Client: D’Amico International Shipping S.A.
The d’Amico Group, founded in 1952, is a world leader in maritime transportation and manages one of the largest fleets of product tankers, bulk, and container vessels worldwide. Its mission and strategy have always been to respect and protect the environment, focus on customer care, and nurture the professional excellence of its own people. With over 10 global offices and 350 onshore employees, as well as 3000 seafarers rotating onboard its vessels, the d’Amico Group is one of the most modern and forward-thinking companies in commercial marine.
In 2016, d’Amico felt it had outgrown its existing commercial management system, in use since 2000, and decided to search for a technology partner that would meet the needs of their growing business. “Our business had changed a lot, while the system was of course still the same in terms of process and more,” said Mr. Pietro Amorusi, CIO at d’Amico. “The operators were looking for a more reliable, more aggressive platform in order to be competitive on the market.”
From the start, d’Amico had a good understanding of their system requirements — a solution that would support both the tanker and dry bulk aspects of their business, a services team with a history of success implementing systems at similar companies, and a partner with a sharp focus on evolving technology. “We kept an eye on the market for several years, knowing that there were limited solution options in terms of reliable operations, good coverage, a strong name, and a focus on continuous innovation,” said Mr. Amorusi. “One option that stood out was IMOS (Integrated Maritime Operations System), and we began a relationship with Veson to keep in touch and follow the evolution of their products.”
Finding a Partner, Not Just a Product
Ultimately, after a comprehensive evaluation process, d’Amico selected Veson Nautical as the partner to help transform their commercial operations. “We chose Veson because we got the feeling that it was still growing its product, investing, and looking for new features to add while their competitors were looking a bit tired on the market,” commented Mr. Amorusi. “Veson is on the cutting edge of technology, and their continuous innovation is one of the competitive advantages our company is seeking every day.”
Mr. Amorusi highlighted a number of features of Veson’s solution as key benefits that helped drive d’Amico’s selection; “[IMOS] was better at answering all of our needs. Our first need was risk management; second, voyage estimations; third, operations; then vessel integrations, pool management, voyage accounting and invoicing, reporting, third party integrations, and trading and risk modules. For the kind of company we are today, these have all been quite important.”
According to Mr. Amorusi, “As an old, experienced IT guy, I have been very impressed by the way Veson as a company works. The way they organize the team, the way they organize the developers, the way they carry out their processes. We chose Veson Nautical in order to develop and grow our future, not to maintain our current situation. We made the choice in order to find a partner, not just a product.”
Implementation Through Collaboration
d’Amico began their implementation in January, 2017, kicking the project off by naming it “Project DAIMOS.” The company chose to embed a Veson Nautical Project Manager to lead the project. The embedded Project manager, or “Group PM” service from Veson, offers unique value to any implementation process, providing continual hands-on leadership of the project from start to finish. For an implementation of d’Amico’s size and global scope, both the d’Amico and Veson teams felt it was imperative to leverage such a resource. Ms. Tone Ekman, a Veson Nautical Senior Consultant and Project Manager who holds extensive experience in both shipping and IT projects, was appointed to lead the project.
“It is quite different having or not having an embedded PM; it is much better, it is much more easy to deal with all stakeholders, both internal and external, if you have a project manager who knows exactly what to do and who knows how to sell the ideas to people,” said Mr. Amorusi. “It is important then that the PM comes from the solution vendor, and knows the solution thoroughly. I can confidently say that the presence of Tone has been one of the key success factors of the project.”
Project DAIMOS was led by Ms. Ekman and supported by d’Amico’s project coordinators – Marie Anne Fiorelli, Operations General Manager, Nevio Biagini, ICT Manager, and Lorenzo d’Amico, Deputy Manager of Operations. The team worked in close contact with its offices in Rome, Dublin, Monaco, Singapore, and Stamford, aided by a network of global Business Process Owners, Super Users and Steering Committee. The team reported to the Steering Committee monthly and organized meetings with the Business Process Owners on a frequent basis. “There was really a cohesive culture and a philosophy around adopting this new system,” said Mr. Lorenzo d’Amico. “At the end of the day, it is the 110 end users that are working with the system, so you want to make sure that you reach everyone. I think that our success was driven by this connected culture.”
Ms. Ekman managed the project schedule, laying out a project calendar from the beginning. “With this calendar, we knew exactly what we had to have achieved at any given moment,” commented Mr. d’Amico. “We had a long-term view that helped us anticipate certain issues and gave us the assurance to trust the journey that was laid out by Veson.”
A significant part of that journey with Veson was the development and implementation of new workflows throughout the commercial side of d’Amico’s business. According to Mr. d’Amico, “We all knew what each department had to do, but having everyone collaborating, and accepting the renewed workflow designs as we made decisions, it was quite a success.”
An embedded Project Manager (Embedded PM) can be a useful resource for implementations, especially those with distributed teams and significant workflow development.
Embedding a Veson PM during the software implementation is an effective way to ensure project success and alignment, to identify and resolve issues swiftly, and to deliver seamless training.
Establishing a Competitive Advantage
Since multiple departments were involved in the development of the new workflows, end users became more aware of their roles within the entire trade process, with an improved understanding of how to work within the system, thus strengthening their supply chain. “Replacing our old system with Veson Nautical was a great opportunity for us to modernize our workflows,” commented Mr. d’Amico. “It has really transformed our business operations.”
The completion of the DAIMOS project was highlighted in an internal newsletter circulated to d’Amico’s employees, featuring feedback on challenges and system adoption progress. In the words of one operator featured in the summary, “one of the best things about IMOS is that I am now working with the system, and not anymore for the system.”
“It is really the challenge of the time we are living in,” stated Mr. d’Amico. “Shipping is changing a lot. It is much more about managing data to stay competitive; you need to do this in order to get ahead.”
In order to fully leverage this data, a business must be able to manage it correctly, and rely upon its accuracy. Information must be stored in a unified system, updated continuously to provide a single version of the truth. “Once you know the data is reliable and is something you can be sure of, then an important decision can be made out of it,” commented Mr. d’Amico.
d’Amico’s implementation with Veson Nautical is one way they have reacted to stay competitive in a shifting landscape. According to Mr. d’Amico, “this was really the philosophy behind our decision, and that is why I would definitely suggest Veson to other shipping companies. Veson, they have done an incredible job, and I think we have learned a lot. It is an incredible example of how teams have to be run if your goal is to change a lot, for the better.”