One of the Workboat Association’s newest members, Vik Bharat gives us an insite into his business – Vessconn Maritime.
– Can you introduce us to Vessconn Maritime?
VM is a company which offers transparent connections and collaborations between multiple stakeholders; like vessel operators and the providers of supplies, services and training. Contributing towards the continued digitisation and optimisation of the maritime sector, with an emphasis on creating value for all parties by ensuring that the resources of our customers remain focused on their core job. VM aims to empower its stakeholders, by providing integrated, on-demand digital solutions, combined with strategic and administrative support functions which will improve operational efficiency, streamline business processes, and uncover valuable insights that will drive profits and growth for its users.
– What is your career background?
I am a Master Mariner professionally, my career in the maritime industry has been a very versatile one. I started my deep sea sailing at the age of 17. After sailing for more than 15 years (in various roles from Cadet to ship’s Master) I came ashore where I was then involved in many more varied designations; from education and training to safety management, then setting up a commercial operations department and studying myself! These opportunities provided me a close insight into the merits and demerits of processes and procedures within Maritime. I completed my MBA from Middlesex University in 2012.
– How did you first develop the idea?
During my career at sea and ashore there were many instances where I found that my time was being wasted in carrying out trivial tasks, I could have devoted that time in doing more important core jobs which could have benefitted the company in a bigger way. I carried this question throughout my journey and especially during my career ashore, how to bring in the concept of “Lean” into routine maritime operations? The answer and idea was simple, through “Digitalisation”, which we all know is crucial to the future of maritime and the worlds economics.
– What first drew you towards maritime?
Alluring job prospects, the opportunity to roam around the world, to live and work with multinational people, to learn transferable skills and above all – to start early in life. Some of my friends were still studying while I started earning and expanding my career.
– What do you see as the greatest concern in vessel procurement?
My greatest concern is how to choose the right vendor /right supplier, as a lot of companies provide very similar products & services. Making the right choice is essential, as the end user is not working in the office but is working on board the vessel, at sea, where the right quality products do make a big difference (there is no ‘nipping to the shop’ to buy a new product if the original doesn’t function or perform correctly). For example: There is an well-known correlation when it comes to the food on board and the happiness of the crew, it might look an easy task to procure quality food products, however it has its unique challenges. Products of quality will keep the crew healthy, focused and happy. However, this comes at a cost and how many times when we order do we check if the supplier is HACCP (food safety) certified let alone check their ethics or reliability up-front?
– What is the recent news from Vessconn Maritime?
Vessconn Maritime is working to enhance its digital solution through AI and aims to provide a network – like a reef, which covers less than one percent of the ocean floor, but supports an estimated twenty-five percent of all marine life! Our vision is to establish a digital reef of maritime providers for services, supplies and training.
The plan is to evolve the model further on the principle of ‘One-way Multisided Platform’ to cause a network effect as it attracts multiple users to become the part of the reef. We are collaborating with high grade data solution companies that are helping us to unlock innovation and eventually to provide us with AI tools that will revolutionise the entire supply chain model within the industry.
– Do you see any trends in requirements for the Workboat Sector?
The most important requirement I see is to understand and capture emissions, similar to bigger ships. Currently the focus is to reduce the carbon footprint from our facilities and ships (also known as direct emissions). However, very soon industry will be asked to reduce its indirect emissions as well. Workboats have already started to obtain early technologies which will reduce sector emissions and have a demonstrative effect throughout the wider maritime industry. With so many things to think about and do, its worth mentioning that Vessconn Maritime can assist the workboat owners/operators by making short-lists and suggestions for trusted and experienced supply chain services. Taking a lot of time and stress away from the vessel management to concentrate on the bigger picture.
– What are your hobbies outside of work?
I like to visit nature reserves, I enjoy playing Golf and sometimes get to play the drums with my son on his guitar by my side.