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The looming cost: is Excel sinking your shipping business?

The looming cost: is Excel sinking your shipping business?

In the high-stakes world of shipping, where every decision can mean the difference between profit and loss, reliance on outdated tools like Excel can be a silent killer. Many of us are guilty of it – navigating through a labyrinthine of spreadsheets, each cell holding critical information that could make or break a deal. But are these familiar, yet archaic, methods costing us millions?

The grim reality of spreadsheet dependency

Picture it: mission-critical data ensnared within the static confines of a spreadsheet. Years of maritime business acumen reduced to rows and columns, confined to the suffocating space between cells D12 through L12. This is the DNA of a spreadsheet – brittle, disconnected, and error-prone.

But what makes these grids so unique that we're compelled to create multiple iterations for the same ships, voyages, and cargoes? The truth is, this dependence on spreadsheets can be a double-edged sword, undermining our efforts to become data-driven organizations and leaving our businesses vulnerable to costly errors. Forbes suggests that Excel is the most dangerous software on the planet.

Breaking free from spreadsheet hell

The time has come to confront the elephant in the room: Can these trays of data be harming your business? Spreadsheets, left unchecked, can silently sabotage growth and innovation, hindering our ability to adapt to a rapidly changing marketplace.

Yet, breaking free from this entrenched reliance on Excel is no easy feat. For many shipping business owners, charterers, and vessel owners, the thought of abandoning their trusted spreadsheets is akin to severing a lifeline. But there is a better way.

Embracing change for a brighter future

It's time to embrace more robust tools, offering better data management, flexibility, and integration opportunities. By investing in modern solutions that prioritize collaboration and visualization, businesses can unlock their full potential and propel themselves into the digital age.

This is not unique to shipping, even the world of finance is moving away from Excel. Imagine an industry that has been built on the back of spreadsheets making a mission-critical decision to abandon the old, and embrace new innovation.

Rob McMicking, vice president of development, Millennium Computer Systems Ltd once said: “Excel is a great tool, however to store, share and collaborate with all stakeholders at an institution is problematic. Challenges to doing this include creating a flexible application that can change with the ever-demanding need for data, especially when the power users creating these models are reluctant to give them up. Access to data, privacy and transparency need to be discussed when moving away from spreadsheets. A solid plan/roadmap, in-depth training and people who know the process must be thought out prior to embarking on this journey, but once you are there, the benefits are substantial.”

The dangers of spreadsheet dependency extend far beyond mere inconvenience – they threaten to choke our business operations to death, one formula at a time.

The path forward: custom scheduling software built for the Shipping industry

The cure for this malady lies in maritime software applications tailored to the unique needs of shipping businesses. By harnessing the power of relational databases, artificial intelligence, systems integration, cloud computing, and mobile applications, Ship Owners, Chartering Managers and Schedulers can regain control over scattered data, streamline processes, and empower remote employees in the field to leverage workflow solutions that integrates siloed data into a seamless and dynamic scheduling solution.

Ultimately cutting costs, improving profits and reducing carbon emissions are made possible using shipping optimization.

In the end, the choice is clear: cling to the familiar safety of spreadsheets, or embrace the transformative potential of modern technology. The future of your shipping business may depend on it.  

Contact us to learn more about our custom software solution that helps shipowners and cargo owners optimize pre-fixtures and schedule planning.

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