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Collaboration is key to the class challenge

Integration of technology and more multi-disciplinary teams is a critical balancing act for classification societies, but the biggest challenge will be in changing the industry’s mindset

A COMBINATION of rapidly evolving technologies is converging on shipping, challenging traditional operating models, and with them, the role of class.

It is no longer sufficient for classification societies to simply ensure that technology works together the way that it is supposed to — class is simultaneously leading a rapid pace of innovation while balancing the complicated questions of how to ensure safety, efficiency and regulatory compliance for an industry in flux.

Collaboration is key to balancing the opportunities and risk inherent in this fast-paced period of change and disruption, argues Lloyds Register’s head of marine and offshore Nick Brown.

“We need to change the mindset of the industry,” Mr Brown told Lloyd’s List. “Understanding we are an integral part of the global supply system is part of it, but we also need greater collective working and standardisation.”

“Digitalisation should not just replace analogue systems, it should improve the way vessels are operated, the way crews interact with technology, the way ships connect with shore stations, ports and the wider supply chain and we need to work together to a greater degree to achieve this.”

During a series of live business briefing events this year, Lloyd’s List has explored the thesis that efficiency in shipping requires a more holistic approach that links the environmental, social and economic pillars of development.


 Watch Nick Brown, Director of Marine & Offshore Lloyd's Register speak about collaboration and efficiency in shipping at the recent Lloyd's List Business Briefing

The consistent message from class experts speaking at these events has been that no single technology offers a silver bullet to the challenges being faced by shipping companies.

More important than the development of individual technologies, will be the ability to exploit innovative combinations of technology to drive new business models but also to balance that investment with training and collaboration, often from outside of traditional shipping. 

One of the biggest challenges facing class is integration, not just of the asset within the supply chain, but the integration of the technology within the asset and system, integration of the technology with people and the integration of the players in the ecosystem and teams involved.

“You need the right combination of technology solutions, regulatory environment and human capabilities and they need to work together,” said Mr Brown.

This shift in the industry mindset requires class to support news ways of working from multidisciplinary teams and a shift towards a partnership model with industry that fosters an environment of collaboration and co-creation.

“In a world of increasing complexity, overloaded with data and opinion, we know that our clients need more than technology to succeed and more than a simple ‘one size fits all’ solution to be sold to them”.

“We see technology as a capability multiplier, a facilitator to make things better… it’s about a move to more intelligent processes, made possible by digital technologies that optimise systems and people.”


 Watch Nick Brown talk about efficiency in shipping at the recent Lloyd’s list Business briefing held during Posidonia

On September 25, Lloyd’s List will host a webinar exploring the future of class. You can register here:

Title: Class act: Societies respond to the demands of the new-tech age

Date: Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Time: 1430 hrs (British Summer Time)

Duration: One hour





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