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Marine Rostering

White Paper

Microster Optimising Workforce Management for the Marine IndustryÂ

Marine Rostering

Optimising and automating complex workforce management The marine industry employs approximately 30,000 people, and given the size and complexity of modern maritime operations, it is essential for companies in this sector of the transport industry to organise and manage their vessels, voyages and crew members as efficiently and effectively as possible. The following business processes are typically required to provide an “end-to-end” workforce management solution: •

Planning voyages (Long Term Sailing Plan)

Validating planned voyages (Vessel and crew availability)

Planning vessel maintenance

Selecting an optimal crew

Crew Communications

Transacting the actual voyage/patrol/maintenance

Crew payment and voyage costing

For too long, this process has relied on a mix of experience, particularly offline knowledge that cannot be replicated, and internally developed spreadsheets or minor applications. Any organisation with a fleet for vessels and a significant labour force based in multiple ports will obtain significant operational benefits by using a business-rules based approach to scheduling vessel utilisation and optimising crew placement.

Microster - Optimising Workforce Management for the Marine Industry June 2009 Author: Microster Solutions Pty Ltd Copyright © 2009 Microster Solutions Pty Ltd All Rights Reserved


Marine Rostering

Innovative capabilities The previously mentioned business processes such as planning voyages, vessel and crew availability, vessel maintenance, selecting optimal crew, communications, transacting the voyage and crew payments and costing are all required to provide an “end-to-end� workforce management solution for the marine industry. Often, the typical methods used to carry out these processes do not enable organisations to proactively manage their labour, which is where the innovative capabilities of the Microster Marine Rostering model can be used to significantly assist these methods and operational effectiveness. Microster’s Marine Rosters are designed specifically to cater for vessel crew rostering as opposed to individual personnel rostering. This model supports efficient roster period changes and highlights task and voyage competency requirements.

Long Term Sailing Plan (LTSP) Typical process: A long term sailing plan is the process that enables the scheduling of future voyages and patrols. It requires vessel selection, date assignment, voyage details (start port, destination port etc), crewing levels and crewing competencies. Typically, the LTSP is endorsed by senior management prior to the crew allocation commencing. The Microster Solution: The system presents a 1-52 week calendar with the top level showing all vessel assignments by date range. Active voyages/patrols are colour coded to differentiate them from the scheduled maintenance periods, enabling the user to define unlimited colour codes and support visualisation of voyage types and geographical coverage:

1 week Marine Roster calendar


Marine Rostering


A library of voyage/patrol templates is also available to users. For example, Port Hedland to Tokyo can be easily developed and accessed to provide an efficient start point for the LTSP. By simply selecting the vessel and start date, then overlaying and editing the template, base crewing details will also be included.

Signing off the Sailing Plan Typical process: Authorised line management will be presented with the LTSP (typically un -costed) and endorse it into an operational entity. In most cases any crewing problems (availability, port transport, teaming, competencies etc) and the impacts of these will not be fully detailed. The Microster Solution: The planned voyage, patrol and maintenance can be costed by using default conditions and optional preliminary crew to provide a more detailed costing and availability scenario. The appropriate line manager can then easily review on line and ‘sign-off’.

Selecting an Optimal Crew Typical process: Each vessel voyage will require a specific level of crewing - crew members, skill mix, mandatory skill levels etc. Personnel allocating the crew must be fully aware of: •

Minimum and maximum crewing levels or any changes or re-crewing required for specific voyage sectors (legs)

List of Duties/Tasks/Posts required on the voyage/patrol

Currency of formal (Visas) and informal qualifications to support the duties list

Crew skilling levels and re-skilling requirements

Departure and destination port ID - crew proximities

Any pre-existing teaming or compatibility issues

Length of voyage/patrol

Equity of worked Sea Days

Availability of crew - already rostered, scheduled leave, sick, training, light duties etc

Voyage labour cost component

The Microster Solution: The system automates the process and interrogates the crew’s credentials (often sharing data from the HRMIS or Payroll system) and presents an optimal crewing plan based on preconfigured rules for equity, availability, competencies, teams and costs. The referenced rules can be easily re-sequenced to provide alternative options. The Microster Marine Rostering System references crewing competencies to ensure the vessels are appropriately crewed with the right skilling levels and mix. Competencies can include certificates, licences, tickets, sector skills, Visa, gender etc, and can be optionally rated. All skills can be date effective to support competency and highlight re-skilling requirements.


Marine Rostering

Additionally, Auto-skilling rules can be used within Microster to rotate personnel across different teams, vessels, ports etc as required.

This panel is used to summarise the attributes and placements of crewing options. It uses

Planning Vessel Maintenance Typical process: Maintenance is typically carried out in specific port locations, and may also require a base crewing level including engineers etc. The Microster Solution: The planned maintenance can be costed and visualised via the Marine Calendar. Only valid maintenance ports can be used and skeleton crew selection is optimised.

Crew Communications Typical process: Current processes typically involve telephoning each crew member to ascertain availability and confirming placement on the voyage. Confirmation may be an email, telephone call or letter, and employees who cannot be contacted must be marked as unavailable. Auditability of such communications may not be accurate or complete. The Microster Solution: The solution provides the ability to communicate to crews via Self Service (internet-based) or IVR (Interactive Voice Response) to provide a fully automated and audited approach. The Self Service and IVR approach allows crew members to view available voyages and bid for shift placement, report on unavailability conditions, and log requests for leave and training. If required, SMS communications are also supported to communicate late notice changes.


Marine Rostering

Case Study: DP World uses Microster IVR to validate placements. DP World, the company that handles approximately 50% of all container shipments into and out of Australia, was one of the first companies to benefit from Microster’s new offering. DP World implemented the Microster IVR solution to communicate work requirements to over 2,000 employees on a regular basis. Replacing their manual contact methods with an automated IVR solution generated significant time and cost savings for DP World who realised a ROI in just nine months. Geoff Barnes of DP World says “the Microster IVR system is an important and efficient means by which labour allocation at the Ports can be communicated to the workforce.” The IVR module enables employees to call in 24 hours a day, enter their identification information, and access their work schedule for the next 3 days. Employees can also report any unavailability for the following week, i.e. vacation days, appointments etc., and the workforce availability database is automatically updated. When additional employees are needed, the system conducts outbound calls to individuals in the labour pool asking if they can work specific shifts until the quota needed is reached. The system can also be used to keep everyone abreast of company news and events. DP World employees quickly embraced the convenience of using the IVR solution, which now handles between 1,000 and 2,000 calls per day. Source: IVR & Enhanced Self-Service case study, Envox

Transacting Voyage Change Typical process: These are communicated back to the operations centres and any changes to timesheets are manually updated. In the event of a crew member becoming unavailable (eg. having to be evacuated due to sickness), any impacts on crew competencies may be missed. The Microster Solution: Each voyage/patrol is presented over a departure and end date range with optional travel and “in port” days also supported. Crew are rostered over a range of days, (not shifts within days as for conventional roster treatment), and any changes in crewing levels are referenced against the voyage rules, with any rule breaks presented for appropriate action. The Microster Marine Roster System has the ability to monitor and count the number of days a crew member is at sea, and this detail can be used to calculate “Sea Day” allowances and/or to impose placement and earnings equity.


Marine Rostering

Crew Payment and Voyage Labour Costing Typical process: Typically, labour costing is manually calculated and input into the organisation’s payroll systems. Specific Award interpretation requirements may not be catered for, consistently resulting in overpayments. The Microster Solution: Each pay period is automatically exported from finalised Marine Rosters and imported into the payroll system, eliminating the risk of manual errors. Each crew member is classified with appropriate employment conditions referenced to calculate any penalty or payment conditions.

Best Person: Best Cost Better management of employee related schedules are often the single most effective way to reduce expenses and improve productivity. Just a fractional reduction in labour costs can translate to huge improvements in profitability. Through automation, minimising expenses, reducing errors, optimising staff utilisation, improving quality of service and meeting legal obligations, Microster will reduce the time, cost and complexity of managing on demand staffing issues. The Microster Marine Rostering model has the niche requirements for your industry as standard features and will enable your company to proactively manage its vessels, voyages and crew as efficiently and effectively as possible.


Marine Rostering

Microster, a ComOps company Enabling organisations to proactively manage their labour, Microster makes complex workforce management simple. Minimising administration overheads, meeting legislation requirements, lowering exposure to union violations and employee grievances, optimising scheduling and personnel utilisation, automating labour intensive processes, improving the quality of service and managing labour costs are just a few advantages Microster brings to a business. With clients such as DP World, POAGS, a number of Australian Federal Agencies, RailCorp, The City of Melbourne and Air Services Australia, Microster is already a proven solution with large and complex workforces. Microster is passionate about configuring, implementing and supporting "Best Person - Best Cost" Workforce Management Strategies.

ComOps ComOps Limited was founded in 1972, and listed on the ASX in 1999. The Company develops, sells and supports IT software solutions in the ERP, Business Intelligence, Safety, Risk and Claims Management, Mobile Sales Force Automation, e�Commerce, Retail and Human Capital Management markets. These solutions are used by a range of blue chip clients such as Toll Holdings, Coca �Cola, Berri, Golden Circle, Australia Post, Toshiba, Orica, Lexmark, Canon, Queensland Government, NSW Lotteries, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and AMP, to name just a few. ComOps is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Progress Premier Partner, is ISO 9001:2000 Quality Accredited and Government Endorsed.

The ComOps group of Companies includes: Australian Workplace Software (AWS) Safety, Risk and Claims Management

ComOps Business Solutions

Human Capital Solutions (HCS) Group Human Capital Management Solutions

Microster Workforce Management Solutions

Enquiries Aus: 1300 853 099 NZ: 0508 266 677 Int: +61 2 9923 8000


Marine Rostering Whitepaper  

Optimising Workforce Management for the Marine Industry