Maintaining a comprehensive overview of the medication inventory onboard has long posed a challenge for shipping companies. At Østensjø Rederi, this challenge found resolution when Oscar Wee, Marine Superintendent, reached out to the solution-oriented Shipmed AS.
Stringent regulations govern the procurement and storage of medications onboard Norwegian vessels, occasionally presenting difficulties in ensuring a thorough and up-to-date understanding of the actual medication inventory onboard the vessels.
Keeping track of the vessel’s pre-existing medical supplies and the client’s supplies became a challenge. This could potentially pose a problem during inspections abroad. Thus, it became crucial for us to find an inventory system that could secure the necessary oversight and control, explains Oscar Wee, at Østensjø Rederi.
– Our trusted partner, Apotek 1 Løven in Haugesund, recommended that we get in touch with Shipmed AS in Ålesund, he adds.
Established in 2000, Shipmed has been owned by Medi3 since 2004, one of the country’s largest private medical companies with headquarters in Ålesund. Over the years, they have developed expertise in maritime medical safety, offering services such as hospital design, hospital furnishings, medication for newbuilds, medical equipment, and software for monitoring and managing medical equipment inventory onboard.
– We have a challenge. Can you solve it?
– We presented the need to Shipmed to gain an overview of the total medication inventory onboard—beyond what regulations prescribe as minimum requirements, explains Wee.
However, the Shipmed system had been entirely based on regulatory requirements. If you sail under the Norwegian flag and carry hazardous goods, there are rules specifying the quantities allowed onboard. The system measures this in accordance with requirements and regulations. Nevertheless, Shipmed chose to tackle the challenge.
– Østensjø Rederi needed a system that adheres to the client’s own lists—lists that are not regulated. Therefore, we had to find a way to gain an overview of the client’s lists without interfering with our main system, which complies with regulations. Normally, we work from a clear specification, but Østensjø Rederi presented us with a challenge and wondered if we could solve it. We found this to be an exciting challenge and, with all due respect, believed that if anyone could solve this, it had to be us, says Geir Østrem, CEO of Shipmed AS.
Close and effective collaboration
Consequently, Shipmed initiated a different work process than usual, embarking on prototyping.
– We began development and had a continuous and productive dialogue with Oscar Wee and the Østensjø Rederi team, testing and adjusting as we received feedback. It has been incredibly rewarding to work closely with the Østensjø Rederi team, understand the challenges, and, of course, successfully solve the task. In many ways, we have now created a Shipmed within Shipmed, providing Østensjø Rederi and their customers the control and overview they need without affecting the rest of the system, says Østrem.
– The new client module specially developed by Shipmed for Østensjø Rederi enables us to access updated information about the vessel’s total medication inventory. It is easily accessible on PCs both onboard and in the office. This enhances the procurement process and makes it easier for the client to send orders to the Master based on current inventory needs. We can also easily generate reports and statistics, explains Oscar Wee.
He praises the collaboration with Shipmed.
– They accepted the challenge and have been solution-oriented, even though we pushed them hard at times. It’s fun to collaborate with people who can fix what seems to be impossible, he smiles.
Can be further developed
The issue of client lists has been on Shipmed’s development plan for several years, but it was the specific challenge from Oscar Wee that got them started.
– It has taken a little longer than we initially envisioned, but now we are live. We have thoughts on how the system can be developed further. We will then utilize the feedback we receive from usage into further planning as it comes, says Østrem, who naturally envisions that other shipping companies will also benefit from using the system.
– I would certainly encourage other shipping companies to adopt these new features, concludes Oscar Wee.