Why data is the new gold for shipping companies

Alexander Buchmann, managing director at Hanseaticsoft, explains the value of data analytics for shipping companies.

Companies are increasingly relying on data and technologies that support data management and analysis to improve business decision-making, business performance and success.

However, there are challenges, especially around the volumes of data that exist in organisations and being able to share and extract insight from it. Data needs to be managed efficiently and analysed in a structured way so that businesses can clearly interpret it to make insight-driven decisions that support their goals and objectives.

As the world moves on from the Covid-19 pandemic towards economic recovery, there is a unique opportunity for organisations to completely transform their business. Data can drive this transformation and this is something that shipping companies need to have on their agenda.

Access to reliable real-time data is essential and companies that invest in digital technologies to harvest and analyse this data efficiently will emerge from the pandemic in a much stronger position.

Whilst shipping as an industry has traditionally been slow to grasp new technologies, we’re slowly seeing this change. There is growing demand from companies to gain more insights into their operational data as they become aware of the benefits this can bring.

Harnessing the power of the cloud

The real game-changer over the past few years has been cloud-based technology, which is helping shipping companies gather, manage and share data across their entire workforce.

With the cloud, data is centrally stored so companies can access relevant information simply by having an internet connection. This data can be accessed on all sorts of devices including laptops, desktops and smartphones and tablets. Shore-based teams can share data with those working on vessels no matter where they are in the world.

Business-critical information such as important maritime instructions, crew schedules, payroll data and other key communications can now be shared by teams onshore with the crews and it can be actioned immediately, ensuring the company is agile and dynamic and can react to any situation.

Data can also be easily connected from different sources, which can be used to gain further insights. Using the cloud, data can be transmitted from vessels simply and quickly. As soon as the data is entered and synchronised it can be transferred to the office and accessed immediately by all relevant personnel.

This technology enables companies to streamline and accelerate processes, including red flagging areas that need urgent attention to improve efficiency – thus saving both time and money. Without this kind of insight, companies can often be in the dark to what is actually going on operationally and unable to rectify poor systems and processes in a timely manner.

Making the most of data

Tools such as Microsoft’s Power BI are further helping to drive a data culture across the shipping industry and improving business decision-making. This tool is enabling shipping companies to draw data from multiple sources, so that it can be analysed in a central place. 

It provides interactive visualisation tools and business intelligence capabilities and allows users to create their own reports and dashboards.

Companies can also use such tools to process any operational data, giving them access to robust and informative reporting options. Being able to visualise data in a clear and structured way can enable managers to make decisions much more quickly than if they received it from several different sources and had to collate it themselves.

Shipping companies that have a deep understanding of their data will be able to make insightful and lasting changes to help them build a successful strategy for the future.

Data becomes more than just a report and can be used to give the business clarity, uncover areas that need improvement and highlight growth opportunities.

Now more than ever, shipping companies need to improve efficiency, make cost savings, develop a competitive edge and become more agile in how they operate. This means rethinking processes and making more use of the information that already exists in their organisation.

Data is key and taking a data-driven approach is imperative for improving business decision making. Shipping companies that have a deep understanding of their data will be able to make insightful and lasting changes to help them build a successful strategy for the future.