Today maritime industry leaders are concerned about Big Data and how to receive, structure and maintain them to optimize company business processes.

Traditional data that companies are receiving, such as fuel price, quarterly revenue, wage of the crew and so on, are not the only data which can be used for performance improvement. There are also non-traditional data, such as number of airline strikes, delays in bunkering, weather conditions or travel costs for local transport in crew destinations, are sometimes not taken into account.

What would be the best way to receive such data and where to keep them? If a company work in information silo (see article Work in silo), and use several systems that are not communicating with each other, it is not unusual that departments do not get access to the required data.  So, for example, if you keep the data in a crew management system, you have to make sure that the finance department has proper understanding where to find the required information.

The most interesting question is how to make sure you use all your resources to obtain the data? One of the options which I am sure, is not very much in use today, is to get it from your people as a feedback.

How often do we normally get feedback from our people onboard? How often do managers at the office listen to the crew? How often do we communicate with those onboard? I do not mean giving everyday’s instructions or receiving standard form reports from the vessel or the rig. I mean informative feedback from the crew, priceless ideas which can only be born onboard. The ideas which if considered and accepted, would high-rock performance, motivate and inspire employees, and  make the company better and more enjoyable working place. Just imagine how all these factors could potentially make the company looking more attractive in front of the clients! How this could positively reinforce the company's reputation as an visionary employer!

It is no secret that crew dislike appraisal and personal development plans and forms. As a crew member, it is something you are normally not looking forward to, and when it is done, and you got an ok appraisal, forget it at once. Or you just thinking about that with frustration because you do not have time for filling up long forms which nobody reads or uses afterwards. Why is that? How to change people’s perception of the appraisal process?

Make it fun. Make it high-tech. Make it useful. Use the opportunity and include receiving feedback from the crew into the appraisal process.

Here there are no limits for imagination. I would like just to give you an example. Microsoft released PowerApps, the tool you can use to build your own app without learning programming language. You can manage data by running an app that you created or that someone else created and shared with you. One of the app is called Suggestion Box. The app can be customised for usage by maritime companies. The crew would have user account access, and managers – admin account. “Users within a team or organization can submit their ideas and let the team vote on them. With different views for user and manager logins, managers can approve ideas for implementation.” – says the app description.

As usual, great ideas are born due to pain points and if shared by the crew, would point to the challenge they experience onboard. Vessel superintendent can create a vessel team where everyone onboard can make a suggestion for improvement or give an idea to change process or procedure. Then the idea goes for the votes, and if it is supported by a number of crew, it is a red flag for the management to consider it. Even if it is not approved, the feedback received from the crew is useful data, which should be taken into account by the companies for better decision making.

Please contact us to expore the opportunity to use Suggestion Box for your company.