There are some new buzzwords in the industry, and one of them is “performance management”, What does that mean for seafarers, and what amazing advantages can it bring?
NEW FOCUS FOR SHIPPING
There has been much talk recently about how shipping needs to rethink its views on managing performance of seafarers. There was a time when training for seafarers was all about compliance. The industry had found itself trapped on a slippery slope of seeking competency, but was also lowered some of the standards surrounding it.
Maritime colleges were often dubbed “ticket factories”, and newly minted seafarers were churned out. Then with certificates in hand, it was only at sea that they began the really journey to learning. It was a cat and mouse game, in which seafarers would either sink or swim, as they gathered the skills and knowledge which would actually turn them into a marine professional.
There has long been a two-tier approach to training and development within shipping. There have been the companies who have just managed to get by, they haven’t really invested and there has been a lot of lip service paid to training.
While on the other hand, often driven by demanding charterers, there have been the companies who have invested, who have pushed forward and have looked to innovate and explore the ways of making their people better, their ships safer and clients truly happier.
IMPORTANCE OF PERFORMANCE
The shipowners, managers and operators gathering for the KVH Videotel event will hear of the importance of managing performance and striving for excellence in shipping. Dubbed, “The Next Evolution in Maritime Training ” there will be an announcement on a breakthrough new service that combines award-winning maritime training content with advanced technology and data analytics.
In today’s shorebased workplaces, performance improvement and the role of data combines to meld together within the concept of “performance management”. As businesses look to achieve more and improve their results, it is an increasingly popular topic.
For a long time, such levels of performance management were not really applicable in shipping. Seafarers did the training they were meant to do, senior officers would try and gain a sense of who was who, and what they were capable of, and there was a very low-tech, cottage feel to it all.
So, the technological leap to a new way of managing and improving performance is new to shipping. It is set to be truly be a game changer. Now, this is a phrase that is used too much. But with the sweeping changes of digitalisation and the blockchain, then shipping companies will have to be able to show, to provide the data to prove that their people are good enough. It can be easy to fall into hyperbole, but this really is the next evolution in maritime training.
DATA DRIVEN DECISIONS
To truly convince sceptics of the importance of bringing human performance into the digital domain, it is important to asses just what is meant by the digitalisation of shipping and of the blockchain.
Basically, the blockchain is a spreadsheet that is duplicated thousands of times across a network of computers, and is designed to regularly update itself. So, the things of interest to companies and charterers will be recorded, and will exist as information on a globally shared — and continually reconciled — database.
The move to automation and autonomy is thought about in terms of actual vessels. However, the first places it will really take root are ashore in the business decision making functions of companies. So, the automation that people are getting all excited about may take a different form initially.
The blockchain will be the place that companies look as they decide to make chartering decisions. Suddenly issues such as vessel performance, safety, security and standards will be indelibly recorded, and capable of transparent interrogation. Charterers will have automatic checks to decide which vessels to use, and they will make automated choices based on the blockchain information.
We are entering a new age, where performance needs to be monitored, assessed, recorded and made accessible. The blockchain does not provide any hiding place, there can be no veil to hide behind, the truth is out there.
There is an intense focus on performance management in businesses ashore, and that is now shifting to shipping. Business pressures mean that companies and their assets need to become ever more effective and efficient, execute better on business strategy, and do more with less in order to remain competitive.
This evolution in maritime training will indeed see a breakthrough, mean of harnessing the right tools and maritime training content, and ensuring that a mix of technology and data analytics means that shipping companies can deliver on their needs, and the wants of clients.
The old ways of recording training, of assessing standards and managing improvements are changing. So too are the means of translating the hard work of training, gaining competency and certification into language which charterers understand. These are exciting times, and this is just the start of the journey.
What do you think? How will the blockchain affect training? What will it mean to charterers and owners? Share your thoughts with us, we’d love to know what you think.