PLM for the marine and offshore industry

Innovation in the maritime sector has long traditions in the Nordics. More than 1300 years ago, the Vikings developed amazing ships of all sizes for different purposes. The most famous and feared was the longship, intended for warfare and exploration designed for speed and agility. It was used by the Norsemen to discover America 500 years before Christopher Columbus. But, the Vikings also developed “cargo”-ships like the knarr – and special service ships like “Oseberg” that were used to bury high status people and kings. Ever since, the maritime sector has been the most important industry in Norway and foundation for international shipping, fishing industry and the oil and gas industry in the last 4 decades. 

The traditional shipbuilding industry has mostly migrated from Nordics and Europe to low labor cost countries – due to lack of innovation! Processes and tools remains, costs increase. The Oil & Gas Industry with some large EPC´s and thousands of suppliers has clearly been a very innovative sector since 4 decades but is now facing somewhat the same challenges. Processes and tools remains, costs increases and new contracts are placed in low labor cost countries. STATOIL initiated their Fast-Track program in order to do more for less and even faster. How? Standardize, re-use and innovations like subsea solutions.

Both shipbuilding and offshore engineering companies have invested heavily in computer aided tools and IT to efficiently perform operations, planning and manufacturing. Every discipline has special tools to create drawings, 3D-models, simulations, process charts, project plans, documents etc. Numerous databases are established to store all information and data generated, from start to end.

Still, the industry is facing major challenges delivering projects and solutions on time and on budget. Based on the extremely profitable oil business, the project cost overrun has somewhat been covered in the total ROI. With reduced oil prices a number of projects are unprofitable, business is slowing down – and companies are downsizing. So, what should we do? Innovate! New solutions, new products. Innovate the way we work; i.e. change the way we work. Learn from other industries that have been fighting with tough competition and low margins for decades, like the automotive industry, mass production and like the aerospace industry, developing complex and large products - even customized one-off airplanes. These industries have been focusing on standardization, reuse of information and parts, automation and they have strategically used IT tools to facilitate innovation. They have been able to utilize the fact that all information today is digital. The solution is named Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and is in fact a collaboration platform enabling all involved partners to work jointly on the same information, wherever they are in the world. Moreover, the next generation PLM solutions have completely integrated engineering applications covering disciplines like 3D design, simulation, process design, electrical schematics and 3D cabling, manufacturing planning and preparation, project management, and change management in one harmonized collaboration platform.

What can a PLM solution do for the Marine & Offshore Industry?

  • Establish infrastructure for growth, enable standardization
  • Enable global collaboration internally and with external partners
  • Improve innovation by increasing value-adding work
  • Enable real concurrent engineering and saving total delivery time
  • Ensure on time deliveries by providing complete track of status and progress monitoring
  • Automation of processes and eliminate time consuming tasks.