By MarEx Staff
The software development “brainchild” of ABS classification, ABS Nautical Systems, last week on September 12-15th in Houston, Texas introduced the next stage of their software solution for users and media alike: NS5 Enterprise. MarEx joined the annual conference in ABS’ headquarters of Houston to see what NS5 Enterprise has to offer the industry.
NS5 Enterprise is the product of a 25 year evolutionary process, with previous versions currently operating on between 3,000 and 4,000 ships worldwide. Although enhancements to this fleet management software are continuously made, Enterprise is a culmination of improvements from all the levels of NS software, as well as a dynamic expansion to fit the needs of all maritime market segments. Within the application, it handles all the vital functions crucial to fleet operations: maintenance, supply chain, workforce, and safety. It helps to manage purchasing, preventative maintenance, dry dock, hull inspection, document control, inventory control, and crewing and payroll. This range of functions is probably why operators from the offshore market, tug, government, or even large vessels are all able to utilize the software effectively.
What Makes Enterprise Unique
The main difference and distinguishing aspect of the NS software is its attention to what Fernando Lehrer, VP of Product Development, called the “UX” or user experience. Enterprise is a cornerstone of personalization, boasting an array of options on its thoughtful user interface. The customization that is presented to users of the software is endless, for instance the “My Workspace” tab serves as a dynamic home page of the application, and is not only customizable for a single company, but also for a single user. Every user of Enterprise can drag and drop desired functionalities within the software into this personal workspace, including click-through graphs, e-mail, reminders and module overviews, to even adapting the template of the program to visually take ownership of Enterprise.
PHOTO: Fernando Lehrer, VP of Product Development, showcasing new features of Enterprise in a conference session.
Besides the visual and personalization aspects, NS designed the workspace to save time by giving specifics of an entire fleet within the simplicity of one page. This emphasis on user preferences and interactivity for each individual user is what ABS Nautical Systems believes sets Enterprise apart from all of the other fleet management systems on the market today.
David Kramer, Fleet Manager of Seaspan, said that “It is thinking outside the box. No one uses it in the same way; you use it as best as you can to make it work for you. There’s a lot to gain for everybody.”
Why to Consider Implementing
- If there is one thing that companies across the globe could agree is beneficial, it’s cutting costs. ABS NS software is notorious for its ability to not only reduce costs, but more effectively manage fleet budgets. In fact, they claim savings of up to $1 million per year, and 50% lower average purchase order costs.
- It also takes a serious stab at the turmoil of the paper chain by extinguishing much of the unnecessary flows of paperwork between vessels and offices through inter-application communication. As Kramer of Seaspan put it, “There’s too much going on to have the office playing post office.” Filing is reduced to a minimum, as you can search messages sorting in company-preferred manners, like by claim or hull numbers, thus reducing administrative work substantially.
- The software runs solely using servers, meaning there is no additional hardware needed to actually run the program, and as a result, affords users of “Live” NS5 Enterprise to access real-time company data 24/7. Access to live data only requires a user ID and password, eliminating the necessity for remote office licenses and installations, and thereby reducing IT costs.
- Although the complexity of Enterprise is quite staggering due to the volume of information it contains, Joe Woods, SVP of Sales and Marketing, said that basic instruction and application of administrative profiles for users of the program only takes 1 to 2 days, with an extremely fast data transfer rate. Lehrer stated that getting and entering user information is not a complicated process. Since Nautical Systems is linked with ABS, there is additional support to be had with the stability and performance ABS classification is known for, as well as staying current on vessel compliances that are necessary for operations. Chris Rodenhurst, the NS5 DBA of APL Maritime said that he can get his users running in 1 visit to the office, citing that “It has become more intuitive. NS is becoming the standard.”
- NS has reached a major milestone over the last 2 years by achieving ISO 9001 certification, which Karen Hughey, President and COO of Nautical Systems, proudly proclaimed at the advent of the conference and added that the company has been tirelessly committed to “strengthening the core functionality” of the company while developing Enterprise.
- No software is perfect, and Enterprise’s issues aren’t a secret. In fact, there is a whole tab devoted to making system-wide issues common knowledge including all the information they believe is pertinent for users. ABS NS encourages feedback from their clients, and they truly do use the suggestions of the users when generating their continuous updates. Lehrer said, “Nothing better than the clients to tell us what they want. That’s normally how we work in launching products, and clients are more than happy to participate.”
PHOTO: ABS NS staff with NS5 users.
A Practical Solution
NS5 Enterprise is a practical software solution for any company in the maritime community looking to streamline their operations. With an attention to detail, a passion for client satisfaction, innovative technologies, the support of their parent company ABS, and a clear vision backed by a dedicated staff, Nautical Systems has their eye on the prize: to be the #1 fleet management software program in the world.
As Fernando Lehrer triumphantly told MarEx, “I’m thinking it will set a precedent. We are raising the bar for the entire industry.”
To learn more about ABS Nautical Systems and NS5 Enterprise, please visit http://www.abs-ns.com.
Photos courtesy of Shannon Stroubakis.