Constantinos Tomasos: Achieving Long Term Benefits (Elnabi, Feb 2007, p.34)
The managing director of Tomasos Brothers, Mr. Constantinos Tomasos gave us some aspects regarding the user perspective. Tomasos operates crude oil tankers, products carriers, bulk carriers and passenger ships, therefore, the information technology plays an important role in the effective and smooth management of the fleet.
According to Mr. Tomasos the role of the IT manager in the Greek shipping companies it is not rather than a question of recourses. The real problem of IT managers is that often they are not well integrated in the company resulting in a role quite abstract, closer to a trouble shooter rather than to someone having the capabilities and background to enhance company's organization and in¬crease profits.
Regarding fear and anxiety for high computer literacy demands and resistance from key managers, Mr. Tomasos says that his company faces this problem by choosing software that is user friendly and trying to highlight the advantages that the new solution pres¬ents in comparison with the order one.
Mr. Tomasos agrees that the advantages of information technology in shipping are: readily processed information, centralizing information, avoiding inefficiencies, long term effectiveness and reducing accidents, informed decisions, managing regulatory pressures, proactive maintenance. He notes that an IT provider must not be a "one man show".
Mr. Tomasos believes that the basic approach in developing his company''s module to minimize impact of new procedures in respect of the existing ones.
He explains how Tomasos Brothers ensures integrated platform solutions with tailor made features: "choosing an integrated platform which by default is closer to our demands, filling the gap according to the case either by convincing the IT provider to enhance his product in the new release or the IT user to change his procedures".
"Finally, Mr. Tomasos refers to added bureaucratic strain brought by ISM, ISO and TMSA standards. He says: "our target is to increase usage of software in the daily operation, complying in this way say almost automatically to the bureaucracy demands, but meanwhile achieving also the long term benefits obtained by the usage of such software".
During the last Digital Ship & Ammitec Athens Conference Mr. Constantinos Tomasos, managing director of Tomasos Brothers gave an interesting speech regarding the user perspective. Mr. Tomasos set the following objectives in planning IT company's strategy: The people in the company had to follow the innovations without feeling excessive stress, evaluating existing organizational weakness.
Mr. Tomasos told that IT is the unique path towards the future, regarding risk management, planned maintenance, benchmarking, increase the standard and reduce the risk, long term cost effectiveness, running costs income. Mr. Tomasos referred to common consideration on when purchasing software. These include: Common difficulties vs. software, hardware, human resources, training needs, procedural re-organization, least impact with the existing ship and company procedures and user friendliness.
Mr. Tomasos pointed out that the software vendor must understand the routines and procedures followed up by a shipping company, flexibility and adaptability.
Since there are not only PMS (Plan maintenance system) items for sudden machinery breakdown, class, PSC, vetting it is nonsense to follow a separate procedure. According to Mr. Tomasos the company's choice is Ulysses Task Assistant, which provides an integrated platform with tailor made features. Concluding points of Mr. Tomasos include:
- Software became essential
- Buy PMS from experts
- Primary factor should no be the cost of programmes.
- Gather comments of pioneers and test program to evaluate time required to perform a data entry and if it is user friendly.
- Prefer a common platform that can deal with non-PMS.
- Statistics are essential for risk analysis and in general for TMSA.
- Budget for database to be defined by experts.