News Article 01/09/2000 A

All Is well with 900 ambassadors onboard

01/09/2000 - International Cruise & Ferry Review

If your flagship had embarked on a cruise with a full passenger roster of 2,500 including 900 VIPs you would be excited about the opportunities this could unfold. However you would, no doubt, feel obliged to make a few phone calls to ensure that at least 100 of your own "master diplomats" and indirectly 800 of your lower ranking "diplomats" did their part to make the best of this occasion.

But we all know that getting the best out of a crew of 900 takes a lot more than a few phone calls. You rely on your long established management expertise and the enormous effort and experience that has gone into building up your reputation as a premier cruise line.

Cost of Maintained Standards

The question however is how much does it cost you to maintain this standard and to ensure you are not vulnerable to mishaps? Let's look at a parallel but much simpler illustration: If you were to join the vessel and personally look after 30 of these 900 VIPs you would need to do some preparation yourself. The most important matters would no doubt be taken care of, you would rely on your outstanding Personal Assistant to help you out, to remind you of things, and to do some of the routine work while you concentrated on the big picture.

Well then, it should not come as a surprise, that each one of your entire crew would also need to concentrate on their own big picture, while some welcoming soul helped them with all the little things that might turn out to be bigger than you or they would cope with. Now, a "PA/Maestro/Coordinator" for each crew member would not be cost effective, but neither would too many "inevitable" mishaps be cost effective. The truth is, you do have in essence a PA/Maestro for every crewmember. This PA/Maestro manifests itself in systems of supervising, checking, reminding, double-checking, practicing, auditing, and basically managing your 900 representatives onboard. This costs you thousands of dollars per day.

Humans are by nature creative and highly resourceful when properly deployed. However infallible, consistency is not one of our greatest natural attributes. Let's face it, consistency in every detail, among the daily routines of 900 people, is a struggle, especially when it comes to small unlikely details. We confront this problem to an extent in most managerial situations. The question is, what can we do to make it easier, and above all, more cost effective.

The Answer is to use Technology to Help

However, technology takes time to mature to the extent of solving more problems than it creates. In the end however technology is the answer. But who wants to wait for technological solutions to mature and be tested in the field? And who wants to try out solutions that cost money and attention to apply, and which eventually may be proven to be ineffective?

What if there was a technological solution that assists in training and assists in reminding and does this in the most ergonomically efficient way currently possible? And what if it was proven to work in the field?

A double award winning software product called "Task Assistant has, according to its manufacturers and its very discerning clients, achieved exactly that. A field proven and people proven solution to quality management, to coordination, and to consistency onboard and ashore. It is a system that greatly enhances the performance of the users by handling the enormous information and coordination burden in a way that suits the way people think and work. Ask V Ships, ask Louis Cruise Lines, ask Mobil Shipping, or any of the others in the list of prominent clients of this innovative and above all effective product.

Keith Parsons V Ships' Human Resources Director, recently stated: "Our first priority was a Management system that would handle onboard administration with ease and efficiency and provide the necessary support for the shipboard management team, It had to adapt easily to our existing management system and provide task-focused access to up-to-date information across a range of sources."