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Seagoing ships must be approved in order to operate them in international waters – similar to motor vehicles that are regularly inspected during a general inspection. This approval, referred to as classification, is carried out by a ship classification society. Germanischer Lloyd (GL), one of the leading classification societies worldwide, not only establishes technical standards in shipping but also ensures compliance with these standards. If the comprehensive security and quality standards are met, a “class” is assigned for the period of five years. Approximately 30 different surveys are carried out during this period of time. They are carried out to determine whether all rules and regulations have been satisfied: the design specifications and classification rules, international conventions such as MARPOL and SOLAS, as well as the national requirements of flag states.
The tasks performed by classification societies like Germanischer Lloyd are currently changing. There is not only a demand for technical certification. Information management over the entire lifecycle of the ship – from construction to operation to decommissioning – is becoming increasingly important. Furthermore, in the future, a increasing number of processes will be handled digitally, the number of tasks to be performed will continue to grow along with the complexity of the ship systems creating enormous time and cost pressures on the services offered by Germanischer Lloyd worldwide.
Germanischer Lloyd is therefore working to make information on the “ships is class” available over their entire lifecycle, i.e. to support ship lifecycle management. As an initial step towards achieving this goal, the company initiated a Master Data Management (MDM) Program with the aim of making the master data of the ships as well as components and materials subject to uniform data management rules. These include
- introducing the “single source of truth” principle in order to maintain consistent and unambiguous information,
- establishing data standardization in the company by means of data governance,
- defining clear areas of responsibility in order to maintain and use the data efficiently.
The development of this ambitious and complex program was of course not allowed to interfere with normal business operations. Germanischer Lloyd therefore looked for a competent and experienced partner to adapt the MDM method to the needs of GL and implement it, and efficiently establish it in the company involving important stakeholders.
Germanischer Lloyd could be convinced by the expertise that PROSTEP offered as a vendor-neutral consulting and solution development firm in the field of enterprise architecture and product lifecycle management. In applying the MDM program‘s methodological guidelines, PROSTEP consultants performed requirements analyses and developed data standards forming the basis for the data quality checks carried out. To implement these data standards as part of business operations, related data management processes were developed, a so-called system of record defined for each business data object, and concepts for data cleansing and data migration were designed.
Germanischer Lloyd benefits in many respects from the consulting services provided by PROSTEP: The concept that has been developed does not rely on the selection of a certain PLM or PDM system, thus leaving all options to Germanischer Lloyd in this respect for the future.
The established MDM method was used to develop the data standards and was coordinated with and adapted to the shipbuilding-specific requirements of Germanischer Lloyd. This means it will also be possible to use the data efficiently and in a variety of ways in the future.
The results achieved by PROSTEP were tailored to Germanischer Lloyd‘s processes and the industry specific requirements and it was possible to make immediate use of them for the further implementation of the initiative.