Russian Maritime Register
of Shipping

The Challenge

Founded in 1913, The Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RS) is a marine classification society that maintains the ship register of the Russian Federation.

Its activities aim to enhance the safety of navigation, safety of life at sea, security of ships, safe carriage of cargo, environmental safety of ships and performance of authorizations issued by maritime administrations and customers.

RS has over 100 offices in Russia and another 37 branches across the world. The Register handles the exchange of over 160,000 documents per year to support over six thousand vessels.

The organization has a complex process for managing vessel inspections and technical supervision of the design, construction, repair and operation of ships. A single process may involve staff working at different offices across the world, exchanging documents and accessing data to work together. For example, a ship survey requires employees to have access to vessel inspection requests, statuses of those requests and visibility over various documents related to the survey.

RS used a number of software applications to manage its document processing, but over time, these solutions became outdated and required considerable maintenance to meet the growing needs of customers and users. System customizations were added, incurring substantial organizational and financial costs.

RS decided to replace its portfolio of legacy systems with a single enterprise content management system that would allow it to streamline the organization’s business processes.

Solution

After a rigorous tender process assessing various ECM systems, RS selected THESIS as its core ECM technology. THESIS provided a number of key benefits including a fully functional web-client, ability to work with low-speed web connections, and, crucially, THESIS offered flexibility to be easily customized to the unique needs of RS whilst still remaining in-budget.

  • For the initial pilot project, THESIS was used to automate customer requests for vessel inspections. The existing workflow for managing these documents had evolved over several years and required modernizing to improve efficiency.

    Initially, THESIS was run in parallel with the legacy systems for staff to compare both systems, but after this successful test, THESIS was rolled out to cover almost all external and internal corporate communications into the system, alongside all key business processes.

The THESIS development team also delivered a number of customizations, integrated THESIS with the accounting system and migrated the entire RS fleet database into the THESIS infrastructure.

Employees were asked to perform their tasks simultaneously using the incumbent system and THESIS. Over a period of six months after the system launch, the system was continuously iterated and improved to incorporate new data structures, functions and reports.

THESIS was integrated with an accounting system to automate the billing process. The accounting application generates invoices automatically based on information stored in THESIS.

RS was delighted with the effectiveness and improving efficiency in processing these applications through THESIS and subsequently migrated almost all external and internal corporate communications into the system.

The RS fleet database, containing information on more than 23,000 vessels, was also migrated to THESIS and special modules were designed to enable THESIS to run in an ‘offline mode’ with data stored locally, so RS agents could work in remote areas.

Results

The first version was live within four months. The system now handles more than three million documents and tasks for over 1,500 users.

Automating business processes is estimated to deliver savings of 80% admin time to process ship inspections.
RS calculates that this equates to a saving of over £1 million per annum in staff costs.