Key data to meet changing marine logistics expectations

Maritime News

Data transfer can serve as a guiding star for marine logistics in a post COVID era – so says Martin Wallgren, Chief Information Officer for the GAC Group. The fight against the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, as many countries now face a fresh wave of infections. However, the global vaccination programme has given some confidence to businesses, many of whom are now considering how to secure success in the post-pandemic era.

The end, or rather subsiding, of the pandemic will be the catalyst for a complete redefinition of global industries. In the maritime and transportation sectors, COVID-19 has already triggered consolidation. Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity are up, and some players have disappeared from the sector entirely. The ‘great resignation’ is taking hold worldwide and across all industries as employees re-evaluate their priorities and some leave their jobs in search of greater flexibility and a better work-life balance. Thus businesses face the challenge of attracting and retaining talent at a time when profits are still suffering the after-effects of COVID-19.

From reporting to business intelligence

To redefine and recapture success in the post-pandemic world, businesses must re-evaluate their data. Gone are the days of PDF reports. Now, live reporting on key performance indicators (KPIs) is a must to maintain continuity and the all-important competitive advantage.

The business of sourcing and delivering ships’ spare parts is a case in point. In the past, marine logistics providers held the information on the status of components they selected, stored, and transported to vessels and rigs. But the business has taken a hit from the pandemic with unpredictable supply chains, shortages of labour and raw materials, production delays – and that’s even before you consider the unexpected incidents like the closure of the Suez Canal. Vessel and offshore asset owners and operators now want this information at their fingertips, live, and trackable on their own systems. Such transparency is crucial to operational continuity and safety. In the short term, it affords asset owners and operators more time to anticipate and react to potential issues, and longer term it can help achieve greater productivity.

Insights into the performance of supply chains enables shipping and logistics operators to challenge poor performance by evaluating agreed KPIs to, for example, review and remove poorly performing suppliers. But with staff numbers down, maintaining these insights in-house is no longer feasible for many. That’s where for businesses with the capability to provide the data needed to support key business decisions, like GAC, come in.

Rise of data transfer

An accurate business data model provides a visual map of all enterprise information, including critical context on how data sources fit together and flow into one another. Such models are essential to pivoting products and services in response swiftly, smartly and sustainably to market challenges and opportunities.

Uber’s pivot from taxis to food delivery is a classic case. It gave the business the flexibility and resilience to survive and thrive profitably when its traditional core business was hit by the pandemic.

Not only does a smart business model enhance operations for a business and its customers, it also serves as a powerful magnet to attract top executives looking to advance their careers in a digitally mature organisation.

Problem solving and personal connection

There is no ‘One size fits all’ solution. There are important differences between marine logistics and the Uber-style model. The maritime sector cares less about aesthetics and more about harnessing data to solve problems. Personal connections remain critical – being personally present ‘on the ground’ is vital to engendering trust and confidence in digital solutions. Without that human element, even the best technology is unlikely to get a footing in the market.

Data transfer businesses can provide a North Star for post-pandemic marine logistics services, offering a critical anchor point from which information and goods can flow safety and efficiently. ✷

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