The sheer volume of data that we have at our fingertips today has never been greater. In 2021, the overall amount of data generated in the world was estimated to be around 79 zettabytes—equivalent to 79 trillion gigabytes. By 2025, this amount is expected to double, Wartsila Voyage notes in a recent report, highlighting the key benefits of managing and analysing data for the maritime industry.
The company says that data analysis can open a new door to decision-making that combines traditional principles grounded in behavioural science, human expertise and intuition, with real-time, data-driven insight. Data-based decision-making now gives the sector and its players the ability to chart compliant, efficient, and responsible futures for their fleet based on the full picture, spanning vessel, sea, and supply chain. Organisations can also create feedback loops by sharing and exporting data to other tools that simulate potential future scenarios. Crews can learn from past experiences and apply that knowledge to make better, more informed decisions in the future.
On a purely theoretical level, decision-making is based on the following steps:
1. Identify your purpose and goal
2. Gather all the relevant information
3. Consider the consequences,
impacts and pros and cons
4. Make the decision
5. Review/evaluate your decision
In maritime, data platforms bring a crucial component to the bridge that offers multiple, tangible benefits as follows:
#1 Compliance & Future proofing
In the battle to decarbonise, data can be a huge ally, allowing proactive decision-making in alignment with compliance goals—and not at the expense of commercial ones.
#2 Transparency & accountability
As shipping becomes more interconnected within the global supply chain, and shipping companies realise their true roles as holistic logistics providers, transparency with counterparties and integrating with wider processes and procedures at ports, and with freight forwarders and service providers, will be essential. Standardised and shared data will go beyond a “nice to have” and will instead become business-critical as these forces tighten their grip on how the industry operates.
#3 Timely decisions for optimum operations
As shipping becomes more used to data-based decision-making, this way of working will become increasingly commonplace. What’s most important is that data can be shaped and deployed to always support commercial goals; if maintaining a “C” CII rating is important for one vessel to not breach charter party agreements, it’s critical that data can be used in service of that aim.
#4 Ability to track iterative change
As shipping and the wider world realises the shipping industry’s central role within the global supply chain, it is also becoming considerably more sophisticated in how it measures progress. After all, one of the five steps of decision-making is reviewing and evaluating decisions.
#5 Feedback loops support shipping’s data evolution
Data-based decision-making must include a feedback loop: with both platform and users becoming smarter and making progress towards their goals iteratively and over time. Happily for the sector, this is a one way journey: the more data that platforms have and the more that people become skilled at asking the right questions in the right way, the better their recommendations become and the greater the quality of the data overall. This “rolling stone” has already been pushed down the hill; it’s up to the industry to tap into this iteratively improving feedback loop.
#6 Teamwork makes the data dream work
The speed with which data is obtained, interpreted and acted on relies as much on the people involved as the systems and software in place. The collective experience, knowledge and collaboration of project managers, analysts, technology innovators and subject matter experts is crucial for success. Although they may be working in varying roles—from ship managers to engineers and shore-based support—people must remain part of a broader decision-making process, augmenting their decisions with data insights.
#7 Unlocking commercial upsides
Shipping’s two currencies are time and money—and data-enabled decision-making holds the key to optimising every vessel and voyage. Data can find answers to questions about fuel consumption and help to generate efficiencies as a result.
Wartsila Voyage concludes that the ability to make fast, informed decisions demands access to accurate, real time, actionable data. Without it, companies will stay stuck in reactive mode, at the mercy of market change rather than adapting to it. With data-based decision-making, the industry can unlock competitive advantages and make itself more resilient: two things that shipping desperately needs in these extraordinary, rapidly evolving, and ceaselessly changing times.
EXPLORE MORE AT Wartsila voyage REPORT ON data here
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