the new gold and companies are increasingly reliant on data and technologies that support data management and analysis to improve business decision making, business performance and success.

However, there are challenges, especially around the volumes of data that exist in organisations and being able to share and extract insight. Data needs to be managed efficiently and analysed in a structured way so that businesses can clearly interpret it to make insight-driven decisions to achieve a company’s goals and objectives.

As the world moves on from the Covid-19 pandemic towards economic recovery there is a unique opportunity for organisations to completely transform their business. Data can drive this transformation and is something that shipping companies need to have on their agenda. Access to reliable real-time data is essential and companies that invest in digital technologies to harvest and analyse this data efficiently will emerge from the pandemic in a much stronger position.

Whilst shipping as an industry has traditionally been slow to grasp new technologies we’re slowly seeing this change. There is growing demand from companies to gain more insights into their operational data as they become aware of the benefits this can bring. The real game changer over the past few years has been cloud based technology that is helping shipping companies gather, manage and share data across their entire workforce.

With the cloud, data is centrally stored so companies can access relevant information simply by having an internet connection. This data can be accessed on all sorts of devices including laptops, desktops and smart phones and tablets. Shore based teams can share data with those working on vessels no matter where they are in the world.

Business critical information such as important maritime instructions, crew schedules, payroll data and other key communications can now be shared by teams onshore with the crews and it can be actioned immediately, ensuring the company is agile and dynamic and can react to any situation. Data can also be easily connected from different sources, which can be used to gain further insights. Using the cloud, data can be transmitted from vessels simply and quickly. As soon as the data is entered and synchronised it can be transferred to the office and accessed immediately by all relevant personnel. This technology enables companies to streamline and accelerate processes, including red flagging areas that need urgent attention to improve efficiency - thus saving both time and money. Without this kind of insight companies can often be in the dark to what is actually going on operationally and unable to rectify poor systems and processes in a timely manner.

To assist organisations in accessing their data we’ve always included a variety of auto-generated reports in each of the modules in our Cloud Fleet Manager (CFM) platform, to ease the analysis of data and enable organisations to gain an in-depth overview over their entire fleet.

Recently we took this a step further by integrating Microsoft’s Power BI into CFM to offer customers enhanced insights into their operational data and drive a data culture across the organisation to improve business decision making. This service allows data from multiple sources to be pooled and analysed in a central place. It provides interactive visualisation tools and business intelligence capabilities and enables users to create their own reports and dashboards.

Turning data into insights with Power BI
Turning data into insights with Power BI

Companies can process any operational data from CFM in Power BI, giving them access to more robust and informative reporting options beyond the existing set of reports currently available. Users can choose from a variety of predefined reports, create their own reports using an assortment of templates or create new ones completely from scratch.

All data is visualised in a clearly structured way and users can make use of easy to navigate options for visualisation to create impactful graphs to share with colleagues in minutes. One of the key benefits is the interface is kept simple, helping users that are non tech-savvy to create and share their own analyses. By generating impactful statistics, KPIs and detailed reports users across the business will be able to make more informed data-driven decisions to improve operations and processes. Data becomes more than just a report and can be used to give the businesses clarity, uncover areas that need improvement and highlight growth opportunities.

Now more than ever shipping companies need to improve efficiency, make cost savings, develop a competitive edge, and become nimbler in how they operate. This means rethinking processes and making more use of the information that already exists in their organisation. Data is key and taking a data-driven approach is imperative for improving business decision making. Shipping companies that have a deep understanding of their data will be able to make insightful and lasting changes to help them build a successful strategy for the future.

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