Intelligent Ship Production: How Technology is Giving Shipbuilders a Global Advantage
It is fair to say that the shipbuilding industry has faced strong headwinds in recent times. The global economic downturn has taken its toll, despite some pick-up in new-build ordering. All of this has driven up competition between shipyards around the world, putting pressure on teams to be leaner and faster.
Now, more than ever, shipyards which are determined to turn the tide need to find new ways of working by becoming smarter; improving their production processes and reducing costs and manufacture- and assembly-time. Only by achieving cost-effective and consistently world-class operations will they be able to attract the customers they need, if they are to remain afloat.
New technology is heralding a sea change
Technology is helping shipbuilders transform the way they operate. Streamlining processes, giving teams access to accurate data at their fingertips and ensuring they have the right materials, in the right place, at the right time. The digitalisation of shipyards is helping teams efficiently coordinate all their various activities.
Traditionally, shipbuilding projects have been cumbersome and fraught with complexities. There was no consistent methodology for managing a shipbuilding programme and teams worked in isolation.
Around 90% of a shipbuilding project is related to material purchasing and production activities, but managing, scheduling and tracking materials can be complicated. Other challenges include a mismatch between design and production planning and long, complex paper trails which increase risks.
Fully-integrated, intelligent ship production improves collaboration between teams, streamlines processes and offers better project control, planning and material management. All of this, in turn, enables better results to be achieved with smaller teams.
A smarter, more successful shipyard
Although Oceana is a relatively new shipyard – operations began just three years ago – we are determined to become the best in Brazil and compete against global players.
To achieve this, we recognised that we had to be completely focused on achieving operational excellence. We have invested in the very best people, production processes and tools for production planning, management and control.
The use of technology has been integral to our teams’ ability to break out of their silos and work in sync. Cooperation levels between our departments are significantly higher than in other parts of the industry. Our teams and directors now have access to reliable information which they can easily share, meaning projects are efficiently planned and executed.
The entire process has been redefined. No longer are engineers having to hope for the best and relying on data in which they don’t have complete trust, or losing man-hours searching for missing or incomplete data. Information flows smoothly across project management, operations, logistics and materials teams.
The results speak for themselves
We knew that using technology would help us transform the traditional shipyard but even we have been surprised and delighted by just how big an impact our approach has had. We delivered our first vessel on time and our second vessel two months ahead of schedule!
We currently have six vessels under construction which are due to be completed this year and next. With an intelligent and integrated ship production process, we expect to make similar achievements, giving us a global advantage.
The Oceana Shipyard is situated in Itajai City in southern Brazil. Oceana is owned by CBO Group (Companhia Brasileira Offshore). AVEVA’s Enterprise Resource Management solution was chosen by the shipyard following a competitive tender.
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