Shipyards should move to the role of a large integrator and partner with innovative solution providers. Imitation and low pricing won’t last long and is based on volume. Innovation is what adds real value. In this forever faster changing global world we can achieve this through continuous search for excellence.
Short production series, customization as a general principle, and global competition force shipyards to permanently search for innovative solutions with regard to design and production technologies. Due to the complexity of the product, shipyards now depend on a large number of suppliers for components, sub-systems and knowledge-based services, including those provided by specialists in the financial sector.
Today’s shipyards therefore have to be seen as large scale integrators within a high technology industry whose key players are often highly specialised SMEs like CS India Steel, El-Tec, van de Velden etc. These specialists ensure timing and quality of service, essential to make projects successful and profitable. Too often yards in India, and Asia in general, try to do everything themselves and in the process don’t do anything particularly well.
What have we, at CS India Steel, contributed to the industry? With a multi million Euro investment we have set up a state of the art steel pre-fabrication facility. Being a world leader in this field we can assure timely delivery. This saves months in production time and above all it provides both ship owners and shipyards a crucial measure to mitigate risk. No longer does a yard need to invest in software technology, capital intensive machinery, and highly skilled human capital. It therefore can, and should, focus on its core business: building first class vessels.
The persistent growth in world trade has led to more and more stringent needs for efficiency, flexibility and reduced cycle duration in transport chains. The IMO is pushing through more changes in the coming years. Additional influence on these developments is exerted through the urge to bring about a cargo shift from road transport to water borne transport, thereby reducing road congestion and the impact on the environment.
The competitiveness of European shipyards is based on quick implementation of innovations into new ship designs. Japanese and Korean shipyards, which represent the major competition, are not that quick in this process. Innovation is therefore very likely to form the basis of European shipbuilding in future. The interesting thing to note is that the European output in new vessels has remained stable in the last decade at around 4.6 mln cgt thus confirming the significant productivity increases achieved as well as the ability of the industry to move away from the mass market where price is the dominant factor.
The private shipbuilding market in India is still in its infancy. Only a few yards have a significant infrastructure. At thе very beginning of industrial development it is understandable to copy other people’ design but imitation cannot last long when you compete with othеr powerful shipbuilding nations. Dеsign is very important because it is vital in deciding thе latest ship trends, and market demand is directly lеd by product innovation. Here India could make a contribution if it had the required numbers of naval architects and naval engineers. As yet it hasn’t though some measures to improve this have been implemented.
Of course, each company tries to achieve its own objectives but, to address the matter positively, both the yard and the supplier have to observe and fulfill very complex technical interfaces in order to successfully deliver a new vessel. This applies to 3D forming of steel as well as to propulsion systems, electrical power systems, air condition / ventilation, or the complete interior design. Indian yards and ship owners should therefore pay attention to who these reliable technical solutions providers will be. In other words, build strong partnerships. This professionalism adds credibility and results in better sales.