by Tim Schweikert, president & CEO, GE’s Marine Solutions
At a time when the global marine industry is impacted by market fluctuations, over supply, margin pressures and labor shortages, operators are facing increasing challenge to reduce cost and increase operation efficiency. Traditional methods have created data silos and islands of automation, making it difficult to optimize operations across a vessel or systemize across the fleet. Digital technologies such as the Industrial Internet and data analytics can offer great promise. We have all witnessed the transformation of the aviation industry, where data-driven decision is taking the lead. Just as connected planes are making headway in the air, connected ships also can deliver great potential thanks to the predictive ability which can help improve marine operations.
The key to unlocking this digital promise is harnessing the power of Big Data. Traditionally, operations data has been confined to equipment silos used essentially in hindsight for trouble-shooting exceptions. In many cases, equipment manufacturers have managed data access. Hence, marine operators were limited in their ability to leverage respective data for informed decisions. However, breaking data silos and connecting the data to decisions can lead to a true transformation of marine operations.
Operational data from critical equipment systems can be analyzed for real-time insights into vessel performance, leading to more informed decisions and enhanced productivity. Predictive analytics can help provide foresight into equipment degradation, therefore giving operators early warnings to correct problems before they occur, sometimes weeks in advance. This will enable a shift from schedule-based to condition-based maintenance. Such shift is especially critical in the offshore energy sector where non-productive time (NPT) is a major source of inefficiency and financial loss. A single drill ship, for example, can incur a loss of $12 million in revenue per year, on average, due to NPT events.
In addition, software also can be used to retain knowledge and experience. Data-driven decisions enable consistent, objective decisions despite diversity in crew expertise. The usual performance variances from shift-to-shift or crew-to-crew will be minimized and enterprise-wide operations will be more predictable.
The opportunity is real — after all, 90 percent of world trade is transported over water. This is why forward-looking marine companies are launching strategic initiatives for advanced software analytics to harness the power of data and get insights to enhance operations. This is where GE can help. GE’s SeaStream* Insight, powered by Predix*, is at the forefront of marine digital solutions. Its analytics and decision enablement capabilities help improve a vessel’s operational efficiency by up to 25 percent and reduce maintenance costs by up to 20 percent.
With the fast-paced changes of globally connected economies and shifting regional opportunities, marine operators need to transform themselves to be efficient and predictable. They need the ability to deploy the right resources at the right opportunity and to monitor operational performance anytime, anywhere — drawing real-time insights from operational data is a critical first step to do this. The evolution towards data-driven decisions could lead to a multitude of operational efficiency benefits and long-term competitive differentiation for marine operators.
* Indicates a trademark of the General Electric Company and/or its subsidiaries.