The Dangers and Risks of Using Spreadsheets for Workforce Management in the Cruise Sector, the latest blog from Dynama

Top Quote According to Lee Clarke at Dynama, ditching spreadsheets is the first step to success in today's highly competitive cruise market. Here he argues the case for automation. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) January 21, 2018 - London, UK - The cruise industry continues to grow, according to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) 2017 outlook[i] with river cruises gaining popularity. Floating palaces complete with spas, beauty salons, pools, libraries, cinemas and freestyle dining are in demand from holiday makers worldwide. As a result, the competition among cruise companies to ensure the right crew is in the right place at the right time to deliver the ultimate guest experience increases exponentially. It also means that some of the most trusted, traditional and well-loved methods used to manage these luxury cruise ships can no longer cope with increased demand.

    Take the humble spreadsheet. It never fails to amaze how many people use them to manage crew movement on a day-to-day basis and even plan schedules based on historical experience. It must be the comfort factor. Spreadsheets give everyone their own version of the truth, with complete autonomy to update and amend data as often as they like, without interference from anyone else.

    However, while spreadsheets might be a great tool at an individual level, they are static and limited in terms of scalability. Just think of the complexity involved when there are fleets of ships manned by thousands of crew around the world in different time zones!

    Fortunately, the latest automated enterprise resource planning and workforce optimization (WFO) systems are designed to maximize crew and resources at all times to boost business success and guest satisfaction. This simple 'at a glance' view of the pros and cons of spreadsheets gives five very good reasons to make the switch:

    Spreadsheet approach to WFO
    Multiple sources of information and views of the truth
    No workflows or processes - each department works in isolation
    No functionality for historical or future analysis
    Time consuming and error-prone
    Easy to corrupt formulae and calculations

    Automated approach to WFO
    Global view with data all in one place
    Prevents silos
    Manages big data
    Creates efficiencies
    Information is easy to share

    It's time to ditch those spreadsheets! Deploy automated enterprise resource planning and workforce optimization solutions to benefit from:
    Global View - modern integrated WFO software brings together every piece of information you'll ever need to run a successful cruise ship. A centralized repository of real-time data gives a complete picture of crew members and activities - the ship they work on and their skills as well as important travel plans and documentation such as certificates, medicals, passports and visas, berthing locations, availability and training competencies. This aids the development of efficient schedules and guarantees the most appropriately skilled and available crew members are in the right place at the right time. Meeting the requirements of key crew members also boosts morale and aids staff retention in an industry where skilled people are at a premium and loyalty has to be earned.

    No more silos - automation encourages consistent ways of working across departments and the organization as a whole. For example, travel administration when built into a resource and workforce optimization platform, provides a transparent, birds-eye view of travel planning across different departments. So, if the travel and crewing teams work separately, which they frequently do in many organizations, having information all in one place makes booking flights and hotels more co-ordinated. It also minimizes confusion, errors and the wasted expense of duplicate bookings!

    Ability to manage big data - there's no point in having multiple hand-crafted spreadsheets that hold huge amounts of static information that cannot connect to other data sources or be analysed to support the business. The latest automated solutions are innovative, highly scalable and future-proof. They are sophisticated enough to analyse current resource competencies and model for future requirements quickly and efficiently, whether you have one cruise ship or an entire fleet.

    Increased efficiencies - automation and centrally stored information removes duplicated effort and reduces administration, time and staff costs. The latest solutions quickly clone existing vessels, positions and related data, making it easy to add new builds to a fleet in this rapidly expanding leisure sector. Lessons learnt from new classes of vessel can be implemented quickly to ensure the correct budget for headcount is incorporated into plans.

    Improved information and knowledge sharing - a single holistic view articulates appropriate understanding and knowledge to decision makers who can then share and use it more collaboratively. This inevitably leads to more effective planning, preparation, schedule generation and cost control.

    The cruise industry's order book has reached a historic high. Why not take the opportunity to refresh your approach to workforce optimization? Some of our customers have already taken the lead, for example Princess Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Lines with 17 and 15 ships respectively.

    It's time to step outside your comfort zone, ditch those spreadsheets and embrace a whole new world of automation. In return, you'll be rewarded with efficient crews and schedules, an improved guest experience and a stronger than ever competitive advantage.

    Lee Clarke is Regional Director - Northern Hemisphere, Dynama

    Press Contact:
    Mary Phillips
    PR Artistry
    Lower Woodend Barns Fawley Henley-on-Thames OXON
    44 (0) 1491 845553
    mary ( @ ) pra-ltd dot co dot uk

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