Frank Coles’ vision for digital Wallem prepares to go live

Just six months after joining Hong Kong-headquartered Wallem Group as chief executive, Frank Coles is introducing the digital transformation of the company that he promised back in October 2018.

Yesterday, Wallem announced it will roll out a complete suite of integrated software provided by BASSnet™ Fleet Management Systems, across all its business functions.

Commenting on the move Mr Coles said: “Having run several maritime software companies and considering the complexities of operations, compliance and the regulatory environment, I was keen to not reinvent the wheel.

“We have chosen to install a cloud based COTS solution, without customization.  Exactly how digitalization is supposed to be done.  We are going to defy the myth that ship operations and management needs to be different, or somehow special. It does not need all the disparate or heavily customized homegrown systems.  This is the stuff of myths created by a lack of understanding and/or old fashioned operational beliefs and techniques,” Mr Coles added

“In my view, offering transparency, analytics and business intelligence is the way forward for high-performance fleet management, and implementing a complete enterprise solution from BASSnet™ will allow us to integrate the power of big data with our business processes.  We are going to walk the talk,” he said in a press release.

Speaking to Hong Kong Maritime Hub from his office in Quarry Bay, Mr Coles elaborated on what prompted the move and how the system will differentiate the company from its competitors.

Mr Coles recalled that when he arrived at Wallem: “I found a company with a long history and tradition in the maritime industry. A company that broke ground at the beginning of ship management. But like many ship management companies it was not quite clear what digitalization is all about.

“I found a number of systems rather than one system. A number of platforms rather than one platform. And a number of rather traditional approaches to doing business. This is not unusual when you compare this to any other companies in our space.”

“Now, we are introducing a single platform: a single enterprise system across all of the functions of the organization including finance, operations, safety, procurement, plan maintenance, and inventory control.

“Not only will we install a single platform, thereby having a single database, it will be in the cloud. And we will offer access to our clients as well. So, we will provide full transparency to our shipowners.

“The secret here is: one platform, one database, full transparency; and forcing the company and the people to follow the processes of the software instead of trying to customize the software to handle processes the way they have done in the past,’’ he added.

“This will require a culture change, and an attitude change. But I am open to change and I am prepared to drive change. All change management processes require people to adapt. And you need to show them why it is better for them. You need to show them the benefits,” he concluded.

Earlier this week Wallem announced the arrival of John-Kaure Aune as the new managing director of its ship management division.

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