At sea, a robust safety culture is vital to reduce operational risks and maintain efficient, compliant operations. How could Seatrans enhance its approach to incident reports and other key documents?
Seatrans uses digital communities in IBM Connections Cloud to support collaborative incident reporting and case handling—empowering on- and off-shore workers to gain deeper insights into incidents.
Helpson- and off-shore workers start investigating incidents at sea faster
Enablescollaborative reporting for deeper insights into the causes of incidents
EmpowersSeatrans Ship Management to enhance procedures and improve safety
Business challenge story
Charting a course to safer operations
To ensure the safe passage of vessels and their cargo, employees on land and at sea must work together efficiently.
Erik Mohn, Head of Crewing and HR at Seatrans Ship Management, begins: “Seatrans Group operates a fleet of 17 cargo ships, including chemical tankers and roll-on/roll-off [RO/RO] ships. At Seatrans Ship Management, our role is to provide the crews and supporting services to operate these vessels effectively. Our employees at sea work in demanding and often inhospitable environments, and safety is our top priority.”
He continues: “We are always looking for ways to enhance our safety culture—whether it’s providing training sessions and education resources or refining our processes and procedures. Incident reporting is a powerful tool in our ongoing effort to improve safety. By understanding how and why a situation at sea has developed, we can take action to reduce the risk of a similar event occurring in the future.”
In the past, Seatrans Ship Management relied on visits to ships, email and phone calls to gather insight into incidents and produce the final incident reports—but driving the process in this way made it difficult to produce in-depth reports and safety recommendations, and to ensure all parties involved had a chance to contribute.
Mohn continues: “In the past, a member of our on-shore team would investigate incidents by interviewing the ship master, chief engineers and any other parties involved, type up the findings in a text document, and then submit it to senior management for approval. However, this approach presented a number of challenges.
“As there was typically a significant delay between the incident and the interviews, there was always the risk of important details being forgotten or overlooked. We also recognized that limiting the people involved in creating the report to the incident crew and a handful of on-shore employees meant we were missing out on opportunities to engage the expertise of others in the organization. Safety is a continuous, collaborative process—and to strengthen our safety culture, we looked for a more effective way of working.”
Launching into the cloud
To enhance its collaboration capabilities, Seatrans Ship Management decided to build a social business network based on IBM Connections Cloud and IBM Verse®. The solutions enable employees across the organization to work seamlessly in digital communities—whether they’re on land or at sea.
“Of all the solutions we considered, we felt that IBM offered the most mature collaboration platform,” explains Mohn. “We have relied on IBM Notes® and Domino® for email and calendaring for a number of years, and our positive experiences with the platform gave us the confidence that we could rely on IBM for responsive support and a dependable product development roadmap. We see IBM Verse as a great example of the evolution of email—and we really like how the solution utilizes cognitive technology to surface important email contacts automatically.”
“One of the things we appreciate most about IBM Connections Cloud is its collaborative document editing capabilities. By enabling all the people involved in an incident to work on the report together, we realized we could capture even deeper insights into incidents and their contributing factors, and identify safety recommendations that we might not otherwise have considered.”
Seatrans Ship Management engaged IBM Silver Business Partner Item Consulting to help transition smoothly to the new way of working. To date, Seatrans Ship Management has implemented the solution at its headquarters in Oslo and for a small subset of its fleet, with plans to roll out the solution to all 17 vessels in the coming months.
Mohn says: “Item Consulting was instrumental in helping us get up and running with IBM Connections Cloud and IBM Verse; the team guided us through the implementation and knowledge-transfer processes seamlessly. To ensure that the solutions met our needs, Item Consulting conducted workshops with representatives from our main user groups to help them set up communities and learn best practices for managing them. We found that the solution quick and easy to implement, and our people were up and running after just two training sessions.”
Running a tight ship
By connecting staff on land and crew at sea via digital communities, Seatrans Ship Management is building an even stronger culture of safety onboard its vessels.
Mohn says: “IBM Connections Cloud is transforming the way that we investigate incidents and develop safety recommendations. Whereas in the past one member of our on-shore team would drive the incident report process from beginning to end, today the master, technical superintendents and marine superintendent on the incident vessel can contribute to the report themselves. And with the Connections mobile app, our crews can even easily add photographs and videos—bringing greater detail, accuracy and transparency to our reports.”
He adds: “Crucially, we are empowering our people to identify ways to enhance the safety of all of our crews—helping us operate efficiently while keeping our people out of harm’s way.”
Since adopting its social business platform, Seatrans Ship Management is realizing the benefits of clear, effective collaboration in other parts of its organization.
“Previously, we relied on a spreadsheet-based budgeting process, which required our people to send updates to one another via email,” explains Mohn. “As well as consuming significant amounts of storage space, this approach made it difficult to maintain robust version control—increasing the chance of erroneous information being carried through into our budget.
“To reduce our exposure to reporting risk, we now use collaborative document editing in IBM Connections Cloud. By working on our budget in a single document in the cloud, we gain a transparent, auditable record of every change. Better still, we completely eliminate the need to send budgets via email, ensuring a single, consistent source of truth.”
Mohn concludes: “At the moment, a handful of crews are using IBM Connections Cloud, and we will soon be rolling out the platform to our entire fleet. We believe strongly that the more closely our people work together, the more they can achieve. Thanks to our IBM collaboration solutions, we can help everyone in the business to work more safely and effectively.”
About Seatrans Ship Management
Part of the Seatrans Group, Seatrans Ship Management offers high-quality ship management for other companies in its group as well as external clients. With standards that meet strict industry requirements, Seatrans Ship Management offers a wide range of expert services from full ship management to consultancy.
Take the next step
To learn more about IBM Connections Cloud, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/marketplace/enterprise-social-collaboration
Founded in 1999 and headquartered in Oslo, Norway, Item Consulting AS is a leading IT consultancy specializing in solutions for effective collaboration. An IBM Silver Business Partner, Item Consulting offers public and private customers advice on how they can optimize their operations using the latest generation of enterprise collaboration technologies. To learn more about solutions and services from Item Consulting, please visit: item.no