Many outside of shipbuilding fail to understand that it is an industry unlike any other. The realities shipbuilders face are often only grasped by those in our industry and addressed only by shipbuilding specific solutions.
These five shipbuilding challenges are the ones most impacting our industry today. Identifying how they affect your organization is the first step to:
- Enhancing your existing processes and workflows.
- Minimizing any risk to your projects – current or future.
- Better decision-making.
Learn more about each reality below and explore how to tackle them.
Shipbuilding is a global industry
Modern shipbuilding is a global industry, but while the benefits of that reality are clear, few shipbuilders successfully overcome the challenges that come along with that. Professionals working on design, engineering, and construction in different parts of the world have significantly different skills and abilities, require additional coordination, and need to be able to work together seamlessly.
By allowing engineering teams to collaborate freely with each other and other teams and organizations, ensuring that the training available to engineers and drafters is efficient and cost-effective for any market, and securely connecting other organizations, departments, tools, and processes to your projects, your organization can take advantage of the benefits of a global shipbuilding industry.
Shipyards are focused on today
The realities of shipbuilding drive the need to focus on the next milestone. Ensuring your organization can respond to market changes, innovate without jeopardizing current projects, and align your investment with what you need to get done allows you to focus on shipbuilding.
There is only a finite amount of resources to put towards new technologies, so any capital investment that does not have a clear ROI is a potential risk. With so many different tools, scripts, and systems already in place within a shipyard, and with existing ongoing projects that cannot be disrupted, it’s essential that any new solution works within that existing reality – without lengthy implementation or adjustment periods.
Shipbuilding projects are at a massive scale
A massive amount of information is generated during the design, construction, and operation of a ship. Even for a single hull, the number of data points and changes that need to be managed is immense. Suppliers, materials, schedules, requirements, labor resources, and finances all fluctuate. To compound the problem, each activity also produces information in a unique format, meaning that your organization has to work with data and information that might not play well together.
That variety of systems and applications involved throughout the lifecycle of a ship makes deciphering, validating, and achieving any kind of project visibility from this data a huge challenge. Equipping your design and engineering teams to work on projects of any scale, effectively track changes of any scale, and seamlessly share information gives your organization control over the scale of shipbuilding projects.
Ships have a lifecycle measured in decades
Modern vessel lifespans are not attainable without ongoing maintenance, repair, and refit. The ability to quickly capture the as-is conditions of a vessel, utilize existing designs and information, and ensure that information will always be accessible gives you a complete overview of your ship from build to decommissioning.
Additionally, constant changes to rules and regulations often require significant refits of existing vessels, which causes the ship in operation to deviate further from any information captured during its construction.
Shipbuilding is a unique industry
Shipbuilding is different from any other industry. Because ships are engineered before the design is approved and built before the engineering is complete, it’s crucial that your design and engineering teams can focus on shipbuilding and not on managing change.
Large shipbuilding programs consist of tens or dozens of vessels of the same class. Even between two sister ships, the differences can be significant. This differs quite a bit from any other industry. Consumer goods are designed once and manufactured millions of times, buildings are typically designed and built once, even airplanes are engineered once and built hundreds, if not thousands, of times with comparatively small variations between each plane and the next. Shipbuilders have to get it right quickly while managing a large amount of change between each ship.
Tools Purpose-Built for Shipbuilding
There are many solutions on the market that claim to understand shipbuilding’s unique challenges and may even have the technology to theoretically solve them. However, some of these solutions only try to check boxes or consider simple scenarios and forget how every designer, engineer, and planner will interact with the system during a real project at every level, right down to the deck plate.
SSI’s founder Rolf Oetter recognized just how different shipbuilding was from other industries when he founded SSI over 30 years ago. This understanding has played no small part in why the world’s best shipbuilders have consistently recognized that the SSI platform works with how they build ships rather than against them.