Finding better ways to collaborate across silos in shipping

By Helgi Benediktsson

Photo by william william on Unsplash


In shipping, to solve emerging business and environmental challenges, communication and collaboration is fast becoming more and more important.


For example, in a charter party agreement between a charterer and ship owner, both parties will want to ensure that their long-term commercial and sustainability goals are met.


But while both parties will obviously want a fair rate for the charter of a vessel, the charterer will be highly interested in the efficiency of the vessel, to decrease the fuel bill and emissions, while the owner will want to maintain overview of how the CII rating of the vessel during the charter period is trending, for better planning, financial control and compliance with regulations.


Furthermore, both parties will also need to communicate on vessel specifications, charter parties addendums and options as well as report on any incidents and damages that might occur during a hire.


The desired outcome for everyone should be a long-term business relationship founded on shared truths, fast and efficient communication and mutual trust.


The email impulse


When faced with the task of communicating internally or outside the organisation, across silos, the impulse is often to revert to the tried and tested email correspondence.


In many cases this makes sense.


Emails are a handy and robust way to send almost any kind of information, including Word documents, Excel sheets and PDFs.


However, when multiple people are involved in the correspondence or have to be kept in the loop, projects managed through email can quickly become a nightmare to administer, keep track of the current status and what has occurred — with no logical central place to handle the project’s access privileges, workflows or data.


Processing of the data shared will also be ad-hoc and siloed, translating to an unnecessary amount of time to understand the data and use it in context.



Email correspondence can quickly become a nightmare for communication and project management where multiple parties are involved.


Workspaces to the rescue!


And that’s where the workspaces concept comes in, naturally.


Digital workspaces (or team spaces) for working across silos are tried and tested in many application domains.


They allow professionals to work on subject matters and projects without having to rely on old fashioned, difficult to trace, error prone and insecure communication and file sharing, using email.


The benefits are numerous, including granular access controls and permission boundaries, instant updates and communication threads being available to everyone, irrespective of when they were added to the workspace.


On top of that, workspaces can be equipped to show data rendered in context with the task being worked on.


 

The aforementioned is also the reason why we at Ankeri have found workspaces to be a natural fit to build into our product.


Introducing Ankeri Workspaces


At Ankeri our goal is to help shipping companies find better ways of working across silos, both on the machine-to-machine level as well as on the human level.


Using Ankeri Workspaces, chartering teams are able to make use of digital workspaces in Ankeri’s Fleet & Chartering product to start efficient collaboration and communication on various tasks during the charter’s life cycle (pre- and post-fixture) — and without having to rely on email as the focal point of communication.



Ankeri Workspaces allow every member of the workspace to be on the same page.


The available workspace items are presented in the form of workspace widgets that every workspace member has access to. The widgets can be added as required to each workspace and currently consist of (although many more are planned):


  • Vessel profiles sharing.

  • Chartering contracts and updates.

  • Stevedore damage reports workflows.

  • CII performance sharing.

 

The process to start making use of a workspace in Ankeri is simple and easy.

  • An Ankeri user creates a workspace to become its creator (or admin).

  • The creator adds the required widgets that should be represented in the workspace and the vessels to be associated with the workspace and widgets.

  • The creator then adds members, internal or external to the creator’s organisation.

  • Every new member added is notified and can immediately access and start contributing to the workspace.

Multiple workspaces can be created for each Ankeri company account. A company account can for example create a specific workspace for each of its clients, to handle the relevant communication and workflows for all the clients’ vessels.


The following screen shot shows a workspace in Ankeri that is accessible to two people from two different companies and includes the contracts and stevedore damage reports widgets for the four vessels chartered in by Ankeri Charterer from Skeifan Lines.



An example of a workspace between two companies in Ankeri’s Fleet & Chartering.


This way both parties have access to the same information and can communicate in context with the tasks they need to collaborate on.

 

If you want to learn more about how Ankeri Workspaces can benefit your shipping company then simply reach out to us and request a demo.