Disruptive market conditions require new direction for vessel design practices and tools application
Disruptive market conditions challenge existing vessel design practices and tools application. Consequently, this paper argues that design firms must reinvent their business models and work practices. They must also enhance the rationality and logic of consequential and preference-based decision-making processes and revise their solution-making tools to better meet the expectations of a new interrelationship with ship owners, charterers, suppliers, bankers and other relevant stakeholders. These are means to survive and retain future attractiveness and competitiveness. Ulstein Group, as many other maritime industry operations, has recently experienced such a transition and has already made significant changes to its market position and customer orientation, knowledge building, vessel design practices and naval architectural “toolbox” to ensure long-term survivability. This paper discusses why, what and how Ulstein has handled its transition process within the suggested areas of concern—from being an offshore vessel designer and builder to become an exploration-cruise vessel project maker in very short time.
The paper summarizes the challenges of transformation aspects experienced. It describes how market conditions directly have impacted the shift in vessel buyer behavior, knowledge and experience building in the company, and why particularly, the vessel concept design processes and analyses toolbox, have been refurbished and design work practices executed differently than in the past. Examples are review and discussed as to how data-driven methods (accelerated business development (ABD™), fast track vessel concept design analyses (FTCDA™), Ulstein vessel performance analysis (UVPA™) and Ulstein project making (UPM™)) can effectively support the necessary change process and the mitigation of the “wicked problem” effect in vessel design, and ship design firms renewal. The paper concludes with a call for a business centered naval architecture, with the aid of modern data-driven tools.