Tunisia, April 2017

Interview with Wassim Koubaa, Deputy General Manager of SCIN, on Cost Saving Potential in Shipbuilding

SCIN is the leading shipyard in the northern part of Africa and strives a systematic cost management. Wassim Koubaa, Deputy General Manager for shipbuilding, spoke with COSTFACT about the current measures.

Kristin Hofer, COSTFACT GmbH: Mr. Koubaa, SCIN is one of the shipyards with the highest reputation across the northern part of Africa. What is the reason for this?
Wassim Koubaa, SCIN: Our clients made the experience that they can trust on SCIN. This applies not only for the skills of our workers and accordingly the quality of the ships and boats we build, but also for the reliability of our project management and schedules.

KH: Do you also see potential for SCIN to acquire new customers?
WK: Actually, SCIN is currently reaching out to the European Market. Due to our most competitive cost structure, combined with our close location to Europe, we see very high potential in serving Europe. European ship owners and shipyards engaging SCIN with shipbuilding and ship hull fabrication, will benefit from low cost and favorable prices while SCIN expands its market. It’s a win-win situation.

KH: Recently you started to investigate the possibilities of improving SCIN’s cost management. Why did you do so?
WK: There were mainly two reasons: The first one is that it is not sufficient any more to provide high quality only. Instead, customers simultaneously require the most cost efficient solution. The second reason refers to our future activities: European clients expect international standards, both in cost planning and in calculations for quotes. For these needs, conventional spreadsheet calculation is not suitable and therefore we were looking for a calculation system with according capabilities.

KH: What is wrong with spreadsheet calculation?
WK: Spreadsheet programs can be very helpful for many tasks, of course. However, planning the prospective cost for building a ship means to handle an enormous complexity. For usual, several parties are included in collecting, generating and entering the data. At the latest with the occurrence of change orders, someone cannot handle all this information transparently and comprehensible in an Excel table. Furthermore, data entered in spreadsheets is not very suitable for reuse in future projects what means someone will always start a new calculation more or less from scratch. Not to mention the impossibility to make comparisons between the planned cost and the actual cost that incurred during the shipbuilding.

KH: Because of your market research, you decided to proceed with CostFact. Why CostFact?
WK: Although there are plenty costing and calculation programs on the market, nearly all of them are not industry-specific. CostFact however is tailored especially to the shipbuilding industry. Furthermore, we took from CostFact’s client list, that there are both medium-sized shipyards working with CostFact as well as some of European biggest shipyards. This gives us confidence that CostFact is on the one hand suitable for SCIN with its current size as well as it provides the capabilities that will be required when SCIN is growing over the next years in the expected way. Accordingly, no system change will be required when we have to handle bigger and more complex projects.

KH: SCIN started with the utilization of CostFact end of 2016 what is not much more than three month ago. Can you share your first experience with this system anyway?
WK: One of the first impressions was the quick and smooth getting started. After a compact instruction, the significant “look and feel” character of CostFact enabled an efficient software handling. When addressing practical tasks it became obvious, that this system is distinctive shipbuilding specific and the requirements of shipyard clients as well as their practical knowledge shaped its development. Although the integration of CostFact in SCIN’s processes of estimating, planning and controlling cost is not completely finished yet, we feel confident that CostFact is the right choice for us to support our challenging goals for the future.

The Shipyard
SCIN (Société de Constructions Industrielles et Navales) is headquartered in Sfax, Tunisia, and leads the shipbuilding industry of Northern Africa. As builder of patrol boats, double-ended passenger ships, barges and fishing boats, SCIN is serving both the military and the civil sector. Besides shipbuilding, SCIN is also engaged in the metallic construction for oil and gas industry.

The Person
Wassim Koubaa is the Deputy General Manager in SCIN for shipbuilding. Graduated in mechanical naval engineering, he earned also an Executive MBA degree. During his professional career, Mr. Koubaa gained practical experience both in navigation on board crude oil and products tankers as well as experience in the oil & gas sector (on shore and offshore).