Software providers need to be more aware of the precise demands being voiced by today’s shipowners and charterers and must match or exceed these if they are to win business in this highly competitive yet still potentially lucrative market, according to a leading player in the sector.
Fritz Heidenreich, President of SaaS technology provider Q88, said “time was running out” for those businesses intent on under-delivering and overcharging when it came to the software products they offered to the market.
“Other companies carry too much overhead from unnecessary functionality and line extensions that the industry does not ask for. We don’t think it is fair to dump those added costs on the end-users,” he said.
Q88 LLC announced last month the launch of a new tanker-broker exclusive Position List module on Q88.com. The product, which tracks global tanker positions in a collaborative community-like environment, was designed with the industry’s needs at the heart and industry stakeholders’ wallets in mind.
“Being knowledgeable about the industry’s most pressing issues is a must because we need to be able to swiftly react to market demands and offer cost-effective solutions to our customers. You can only achieve this if you are lean, cost-wise, and know where, and how, to push forward boundaries,” said Mr Heidenreich.
“Over the years the market has asked us to build a position list system that better meets their needs. There was certainly a strain on the customer-vendor relationship for this segment. After discussing the potential with the rest of the management team, we realised we could fully deliver on the request for a more complete, mobile-friendly and lower-cost position list platform in a relatively short turn-around time,” he added.
Q88 now has over 80 tanker broker shops trialing its Position List system. To view the Q88 Position List video click here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7yjpJWTj3Q
This is not the first time Q88 has successfully entered a market with established providers, by offering a more cost-effective solution. In 2014 it launched Q88VMS, the industry’s first fully web-based voyage management system. Q88VMS comes in at below market price compared to other established providers.
“With Q88VMS, we saw that small- and medium-sized ship owners and operators didn’t really have an option for a voyage management system. It was either a simple voyage calculator or one of the massive systems they couldn’t afford,” stressed Mr Heidenreich.
“A subscription-based system, run over the internet, drastically cuts the implementation and set-up costs that created such a large barrier of entry for many. We’re happy to have developed a cost-effective system that fulfils this segment’s needs,” he said.
The model is being well received by the industry. Q88 claims that Q88VMS’ user-base has more than doubled in the past nine months.