How COVID-19 Has Impacted The Use Of Technology In Shipping

A recent study by McKinsey has highlighted that responses to COVID-19 have speeded up the adoption of digital technologies by several years and suggests many of these changes could be here for the long haul. Commenting on this study Alexander Buchmann, Managing Director at Hanseaticsoft says this is positive news for the shipping industry as it has traditionally been slow to embrace technology, and there are already signs things are changing.

According to satcom specialist IEC Telecom the demand for digital technology has risen tenfold as maritime businesses embrace new ways of working during the coronavirus pandemic.

Seafarer Connected_Internet_computer_
Representation Image – Credits: The Mission to Seafarers

Alexander Buchmann says, “The business world increasingly relies on technology but there has been reluctance by many in shipping to change their ways of working and make use of digital solutions. This year though COVID-19 has prompted them to find ways to operate more efficiently and make cost savings, which has led many to turn to cloud technology.

“As shipping grapples with the rapid pace of technological change and the economic fallout from the pandemic, the use of modern software solutions can help owners navigate the challenges ahead. Unable to control external factors, we are seeing shipping companies focus on improving their internal operations, including their commercial activity and fleets, to strengthen their business.

“To do this effectively, the ability to manage and analyse vast amounts of data has become business-critical and more shipping companies are investing in innovative technologies such as cloud-based software designed to help them reduce their costs and reclaim time. It can also help them become more competitive.”

In 2017, McKinsey found that nearly half of executives ranked cost savings as one of the most important priorities for their digital strategies. In 2020, they say only 10 percent view technology in the same way. While it stays true that the use of innovative technology increases efficiency, streamlines processes and this way saves costs, more than half of respondents now see technology’s core value in modernising their capabilities and in gaining the competitive advantage.

Cloud-technology is helping companies save time, reduce costs and become more competitive. Alexander Buchmann says, “Cloud technology has had a significant impact on the way we handle, store and access data. The core value is simplicity. As data is centrally stored in the cloud, all that is needed to access relevant information is an internet connection, regardless of time or location. This enables users to work more effectively without having to request anything from colleagues or IT, ideal for employees that are working remotely.

“What’s more, this centralisation of data also removes boundaries (i.e. data silos) caused by using different systems. Thanks to the cloud, data from various sources is easily connected and can be analysed to gain deeper insights. As a result, employees spend considerably less time looking for information or browsing through several applications.

“Cloud-based solutions help companies reduce their IT spend too. Instead of buying hardware and managing servers, the software vendor handles all of that and capex is reduced significantly. Having a centralised pool of information also makes it easier to evaluate data and calculate KPIs, either by exporting data to software solutions or using advanced solutions that do it automatically.

“We expect many more shipping companies will realise the potential of cloud-based software and mobile apps, where employees can access data they need from any device and from any location. This can completely transform business processes and operations including procurement, maintenance and managing crews on and off shore, helping companies on the road to recovery.”

Hanseaticsoft’s Cloud Fleet Manager (CFM) software is helping shipping companies with their digitisation, automating their processes and creating connected workplaces that support strategic business goals. The company says 25% of daily working time can be saved by using CFM which would be otherwise be wasted by companies searching for and validating data.

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