Overall need for a sensible fleet management system
With a fleet of about 40 managed vessels, the F. Laeisz Shipping Group is one of the leading shipping companies in Germany. Quality, safety and environmental standards within the F. Laeisz Shipping Group and fleet management are recognized as the company's mission.
With a growing fleet, expanding operations and increasing company and industry requirements, Reederei F. Laeisz was faced with the challenge of efficiently managing all associated tasks and processes onboard and onshore. The overall need for a sensible fleet management system grew out of separate requirements to support different functional areas of the company.
A comprehensive modular system
The company recognized at an early stage that software solutions play a central role in increasing competitiveness and business performance. Reederei F. Laeisz started the usage of PC-based onboard maintenance software in the mid-1980s, but the systems at that time were not user-friendly and the lifetime of these programs was limited as they were restricted to the DOS operating system.
With the start of their fleet renewal programme in 1996, Reederei F. Laeisz began to investigate new options for their software strategy. The company was then looking for a software system to gain more flexibility, improve procurement and ISM-related activities, support planned maintenance and reduce unproductive office administration work. The answer to these needs was a single integrated system to manage the company’s onboard and onshore operations in a more efficient, organized and cost-effective manner.
Reederei F. Laeisz then evaluated various software systems and their attention was quickly drawn to DNV GL’s ShipManager, which had already developed a reputation as a comprehensive, but easy-to-use program.
Since then, RFL has taken advantage of the system’s strengths: key processes such as maintenance, procurement and compliance management are closely integrated and customized to the company’s individual needs. “We took a quantum leap forward”, says Harald Schlotfeldt, Technical Director. “Its implementation led to increased efficiency in our purchasing process and as a result strengthened our competitiveness considerably.”
Unlocking the benefits
Utilizing ShipManager’s Planned Maintenance System (PMS) helped to streamline the company’s maintenance strategy and gain more transparency of fleetwide maintenance activities. One major benefit is the avoidance of costly off-hire times through early repairs. Also, the functionality of the purchasing system was a good support for the company’s procurement processes and provided added efficiency due to tight integration with the PMS module. The system helps save costs in procurement, repairs and spare parts, and provides key information on demand as a basis for better business decisions.
Reederei F. Laeisz’ recent installation of software enhancements includes XML file-based data transfer to a selected supplier, which effectively improves the purchasing process. Superintendents are now able to monitor the budget of each vessel on a daily basis through access to a tailor-made interface between the bookkeeping software and ShipManager. Maintenance lifetime-file aggregates are transferred into ShipManager by using attachment links and synchronized data-file structures onboard and onshore. Furthermore, the development and implementation of a stock-controlled onboard order management system as well as the integration of a ShipServ adaptor within the standard software gives easy access to the ShipServ network.
Schlotfeldt says, “Today we can rely on a state-of-the-art shipshore integrated software package covering diverse areas such as crew administration, planned maintenance, material management, budgeting, safety drills, certificates, wages accounts, master’s cash box, canteen, and further functionalities. ShipManager has become one of the main pillars of our infrastructure. It enables us to fulfil the comprehensive task of ship management to the highest quality standards at all times.”
RFL recognized that user training is essential to get the most benefit out of the software. A tailor-made “train-the-trainer” concept was implemented at the outset in order to familiarize the employees with the system and keep them updated.
The ShipManager software system is now being used by the F. Laeisz Shipping Group on the entire fleet and in the company’s offices. The customization of the software to the company’s workflows has reduced and structured the workload significantly and increased staff productivity so the same number of employees can manage more vessels.
By using intelligent data synchronization, the same information is available onboard and onshore. It also interfaces easily with other DNV GL ship management software (such as ShipManager Hull (ship inspection), ShipManager Analyzer (shipping kpi) and ShipManager Crewing (crew management system)) and with standard accounting and document management systems as well as ShipServ (e-procurement).
Planning for the future
In order to monitor and benchmark purchasing and maintenance figures, Reederei F. Laeisz has installed ShipManager Analyzer. This software provides greater transparency of all vessels’ data by combining key information from different systems in meaningful summaries and management reports, easing the analysis of costs, operations and fleet-wide processes.
“The integration of data will bring even more opportunities which can be put into good use in today’s tough markets,” says Schlotfeld. A further project is the fleet-wide support of all hull-maintenance activities through ShipManager Hull software. The tool helps keep track of a vessel’s hull condition by utilizing a 3D computer model of the vessel to support the complete hull inspection and assessment process. By ensuring that a ship’s hull is well-maintained, costly repairs and drydocking times can be reduced to a minimum.
Why we chose DNV GL's ShipManager software:
- User-friendly and flexible system
- Integrated system to manage the company's onboard and onshore operations
- Intelligent data synchronization in ShipManager
This is what we gained:
- More efficient, organized and cost-effective operations
- Streamlining of maintenance system
- Avoidance of costly off-hire times through early repairs