These days, vessels of all sizes are complex. You don't need to be operating a mega yacht to benefit from vessel management software that manages the day-to-day business of running your boat.
In this post, I'd like to discuss some key points to keep in mind if you are in the market for management software, regardless of your vessel's size. I'll include the features your program should include and what can you expect in the way of support and total cost.
What software features should you look for?
Vessel management software programs are typically broken up into sections, or modules, based on the functions they perform. Programs usually come with a set group of modules along with the option of purchasing additional modules, depending on your needs.
Interactive modules share and update data with each other. For instance, an equipment maintenance task updates the Inventory & Spares module when spare parts are used for the job.
The following modules are crucial for managing a vessel:
- Work lists
- Spares & Inventory
- Log Books
- Crew, Guests & Contacts
- Drawings & Documentation
- Central Document Manager (CDM)
- Hours of Work and Rest tracking
Many vessels also find these modules advantageous:
- Multi-Currency Accounting (MCA)
- Safety Management System (SMS)
- Running Log (RL)
Who will input the data?
Computer programs are only as good as the data entered into them. So it’s up to the crew to populate modules with accurate, reliable information. But in many cases, software providers can help by transferring pre-existing data from a spreadsheet to the yacht management program.
Some software developers can provide pre-configured data lists that can be tailored to fit your vessel. Data lists let you delete or edit items on a generic list to match your yacht’s inventories, equipment, contacts, and maintenance information, making the data transfer process easier. Pre-configured data lists can include anything from equipment and planned maintenance list to food and beverage inventories.
Once populated with data, the management program manipulates it into meaningful information, such as reports, emails, Excel spreadsheets and even automatically completed forms. These can be used for regulatory compliance, such as the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), 2006 documentation.
A good program should also contain a document library, housing your vessel’s key drawings, reports and documents. This feature is important because it allows immediate accessibility to important documents for crew and port State control inspections. You not only need a program with modules that address your needs--they also need to be integrated with each other. This will save you time and also give you the most accurate assessment at any given time of your vessel from a business perspective.
Who will give you software support?
Even with the most well-written yacht management program, there will come a time when you or your crew need help. You may be having trouble getting a module to work, you may want assistance in getting new crew members up to speed with the program, or you may need help inputting large amounts of data. But for whatever reason you need help, it is important to have reliable, responsive, knowledgeable people to call for software support.
Typically, a certain amount of telephone and online support comes with your yacht management software purchase. That’s because it’s almost impossible to begin using such a complex computer program without the support and guidance of the developer.
You’ll usually need help to input existing data and get your crew up to speed on how to use the program’s modules. So most companies work some level of support into the software’s price. For instance, when you buy Triton Administrator, Great Circle Systems provides 12 months of free software updates, upgrades and unlimited telephone and email support. After 12 months, you can decide whether to continue the support for a yearly fee.
How Much Does Yacht Management Software Cost?
Yacht management software companies typically have two main types of pricing structures. So make sure you’ve worked out your price over time before agreeing to a purchase. As always, it's important to compare "apples to apples" when pricing yacht management programs.
Some companies charge a monthly fee for their product, while others charge a one-time fee. A monthly charge may seem less expensive initially, but it could end up being more expensive when calculated over the course of multiple years. So spend some time evaluating both the initial and long-term yacht management software prices.
For instance, several cloud-based programs charge a monthly fee per vessel foot for their programs. Sometimes, the price depends upon the chosen service level. There can also be offline access fee and an installation fees. If you are considering going with a monthly fee plan, price it out for the life of the software.
Other programs, such as Triton Administrator, require a one-time purchase to own the software, which you can then use indefinitely. You also have full control over your data.
If you ever decide to change from one yacht management program to another, make sure that you own your data. Don’t let the company that has been managing your data hold it hostage. Make sure that any contract stipulates that you own your data and they must give you the most recent data collected if either party severs the contract.
Once you’ve done your homework and are ready to purchase yacht management software, check out the company’s references. Are customers satisfied with the software product? Have they encountered any additional costs that might make the program more expensive than you anticipated?
Want to know more about Triton Administrator vessel management software?
If you'd like to speak with someone about costs, benefits, and other details of Triton Administrator, click the photo below. We'd be happy to send you a price list and a demo so you can review the modules and gain a better understanding of what Triton Administrator can do for you.