Any PMS is only as good as the information it contains..

The old saying of “rubbish in, rubbish out” is particularly true with regard to the successful adoption of a new PMS application, whether it is installed on one, or multiple vessels.

Before any PMS can be utilised to reduce operational expenses it needs to be populated with relevant and historical vessel data.

Called “initial population” this is a skilled task, typically carried out by a Chief Engineer, who will identify and input all equipment on board that requires maintenance or a specific maintenance process  together with associated routine jobs.

Retention of historical data is a crucial element of any new installation and AST’s Planned Maintenance System has been designed with this in mind.

It can easily import a wide variety of data formats including; Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, Word documents, PDF, pictures and videos.

Once this initial preparation is complete, crew training and support need to be provided to enable all users to utilise the PMS application in the correct manner in order to standardise entries and enable meaningful and accurate data to be exported and analysed.

A recent implementation of the AST PMS System was to a company with a fleet of over 20 vessels who were introducing a Planned Maintenance System for the very first time.


The vessel crew’s IT skills ranged from “beginner to advanced” with limited IT, engineering and project manager resources to oversee implementation and training.

The company were using traditional spread sheets to manage the maintenance tasks of their vessels but had reached the conclusion that this was not only inefficient, but also open to manual error as the fleet grew in numbers.

Needs Assessment

The client provided a dedicated Project Manager to work with AST MSL and after consultation an implementation lead time of nine months was agreed for the entire fleet to convert to AST PMS.

Part of the initial assessment identified a requirement for AST MSL to provide the “initial population” service for all vessels.

To reduce expense, as a number of the vessels within the Fleet were of a similar design, costs were saved by duplicating the population services.

AST MSL also imported all the previously collected vessel information into the PMS so that all historical data was retained.


AST MSL conducted a one day “train the trainer” session at the company’s offices to the Project Manager on how to use the PMS, followed up by a further two, half day training sessions.

Following the “train the trainer” session the Project Manager was able to train and support the company’s individual crews as the PMS was rolled out across the Fleet.

Initially each vessel took approximately a month for full implementation; however, this was reduced to two weeks per vessel by the end of the roll out as they became more confident with the solution.

Support was provided by MSL via regular update meetings, telephone support and remote access, using a remote access IT application when minor PMS configuration issues arose.

Experience has repeatedly shown that when introducing a new software application the initial assessment, and correct approach to the individual training requirements of the user reduces implementation time and saves on expenditure over the longer term.