Making vessel pricing fit for the digital age

Niall Pay
Niall Pay
Apr 23 · 4 min read

At DeepStream we hate inefficiency and wasted time. In everything we build, we ask ourselves – how can we make something that just lets people get on with what they do best?

With that in mind, we’ve turned our efforts to pricing around vessel chartering – an area where we see huge potential to make things more efficient and deliver huge time and cost savings.

What problems are we solving?

As with every new feature, we started by doing research and having conversations across the industry to understand how things work today and where the biggest pain points and opportunities lie.

From many insights, some common threads emerged:

  • Data gets shared back and forth in files, via email. Time spent reading, writing and downloading really adds up, and data which needs to be directly compared sits isolated in 100s of separate files.
  • Collating data is a manual copy-paste job. The more companies get involved, the more files get sent and the more tedious this process becomes – hardly a good argument for increased competition.
  • Bad formatting requires clean-up and locked files. When files aren’t protected formatting gets changed by anyone. Preventing and fixing this adds time and effort to an already labour-intensive process.
  • Basic analysis involves adding formulas manually. Figuring out the cost of a contract across multiple hire periods with different options and vessels across many suppliers takes more time than it should.
  • The process itself is fairly consistent. Things like commencement windows, lump sum fees and hire rates are well understood and work in a similar way across the industry.

We noticed a lot of inefficiency and manual effort, even though the process itself is largely consistent – a great opportunity for technology to help.

Building a better system

In setting out to effectively address the problems we found, we agreed on some basic principles:

  1. Get the data in a consistent format, all in one place
  2. Cut out (or at least simplify) the most repetitive tasks
  3. Support the existing process and expertise – don’t get in the way!

With these in mind, we underwent an iterative process of designing, building and testing – always involving our users along the way – to arrive at a collection of powerful and useful new features.

Flexible request builder to suit many requirements

We looked at how the process works across the industry and created a system with maximum flexibility, to cover as many requirements as possible.

  • Add multiple hire periods with fixed or flexible commencement windows
  • Choose from any number of firm or option periods.
  • Specify lump sum fees, day rates, inclusions, exclusions and more.
  • Allow suppliers to bid across multiple currencies.

No more wasted time and effort managing files

Moving away from a file-driven approach was a no brainer for us in delivering the fastest, most streamlined experience.

  • Buyers and suppliers enter data into the system directly, where it’s instantly and securely exchanged – no more time spent uploading, downloading and manually sharing.
  • Collect only the data you need with locked fields and validation for consistent formatting guaranteed.
  • Data stored in fields and a single system means collation is automatic, whether across 10s of suppliers and vessels, or 100s.
  • An easy-to-use web interface for buyers and suppliers – breeze through data entry and enjoy a better experience than files can provide.

Tools to support existing process and expertise

We know our role is to facilitate, so we’ve built analysis and export tools to support the ways we know people need to work.

  • Smart data tables with automatic calculation of total rates covering all hire periods, options, fees, vessels and even basic insights – no need to enter additional data or formulas line-by-line.
  • Easily share collated data with others directly and securely in the browser, or export it whenever you like via CSV.

What’s next

Improved vessel pricing is launching in early May 2019.

If you or your company could benefit then please get in touch for a demo and early access – we’d love to know what you think.

Niall Pay

Written by

Niall Pay

Product Manager @ DeepStream

DeepStream

The business to business e-commerce platform

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