Update Jul 2001

Task Assistant as an Aid to Ship Vetting

We recently had the opportunity to attend a very interesting Intertanko seminar in Athens regarding vetting inspections. A series of interesting topics were discussed over the seminar and the attendants took the opportunity to put forth their thoughts as well as their concerns of how they could best deal with these vetting inspections.

It is a fact that vetting inspections are becoming stricter and more demanding. Although most shipping companies are able to comply with the requirements of the major oil companies, they often lose track of the rapid changes of these requirements, which are recorded and kept in previous inspection records. Bearing in mind that these requirements vary from one oil company to another, the problem is compounded.

Vetting and its role in client relationships.
There are many new factors in ship vetting that affect the profitability of a company. The proper and methodic handling of problems together with the well-informed and effective relationships established between shipping companies and their customers are vitally important factors for a continued working relationship with clients, especially if these are major oil companies.

For example, after a vetting inspection, a major oil company may cause a record to be made of remedial actions to be carried out in the future. Shipping companies are expected not only to take remedial action, but also to show how similar impending occurrences will be eliminated. In some cases it will be necessary to show how the methods used to implement remedial action were in accordance with safe practices. In other words, documentary evidence is required to show a full picture from a detected deficiency, its satisfactory repair conclusion, and measures taken to avoid reoccurrence.

Customer relationship management, a method of managing the customer relationship in the most efficient way across large organizations, is an area that has attracted a lot of attention in recent years. But what does this have to do with vetting?

When a software application is able to help you find exchanges related to a problem, diagnose a problem, provide the history of that particular problem and recall the corporate memory of the company in this instance as well as provide all the vital issues and related factors, then the solution of the problem and the correct guidance for its remedy becomes much quicker and easier to manage.

A well informed solution to a problem helps show a company in the best light and improve the relationship between the company and its customers.

We strongly believe that Task Assistant is the best software application for ensuring continuity and a viable and strong relationship for the management of shipping companies and their customers. Each charterer or oil company communications and exchanges can be categorised under the tasks of expediting vetting inspections and managing the liaison.

By selecting a particular task and a relevant context, the history of the selected oil company with respect to particular vessels and the company will appear. Correspondence, previous reports, warnings, recommendations and actions will play a role in guiding the next inspection and organizing it in the best way possible. Since the instant availability of all background information is so relevant to good responses to customers, the desired results are more attainable and easier to control. Many vetting deficiencies can be traced back to lack of awareness of oil company preferred focus.

It is well recognized that the handling of any matter while under the scrutiny of a customer can be critical in the relationship.

Task Assistant can equally and effectively help the relationships of shipping companies with all the kinds of customers or stake holders they deal with, be it charterers or port states coast guard.

The shipping companies and their principles
Task Assistant's capabilities can be extended to help shipping companies establish good relationships not only with their customers but also with their principals and shareholders.

For example, coordinating the dry-docking of a number of vessels per year is a major operation that demands a lot of attention, coordination, risk mitigation, and cost control. Task Assistant helps to show the history and current exchanges with respect to all areas of focus in the company. As applied to dry docking, Task Assistant can help make the management process from beginning to end easier to track and much more consistent.

For example:

  • Task Assistant can quickly disseminate a vessel's defects and pending work scheduled for dry-dock.
  • It can easily disseminate dry-docking documents from previous dry-dockings relevant to the vessel, the region, the yard of proposed dry-docking, and other relevant categorizations.
  • Task Assistant can help highlight areas needing concern as regards to, for example, a particular yard.
  • Task Assistant can help compare quotes and coordinate decisions between various departments. For example, co-ordinated decisions regarding the expected quality of work, duration, deviation, price, facilities, or next employment of vessel.
  • Task Assistant makes it easy to build and manage simple but highly effective reports extracted from vast sources of data accumulated as a by-product of routine dry docking documentation.
  • Task Assistant makes it easy to track the progress of all the relevant departments co-ordinating the dry-dock progress when selecting yards converge. For example: matching transport constraints to the delivery of paints, anodes, or spares; coordinating currency purchases with payment terms.

The delivery of new buildings is also an important issue that requires co-ordinating actions between the ship-owning companies, their representatives and the shipyards. Apart from coordination, ship owners can be effectively helped to manage important issues without missing deadlines, suffering omissions in attention, or applying efforts inefficiently.

In general, the easy and effective management of knowledge saves time and errors, and helps free up valuable attention to matters of greatest business benefits.