Get best practices on implementing a new new system from various shipping companies using SERTICA today combined with our own experience implementing Ship Management Systems worldwide for more than 30 years.


This article presents 7 tips when implementing a new system. The implementation process is not described from A to B but with focus on topics that are often forgotten or not prioritized sufficiently.

7 tips to a Successful Implementation

  1. IDENTIFY important stakeholders
  2. ALLOCATE resources and competences
  3. A SPECIFICATION matching your needs
  4. COORDINATE the IT installation
  5. PRIORITIZE training
  6. PREPARE your data
  7. SEEK external inspiration

Tip 1: Identify important stakeholders

When you implement a Ship Management System it affects the entire organization, and it is therefore important to identify internal stakeholders early in the process. If you listen to your stakeholders and their requirements, they also take ownership of both the project and the system moving forward.

Ship management system stakeholders

“We had several stakeholders involved both on an organizational and user level. We manage the ships, Stena RoRo owns the ships and Stena IT takes care of the IT infrastructure, so we included key people from all 3 organizations. I also recommend including both officers and superintendents early in the process to make sure that they understand the purpose and agree with the processes of SERTICA.”

Stefan Pedersen, Fleet Manager at Stena Marine Management

“Involving key stakeholders early allows you to discuss and update internal processes before building your data. This ensures correct use of the system and thereby optimal operations from day one.”

Peter Sundell, Procurement Manager at Cadeler

“We included 20 relevant people in the selection process to create ownership and commitment. For a system to be implemented successfully, it must be accepted, and the users need to understand the value that the system brings.”

Rudi Vander Eyken, Group IT Manager at Euronav

“At our first kick-off meeting we invited people from 5 different locations to Norway. It is important that the project participants take ownership of the implementation and the system.”

Arne Arnesen, Project Manager at Gearbulk

Stakeholder requirements:

  • IT Manager: Hardware, server and cloud solutions
  • CEO: KPI’s in inbox and data in real-time
  • CFO: Integration to financial system
  • Superintendent: A simple system
  • Procurement Manager: Automation of manual processes
  • Safety Manager: Easy inspections and documentation

Tip 2: Allocate resources and competencies

A successful implementation of a Ship Management System depends entirely on having the right resources and competences present in the project internally and externally.

“I have an extremely competent team which enables me to focus on the actual project management. Many ideas, wishes and other tasks arise in the implementation process, but to keep the deadlines, you best plan the implementation in phases.”

Stefanos Christakis, ERP Project Manager at EURONAV

Even with a competent team in your organization, you may choose to outsource some of the tasks to your supplier. This can be a necessity to keep deadlines and reach the overall goals.

“Sometimes it makes sense to let RINA Digital Solution solve a task because they are simply more experienced. As an example, they have created many templates, data structures and reports and can do this much faster than we can, because they have solved the exact same task at other shipping companies.”

Stefan Pedersen, Fleet Manager at Stena Marine Management

The Teamwork Tool

Using a professional project management tool like Teamwork helps both the shipping company and supplier to control tasks and reminders during the implementation.

With an overview of all tasks in a GANTT diagram, you can identify the most time-consuming tasks and allocate the correct resources early in the process.

“The Teamwork Tool is brilliant when starting up the project. We can share tasks, deadlines and documents in the same place. We know who is responsible for doing what and when.”

Tommy Karlsen, Supply Chain Manager at DESS Aquaculture Shipping.

“We keep all communication in Teamwork, including emails, meeting minutes and action items. If we have a task concerning installation; all communication, decisions and changes are kept on this task in Teamwork. This also allows us to copy an implementation template when initiating a new project, which saves us and our customers a lot of time (and money).”

Carsten Krogsgaard Nielsen, Project Manager at RINA Digital Solutions

Resources leading to success:

  • Dedicated system owner workingfull time on implementation during the entire implementation (internal)
  • Professional Project Management with proper mandate with decision power (internal)
  • Project Manager who pushes to keep deadlines (supplier)
  • Consultant who understands both
  • system and maritime industry (supplier)

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Tip 3: A specification matching your needs

When writing a specification in cooperation with your supplier, it is important that you understand what is described.

This may seem obvious, but specifications can easily get too technical, and it is therefore a good idea to have an overall description with flow diagrams of the changes needed followed by a more technical description of the changes to the system.

It is easy to describe the expected flows when all is working out as planned. It gets more complicated if the flow does not follow the plan. Therefore, you need to understand the user patterns when working in SERTICA and based on this specify “What-If-Workflows.” This way you always have a back-up plan.

“We specified all processes related to Maintenance, Procurement and Safety. It was a clear advantage for us to specify early in the process before we started the data cleaning and structuring, because the specifications gave us a work plan – also in relation to the installation onboard the vessel.”

Stefan Pedersen, Fleet Manager at Stena Marine Management

A specification may describe the possibility to select forms when creating a task in your job app or it can be more technical and describe how to integrate a Ship Management System to the Financial System. Interfaces to third-party systems are often complex and therefore needs to be discussed internally and specified in detail.

A specification may include:

  • Description of customer wishes and objectives
  • Flow description of what to change in the system
  • Detailed description of changes and additions
  • Technical description
  • Sum up of what to develop and test

Tip 4: Coordinate the IT installation specification matching your needs

A competent IT department can typically install a Ship Management System in half a day if everything is well coordinated.

Make sure that your supplier offers thorough instructions and keeps you informed about what is needed to ensure a successful installation. It is important that IT is involved early in the process and keeps a clear focus on the installation.

“With the right guidance, it is relatively easy to set up SERTICA and we recommend our customers to do this themselves instead of outsourcing the task to a third party. This way our customers take more ownership of the system and can easily decide who has access.”

Rasmus Wæhrens, Technical Lead at RINA Digital Solutions

“In our case, RINA Digital Solutions took ownership in ensuring that the Safety Management System was delivered on time to ensure a successful DOC classification completion. They included relevant internal stakeholders when necessary.”

Stefan Pedersen, Fleet Manager at Stena Marine Management

“I can highly recommend NOT to change all IT equipment and IT provider at the same time as you install a Ship Management System. Use internal IT resources and combine these with the resources from your supplier. Do not plan any parallel IT projects but keep focus on the installation.”

Tommy Karlsen, Supply Chain Manager at DESS Aquaculture Shipping.

A succesfull IT installation:

  • Allocate time and resources toplan the installation
  • Make a plan for hardware and servers
  • Start with a pilot vessel
  • Involve a few key persons

Tip 5: Prioritize training

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