OSLO, NORWAY, 2009: After a broad tender process involving all of the foremost fleet management software companies, chemical and edible oils transport heavyweight Stolt Tankers B.V. recently came to the same conclusion as shipping industry leaders NYK Ship Management, “K” Line and CMA CGM: they chose to install the integrated BASSnet suite on their 76 vessels and 4 satellite offices.

The deal represents a milestone for BASS, as the company triumphed at the end of Stolt Tankers’ comprehensive, worldwide tender phase – which spanned for a full six months. First, Stolt reviewed information from 12 software vendors in 2008 to get an overview of the market, and thereafter invited six of these into a tender process consisting of about 800 explicit requirements. After the answers to these questions were analysed, Stolt pared the list down to three vendors, who were then involved in a two-day workshop which included in-depth presentations of the complete solutions.

“It was a difficult choice, but in the end our decision fell on BASSnet due to its complete functionality, superior technological platform and intuitive user interface. It has one of the most comprehensive databases in the industry – enabling us to view and analyse our operations from different angles for improved decision support and performance. We intend to use it as a master database for Stolt Tankers,” says Stolt-Nielsen CIO Peter Koenders.

“The fact that BASSnet is fully developed on up-to-date technology – Microsoft.NET – was important to Stolt. It provides us with a platform for the future so that we can avoid repeating such projects across the fleet later on. Another area in which BASS greatly differentiated itself from its competitors was human resources management,” says Stolt Tankers’ Business Process Manager Jose Milhazes, citing BASSnet’s new HR Manager module. The BASSnet HR Manager solution is web-based and built to meet the challenges and unique requirements of crew and payroll management in today’s shipping environment.

BASS will now assist Stolt Tankers with the conversion of 76 vessel databases from a mix of in-house and  competing systems to a full BASSnet 2.6 suite. Implementation is scheduled to begin in September 2009, with a fleet rollout in January 2010 and complete implementation expected by 2011.

Tender process typical of second-time buyers

“We are extremely proud to come out as the winner in this qualification process,” says BASS CEO Per Steinar Upsaker. “A tender process that builds on the shipowner’s own business process mapping and real-world user cases is typical of second-time buyers. They know all about the limitations of best-of-breed, stand-alone applications and are looking to increase transparency and streamline operations. These buyers go beyond regulatory compliance in order to drive business improvements, obtain ROI, and look for an up-to-date technology solution that will stand the test of time.”

BASS is quick to point out that shipowners not only improve day-to-day operations with their solution, but also financial returns. According to the comprehensive business case that Stolt has carried out, the company will get significant returns on its investment. And they see the solution itself running for at least 10 or more years,” says BASS head of product management, Haakon Dalan. “The process Stolt carried out here represents a very strong return on investment for most shipowners.”

Inspiration and motivation

One needn’t worry that the gaining of such a large contract will make BASS rest on its laurels. Quite the opposite, in fact. “While we’re all very proud of this achievement, we will not become complacent. Rather, the tender process that we’ve gone through and the contract that we’ve won will help give us the inspiration, motivation and confidence to continuously improve our products and services, and add new modules to the BASSnet suite,” concludes Upsaker.