The CSL Group Inc.
CSL Aligns Short Sea Business with IMOS: Change Management Efforts Critical to Successful Implementation
The CSL Group Inc.
CSL Aligns Short Sea Business with IMOS: Change Management Efforts Critical to Successful Implementation

 

Client: The CSL Group, Inc. (CSL)

The CSL Group Inc. (CSL) is a leading provider of marine dry bulk cargo handling and delivery services and the world’s largest owner and operator of self-unloading vessels. Headquartered in Montreal, we are a Canadian-based, privately-owned shipping company with affiliate offices in Halifax and Winnipeg (Canada), Boston (USA), London (UK), Bergen (Norway), Jakarta (Indonesia), Singapore, and Sydney (Australia).

cslships.com

The CSL Group Inc. (CSL) is a leading provider of dry bulk cargo handling and delivery services, moving more than 76 million MT of cargo per year. CSL started working with Veson Nautical a few years ago, when they implemented Veson Nautical’s Voyage Estimator to support planning. Since then, the partnership has grown considerably. “We’d been talking with Veson Nautical for a while,” says Steve Palmer, CSL Director and CIO, “In 2013, we decided to implement the full Integrated Maritime Operations System (IMOS).”

CSL seeks scalable systems and consistent processes

Before the decision to implement IMOS, CSL felt the pain of managing 4 global divisions that handled voyage management differently. Each team utilized a distinct set of tools and/or processes. It was a challenge for CSL’s leadership to gain visibility on the state of the overall business.

CSL launched an initiative to implement consistent, companywide processes and tools that would scale as the business grew. The first step was to select the best commercial software to support this effort, through a Buy vs. Build evaluation.

For many years, CSL had been curious about how their organization could benefit from implementing a third-party solution. Their voyage management system had been developed and maintained in-house and was showing signs of age. Any system changes demanded increasing time and resources. “In the end, we want to focus on our expanding shipping solutions, not software development,” says Mr. Palmer. “So, the preferred course of action was to purchase a new system.”

Following a careful evaluation of the market and a subsequent in-depth review of 3 vendors, CSL selected Veson Nautical’s IMOS. According to Mr. Palmer, “IMOS was the most attractive solution to CSL both in terms of functional breadth, and Veson’s willingness to work with us to extend IMOS to address our unique short sea shipping requirements; and we felt confident about expanding our relationship with Veson Nautical.”

CSL’s initial implementation goals were simple: to replace an aging voyage management system with a commercial tool to align companywide workflows and scale easily to meet business growth. “IMOS offers a lot more functionality than the previous system,” says Mr. Palmer. “We’re now evaluating automating even more processes through IMOS.”

IMOS was the most attractive solution to CSL both in terms of functional breadth, and Veson’s willingness to work with us to extend IMOS to address our unique short sea shipping requirements.”
Steve Palmer, Director and CIO, CSL Group

IMOS implementation: Aligning the organization to ensure success

When implementing new software, Mr. Palmer remarks, “You can’t stop the business. Ships need to keep sailing and customers need to receive their cargoes. But you can plan for change management.” CSL Americas was selected as the first CSL division to lead the charge, executing on a detailed project plan to guide the technical and cultural change aspects of their IMOS implementation.

Throughout the project, Veson Nautical consultants played a critical role. Before diving into the implementation, Katonio Butler, Veson Nautical Senior Consultant, says, “We spent a lot of time working closely with CSL business process owners (BPOs), subject matter experts (SMEs), and end users to evaluate the best tools in IMOS and Veslink that would support CSL’s unique shipping needs.”

During the critical stages of implementation, CSL’s core project team of product experts, BPOs, and SMEs met each afternoon in a designated “IMOS Room” to model CSL’s business transactions using IMOS. Stakeholders received updates, including requests for process changes or additional resources. CSL management was responsible for motivating and supporting the team as they adjusted to organizational changes.

Mr. Palmer says, “Employees need reassurance that they’re not going to be pushed to use new tools without sufficient training. No one is being set up for failure; this is an opportunity to move forward with the company.” Once CSL had finalized its core processes and tools, the Veson Consultants led training for CSL Americas end users.

You can’t stop the business. Ships need to keep sailing, and customers need to receive their cargoes. But you can plan for change management.”
Steve Palmer, Director and CIO, CSL Group

CSL Americas users make the call to ‘Go-Live’

In August 2014, end users gave the signal that they were ready to ‘Go-Live’ – they were ready to run the business on IMOS. According to Mr. Palmer, it was highly beneficial for the business to own “the risk and the reward” of moving forward with CSL’s evolved processes and tools. CSL’s first month-end close in IMOS was completed ahead of schedule, and implementations for two other divisions are currently being run in parallel, after the ‘Go-Live’ success with CSL Americas.

Veslink is also now in use by CSL Americas. According to Mr. Palmer, “Veslink was a big win for us in terms of ship to shore data quality. It was easy to implement, and it was straightforward to get our vessels and vessel operators to start using the system.”

CSL’s initial implementation goals were simple: to replace an aging voyage management system with a commercial tool to align companywide workflows and scale easily to meet business growth. “IMOS offers a lot more functionality than the previous system,” says Mr. Palmer. “We’re now evaluating automating even more processes through IMOS.”

IMOS offers a lot more functionality than the previous system. We’re now evaluating automating even more processes through IMOS”
Steve Palmer, Director and CIO, CSL Group

Project takeaways

Looking back, Mr. Butler shares that Veson Nautical was truly incorporated into CSL’s IMOS project team and plan. This close collaboration enabled him to best support CSL’s business goals. He adds, “Our partnership does not end after ‘Go-Live.’ Veson Nautical is glad to have a part in making CSL’s ongoing business goals a reality.”

Likewise, Steve Palmer emphasizes that dedicated support from Veson Nautical was critical to implementation success. From his perspective, “We have had a very positive experience working with Veson. No matter the phase of the project or the effort required, their team has always responded to our needs and provided 110% support to CSL.”

Our partnership does not end after ‘Go-Live’. Veson Nautical is glad to have a part in making CSL’s ongoing business goals a reality.”
Katonio Butler, Veson Nautical Senior Consultant
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