Ulstein, a Norwegian ship design, and shipbuilding enterprise, is on a journey to discover how they can expand from producing ships to also offer sustainable service solutions. How can the long life cycle of a vessel be utilized better in their business? EGGS joined them on this quest in a design-driven innovation programme (DIP).
Ulstein is a company with a strong legacy in the maritime and shipbuilding industry. Like many other traditional industries, they’re facing the challenge of turning their focus from delivering products to also offering services through Ulstein Design & Solutions. By applying service design and business design, we’ve together outlined viable ideas for the future.
New customers – new expectations
The company has recently – before the Covid19 crisis – entered into a new business field, delivering not only ships to offshore oil & gas, but also designing more exclusive cruise ships and exploration cruise ships. The passengers on these types of vessels have higher expectations on design, service quality, and user experience. In a B2B context, this means that Ulstein needs to understand their customers’ business and decision-making as well as experience of the end-users. To explore the opportunities for Ulstein in this field, we used service design methodology, interviewing customers, and Ulstein employees. With the insight material, we were able to outline several suggestions on how Ulstein can develop its services, create a better customer experience (CX), and establish new sources of income.
Visualising the customers’ emotional journey
The initial focus of the project was to investigate Ulstein’s presales-and concept-development phases. However, we also discovered that the transitions between the different stages, especially in the later ones, could run smoother. We then focused on identifying how emotions play an integral part in this journey and how Ulstein can identify essential touchpoints to make the experience seamless.
Long product lifecycle opens up for many opportunities
When it comes to such a highly complex and sophisticated product as a ship that has a very long lifecycle, there are many unexplored business opportunities. If Ulstein can be involved throughout the ship's lifecycle, it’s a win-win situation for both them and their customers, as they can contribute with valuable knowledge and data from the design and engineering phase. For example, we identified great opportunities for Ulstein to further assist with their expertise in the aftermarket phase i.e., during maintenance and rebuilds. Offering services here will create a business opportunity for Ulstein as well as improve the experience and the total value of the ship investment for the customer.
This project started before the Covid-19 crisis, and like most other businesses, Ulstein has had to adapt to a new reality and new challenges. However, maintaining an innovative and adaptive approach is going to be essential when facing such changes, and Ulstein has, over the years, proven their ability to adapt and make the best out of the situation.