V.Group collaborated with the management consultancy Accenture to improve its approach to crew management. The project named Embark seeks to develop an in-house shared services model which streamlines key processes for V.Group’s seafarers, customers, and colleagues.
Embark will see the introduction of new and enhanced technology to support these shared services and digitise the shipowner and seafarer experience.
For customers, Embark seeks to drive cost efficiencies and vessel performance by introducing enhanced dashboard metrics that continually monitor and analyse ongoing crew management. It also drives more informed decision-making through real-time, accurate reports combined with better planning tools and increased budget transparency.
For seafarers, Embark will include streamlined and standardised recruitment software, a new global payroll system, and an app that seafarers can use to search for assignments, sign contracts, and manage documentation. The project will also create a consistent model for professional development.
In doing so, Embark addresses the fact that while digitalisation is transforming the industry, ships’ crew often remain left behind. Traditional, manual processes are common when it comes to the recruitment and administrative processes that accompany seafaring. This not only eats into shore leave but takes up time that could be spent improving quality of life at sea, and crew performance.
Project Embark forms part of V.Group’s growth strategy of investing heavily in recruiting, developing and engaging the best maritime talent, and contributes to the company’s ambition to transform the industry and become the leading global provider of crew management services.
Allan Falkenberg, group managing director, crew management at V.Group, said: “As a business, our focus is on delivering consistently high-quality, engaged and motivated crew ensuring maximum vessel performance. With around 3,000 shore-based colleagues and a seafarer pool of circa 44,000, we need to ensure that we are spending more time on more rewarding work, focused on doing the right thing for our seafarers and customers, and reducing paperwork and manual activities. In turn, this leads to improved communication with seafarers, a reduction in last minute changes and rectifying errors, and access to accurate data that allows for more informed decision making on the planning side. For seafarers, it means more time to spend with family and friends on shore leave, and more certainty about their career planning and travel.
“To make this project happen, we’re not only investing in the digital technology, we’re reinventing our more than 30 crewing offices around the world to deliver a consistently high-level of service through our innovative operation model supported by centres of excellence, which will ensure that best practice is disseminated throughout the organisation. Ultimately, we’re a people business. Our values are to care, challenge, collaborate, be consistent and to commit and deliver. This brings all of these together, investing in the skills, technology and behaviours that will deliver for our customers, and improve life at sea.”
In Q4 this year, V.Group will open a new crew management centre in Mumbai, coinciding with the rollout of a digital platform that will allow seafarers to apply for assignments, upload documentation and track progress and travel arrangements.
At the heart of project Embark is the expectations to further improve the customer experience and V.Group’s ambition to drive the transformation of the industry and to be the leading global provider of marine support services, including crew management.