Lee Archer, Principal Project Manager at Lateral Naval Architects, outlines how the impact of Covid-19 is enforcing changes to how the company serves its clients...

We are lucky to have a large team of specialists who are used to working remotely and at distance from the client. They revel in finding technical solutions to best balance the needs of a project.  Additionally, all our project leads are all technically trained and experienced in differing aspects of the industry so have more to offer than a traditional project control function. This, and their years of experience in delivering projects means that it is natural that our in-house processes offer some flexibility. By no means can we say that we are doing business as usual, but by pulling together as a team and embracing technology, we have found ways to support each other, our clients and projects alike.

Thinking about it now, our way of working is likely to be responsible for the large number of ongoing technical relationships we have built over the years. We enjoy working collaboratively within engineering teams. This means that as well as providing long term detailed engineering support, we can also step in and out of projects to provide a technical boost when required. Lateral has industry experts in naval architecture and engineering, we are not designers, builders, brokers or captains, but our skills compliment those of our clients. One of the greatest privileges is to experience this synergy building within a project team.

But, to swing back to your original question, we all see shipyards and projects that from the outside are seemingly continuing as usual, and there are those at the other end of the spectrum which are clearly struggling. It is fair to say that those utilising modern management techniques are adapting the quickest. I see this as further evidence that the conventional waterfall methodologies used through-out the large yacht industry are becoming less-and-less useful. Modern yacht projects need more ability to manage emerging technologies, up to date build practices and to support the global nature of the delivery teams involved. Companies and shipyards that have previously realised that traditional project management processes need to be reworked to be more agile, and therefore more useful for complex and ever more time sensitive projects are also able to deal with rapid changes in external business influence, as we are currently experiencing.

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