Yacht building and digitalization are strongly interconnected at Oceanco. For the Alblasserdam-based company it is even a precondition to continue to perform at top level. ‘Our ambition is to build the owner’s perfect yacht and realize all their wishes. No matter how complex they may be. During the entire term of a project – from contract to delivery – the owner can still propose changes. To make that possible, you need an advanced system that helps with these processes,’ says Hans Bink, Project Manager Business Innovation at Oceanco. In this article, we will explain how Oceanco works digitally, what challenges and benefits far-reaching commitment to digitalization bring and in the end, we will also discuss the advanced, digital future of the yacht builder in Alblasserdam.
When Bink started as a Business Innovation Manager, Oceanco already worked digitally. However, the information was still scattered both in the teams within the organization, and at Oceanco’s co-makers (key suppliers) outside the organization. Bink: ‘I saw that within a project team there were a lot of different ways of storing data and making data available, resulting in lots of manual actions and copying of data. My colleagues and I realized that things could and should be done much smarter and better. We started exploring the possibilities of using the available data in a smarter way, to the benefit of the quality and efficiency of the project. Since Yacht Builder (a Shipbuilder Software derivative) is a flexible solution, we chose to introduce this program as a data management tool in the organization. As a result, more teams are interconnected and more data is stored as a single source of truth and available to everyone in the organization.’
There are no ready-to-use apps for yacht building
‘We don’t use ready-to-use apps for data and project management, because all our yachts are different’ Bink continues. ‘This requires a software solution that is flexible and can be adapted to a different project everytime.’
Bink mentions a complex project with noise requirements as an example. ‘Although our noise and vibration standards are already very high, a client wanted to take it to an even higher level. Naturally, our answer is ‘Yes’ – it’s in our DNA. But imagine how much data is released during such a project. All components must be tested to meet these higher standards. And everyone in the team must work to those standards. We adapted this workflow in Yacht Builder. And this has created a single source of truth for all disciplines: everyone works with the same data and can use it within their own role.’
Yacht Builder as central hub
As an organization you prefer to access as much information as possible centrally, but different programs often make this difficult. How does Oceanco solve this? Bink: ‘Oceanco uses different programs for CAD and technical and financial reports, among other things, but… Yacht Builder can be connected with these programs. For example, the data that is entered in CADMATIC, can also be viewed in the Yacht Builder environment. As a result, more teams can directly access the information without having to start up the heavy programs. We make more information centrally available. This is possible because we have realized 100% traceability: you can see the owner of each data field, and when and who has changed the field.’
Acceptance of digital working method
How does Oceanco deal with the challenges a new working method brings? ‘I’ll be honest, with my professional background, I am sceptical when it comes to implementing a new way of working. It must be done carefully which is why we do not change it all at once, that wouldn’t work. I am an ambassador for Yacht Builder and together with my colleagues from the project team, we show other teams what it means to start working with centralized data. In this way we connect more teams.
We show our colleagues in the project teams that they can directly access information from other teams and work with it. This not only prevents copying of data, but also greatly reduces the amount of mail traffic. This way of implementation is contagious. I now even get questions if other programs can be connected with Yacht Builder. At the same time, I also get very positive feedback from our co-makers as they also have access to our Yacht Builder database, they have accurate project data. An interface between their own database and our Yacht Builder database is also possible.’
Future digitalization: focus on co-makers and clients
130 people at Oceanco already work with Yacht Builder and co-makers have access to the information that is important to them. And this is only the beginning. Co-makers also have a wealth of knowledge. Bink: ‘We want to involve them even more in the projects. In addition, we don’t close our eyes to the potential of younger clients who have grown up in a digital world. We are on top of the game by digitalizing and making our projects, processes and data more open and centralized, in collaboration with Yacht Builder. It is the only way we can build the perfect yacht, now and in the future.’