How We Accidentally Ended Up Being Different

by | Apr 2, 2024 | Blog | 0 comments

Whenever we earn a new customer, I ask them why they chose us. Again and again, the same reason comes up, and it isn’t the reason I first expected. I thought they’d choose us because of our feature set. As it turns out, we’re better than the competition because we’re more flexible.

Most of our customers have had experience with competing products, and they tell us those vendors could never really fit the product to their operational reality. Almost every company has differences in how it manages its fleet, how it hires and pays its seafarers, or myriad other things. We’re able to adapt to that; others expect you to adapt to their software.

There are three reasons why this accidentally became our market position.

FIRST: Our early core market, Canada, had extremely complicated operational realities. To name but a few: Seafarers are often paid per hour, according to complex collective bargaining agreements with bonus structures. They have non-STCW certification in parallel with STCW. Seafarers could often be signed onto two ships in one day, with consequences on payroll. Ships might sail under two or three very different Safe Manning certificates in a given year, etc etc. We got our start specifically because Canadian companies couldn’t find software flexible enough to accommodate these realities, so our software is designed from the ground up with this kind of complexity in mind.

SECOND: We made early technical choices that still enable us, to this day, to build (and maintain!) customizations to our software without the risk of creating bugs elsewhere in the product. This allows us to confidently approach projects involving substantial customization, without undue costs, and without weakening our capacity to keep improving our generic core product. From the outside, this might seem like a small point, but I know for a fact that many competitors are terrified of making product changes, and suffer from paralyzing development cycles.

THIRD: We have always striven for maximum customer happiness, not just minimal to prevent them from going elsewhere. This has lead to a consultative approach to implementations and digital transformation, where we do everything we can to bring the customer’s crewing processes into our software. We don’t want to solve 80% of your problems and tell you to keep 20% of them in Excel.

This is why, in over ten years, we have yet to lose a single customer.

If this speaks to you, do get in touch with me for an informal chat. And hey, if your processes are standard and all you need is crew management software without any customizations, our generic product is very good too!

I hope to talk to you soon.

Maxime Camirand
CEO, MarControl