Marine Management Limited (MML), the New Zealand-based project management company, has recently launched a new app to help superyachts plan and manage their refit projects. The RefitPlanner.com app allows senior crew to liaise with the MML team and work towards planning and costing a refit in a more accurate and timely manner.
“The issue at hand transcends the superyacht industry,” starts Matt Liddell, MML’s business development manager. “Even within the commercial and naval sectors, people don’t adequately prepare for refits. This may happen for a variety of reasons, such as being too busy with guests or simply not truly appreciating what adequate preparation is.”
This lack of preparation has led to certain preconceptions about refitting a superyacht. It is now almost invariably assumed that whatever the initial estimated price and project length may be, the actual price and project length will be higher.
‘There is an expectation that there will be a 30 per cent cost overrun,” continues Liddell. “This is big generalisation - of course there are numerous exceptions - but these overruns are factored into budgets. If this is the norm, then it is a large margin to be dealing with. In many cases this is a significant amount of money.”
For shipyards with ample time on their hands, perhaps during the slower summer months, these overruns provide a lucrative opportunity to increase the time and monetary cost of a refit. However, with a burgeoning refit market operating at full throttle during winter, these unforeseen, but assumed, additions make scheduling refits particularly difficult. Vessels may arrive for jobs that require five workers for a month, yet leave three months later having required a team of 25.
“What we are saying to our clients is, ‘You can do a whole lot better and we can help you,’” explains Liddell. “Firstly, many people leave planning a refit too late and once you leave it too late you don’t have enough time to gather all the relevant information. Secondly, when you think you’ve gathered all the necessary information, 99 per cent of the time you haven’t and this reflects poorly on the final price.”
The unknown elements of refitting are not entirely avoidable, but the RefitPlanner.com app hopes to significantly reduce the number of shipyard surprises. The app itself is a data collection tool, senior crew are able to document future works and back them up with text and images, while benefitting from instant communication with the MML team via an internal messaging system.
“These pictures, that ordinarily a shipyard might not see until the yacht actually visits, will be provided labelled beforehand and the shipyard can begin pricing based on evidence,” continues Liddell. “Once a job has been approved according to its category, we provide 24 questions that basically ask, What is it? Where is it? What do you want to do to it? What materials do you need? And so on. They are all very simple questions, but they are question that are often overlooked. You can never have too much information.”
MML will handle work specification, project planning, tender submission, shipyard review and budget estimation. All the information gathered within the app can then be passed on to the necessary shipyard.