After months of waiting for your cruise, you finally make it out to sea for a week of relaxation. You sit down on your deck chair and watch all of your cares disappear into the horizon. This is paradise, isn’t it?
But if the last few months in the cruise industry are any indication of the voyage that lies ahead, you should keep your fingers crossed that you packed that bottle of aspirin. You could be in for a very long journey.
The reputation of the $37.85 billion US cruise industry has recently been heavily tarnished by a string of incidents primarily related to enterprise quality control. Most notably, in February the Carnival Corp. ship Triumph caught fire in the Gulf of Mexico and stranded 4,200 passengers. Those aboard were forced to deal with food shortages and raw sewage as it spewed from broken pipes until the boat was towed back to shore.
Likewise, the Carnival ships Elation, Dream and Legend have since experienced issues related to a steering malfunction, power shortage and technical difficulty that affected sailing speed, respectively. And in January, 2012 the Italian cruise vessel Costa Concordia struck land and sank off the coast of Isola di Giglio, killing 32 of the 4,252 passengers on board.
Service and maintenance data are overlooked, but crucial components to any enterprise manufacuring intelligence system as highlighted by the myriad of issues in the cruise industry. And as these problems continue to mount, the fate of the troubled cruise industry rests solely in the hands of manufacturers whose task is now to figure out how to prevent such catastrophes from happening before they start. But time may be running out, as Americans are slowly losing trust in this once popular industry. In fact, according to this poll, 51 percent of Americans are now less likely to embark on a cruise.
The problem currently facing the cruise industry is that issues are coming from a variety of different places. Thoroughly inspecting a cruise ship is a massive undertaking due to the enormous size of the vessel. And every aspect must be accounted for, from bulkheads to fire alarms.
The only way to ensure that such a massive vessel is safely inspected on all levels prior to departure is to utilize manufacturing quality control software. Maintenance, service and quality checks can be performed onboard using mobile devices that push data into a central global repository. From there, all quality records are analyzed in real-time and sending alerts when data abnormalities occur. The system provide complete real-time and historical traceability and sends real-time status dashboards to a tablet or mobile device. By using such systems, cruise ship executives can monitor every single component of the ship—before it ever leaves shore. For more on the importance of enterprise quality management, click here.