Building and managing a ship or a fleet is complicated business. That is why there are businesses Ocean Shipholdings Inc. (OSI) who make it their specialty. The Houston-based company has been a leader in ship management and ship building services since its formation in 1981, offering a full gamut of ship management solutions from shipbuilding and crew staffing to accounting and purchasing to engineering support and maintenance. With a commitment to quality in all aspects, OSI is committed to its clients’ safety and success.
Technology for Efficiency and Safety
OSI actively invests in new technology for its ships and onshore operations, knowing the many benefits that it can bring to the business and its clients.
One of those benefits is efficiency, enhanced by AVS SafeNet modular software suites licensed from AVS Nautical Systems. OSI currently licenses accounting and crew management modules for its ship and shore operations, along with maintenance modules aboard some of its ships, and most recently added purchasing and procurement modules to the repertoire.
“We implemented this across the company and across the ships, so that we could manage all of our procurement with a single software package,” says Bob Sheen, Vice President of Operations at OSI. “That allows us in the office and the folks out on the ship to be aware of what’s being ordered, delivery dates, where they stand within our budgets and their own budgets, and it allows for visibility of what’s being ordered to senior management and to some of our customers.”
This kind of transparency is critical for clients – equally valuable is security. To address this, OSI has taken on the task of enhancing its software and working with shipboard partners to increase cyber security capabilities. “For many years, people didn’t think cyber security was an issue on ships,” says Sheen. “But it has become a major issue and we’re working within an industry-government partnership to develop procedures and safeguards for cyber security onboard the ship. On the shore side, there are plenty of software packages available that do that, and our IT folks are upgrading ours here.”
Whether it is chartering a ship from its own fleet or maintaining and repairing a ship for a client, Ocean Shipholdings Inc. believes in keeping vessels in the best quality possible. For OSI, that means maintaining a strong relationship with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) of every piece from main engines to power generators to water evaporators.
“It’s important to us to put OEM manufacturer spare parts on the ships wherever we can to the maximum extent possible – there are plenty of third party parts manufactured under questionable circumstances and without certification, and we have to be very careful that what we get is what the manufacturer either recommends or provides themselves,” says Sheen, explaining that this policy also extends to requiring its ships to keep an inventory of all parts received or installed, so that OSI can track parts and maintain its high standard of quality companywide, and thoroughly vetting its purchasing staff to ensure that their standards are in line with OSI company policy.
A Future of Growth for OSI
OSI is looking forward to good things in the near future, filled with potential for growth and success in upcoming contracts. “We like to think here that we’re going to be growing the company hopefully in a big way,” says Sheen. “We’re in a very competitive market, and we’re always looking to see where we can save our customers money, which reduces their cost and makes us more competitive. So we’re actively seeking new customers and seeking to grow the business. We’ve been around a long time because of that attitude, and we see ourselves adding new ships to our fleet and growing here within the next few years.”
Standards that Set OSI Apart
What separates Ocean Shipholdings Inc. from the competition? According to Sheen, it all comes down to the company’s high standards and the people who work hard every day to keep those standards intact.
“We try to attract and retain the best available people that we can, and we develop our people over a long time to have a broad range of knowledge and skill sets,” he says, noting that many OSI employees – himself included – have risen through the ranks from positions on OSI ships to a place within the company onshore. “We are ISO 9001/2008 certified, and we’re very committed to quality and providing the best service that we can to our customers, continually seeking out input and feedback on where we can improve. Our owners started out long ago trying to be the best in the market, and we continue to strive very hard to do that.”