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Digital Transformation

Supporting People and Processes In Shipping: Putting Technology Where The Work Happens

Head of Growth, Anthon Hollstein-Ivarsson shares about the pain points faced by both the engineering team onboard, procurement teams onshore and how PROPELLER seeks to solve these issues by empowering these teams with accurate real-time data.

On most shipping vessels there is a single desktop computer managing inventory. Usually this computer is in an office up to three hundred or more metres away from where the work on board is being done. 

For engineers and crew, this means trekking across a large vessel and then sifting through hundreds of items in a drop-down menu just to record spare parts inventory in a manual entry to the ERP. 

At best, this distance between data input and work is impractical, inconveniencing the crew, interrupting workflows, and leading to errors in inventory data. At worst, this inconvenience means that the data input is circumvented entirely. 

In both cases, inventory data inaccuracies emerge that lead to duplicate parts orders, inefficient maintenance operations, and emergency fulfilments of needed spares. This costs the shipping industry over two billion dollars each year, and results in significant unnecessary CO2 emissions, as well as other environmental effects throughout the supply chain. 

Our Solution:

In 2018, SparesCNX was created to enable better data accuracy in the shipping industry so that the seafarers on board and the staff on shore can operate as effectively and efficiently as possible.

In the thousands hours our product teams have spent on board commercial vessels, we’ve found that inaccurate inventory data typically comes down to two things:

  • Lack of standardized tools and processes (digital or otherwise) 
  • Lack of automation in the day-to-day vessel activities. 

We address this by putting tools in the hands of engineers that both enable and assist them in maintenance operations and increase inventory visibility for onshore managers.

SparesCNX’s PROPELLER is a novel IoT inventory management solution powered by hardware, software, RFID technology, and human interaction that creates transparency, connectivity and optimization throughout the spare parts supply chain. 

Over the last three years our solution has shown itself capable of:

  • Producing 100% accurate inventory data across a fleet
  • Shortening stock reconciliation times by 90% annually 
  • Reducing vessel deliveries and corresponding CO2 emissions by over 250,000 trucks per year.
  • Saving thousands of hours for sailing seafarers handling spare parts onboard vessels

That being said, we also know that our solution wouldn’t be capable of this without the people on board using our technology

For that reason, the SparesCNX solution is designed to put people first. It is designed to create workflow efficiencies that enable engineers to focus on engineering and generate spare part inventory visibility that enables procurement teams to optimize procurement decisions.

The Onboard Benefit: 

Our PROPELLER tablet does more than reduce the distance between work and data, it eliminates it. 

Designed to withstand any onboard environment, our tablet accompanies the engineer to the worksite. Instead of adding an extra step to the workflow, PROPELLER is an integrated part of the engineer’s maintenance operations. 

Our engineers join onboard crews for the better part of a month to standardize their spares storage processes and train relevant teams on our software. 

With PROPELLER there is no more manual ERP entry. Instead, the parts on board are all RFID/QR tagged and then scanned by the engineer at the maintenance site. Our proprietary software integrates this data instantly to the vessel’s existing ERP or PMS. 

Beyond this, the tablet’s RFID radar function means that engineers can locate spares rapidly; hours previously spent searching for misplaced spares can now be reallocated to other value-added work. 

PROPELLER isn’t just a data entry catalyst. It is a catalyst that accelerates all of the engineer’s onboard activities: finding, using, and storing spare parts. 

The Onshore Benefit: 

PROPELLER puts procurement teams on board and connects them to day-to-day vessel activity in a way that is unprecedented.

The data collected on board is fed into our PROPELLER Shore solution so that on shore managers and relevant teams can now track inventory data across a fleet in real time

PROPELLER Shore’s machine learning and artificial intelligence also provides meaningful inventory inferences based on consumption patterns and predictive analytics. 

With this, onshore teams can be a step ahead of their fleet’s needs and make data-driven decisions that optimize inventory levels, reduce excess inventory and eliminate costly urgent orders to the vessels.

Seeking partners for vessel pilots: 

SparesCNX is currently offering single vessel outfitting for Container Vessels, Bulk Carriers and LPG Vessels to pilot our solution. 

Speak to our team about how you can use cutting-edge technology to solve one of the industry’s oldest problems.

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