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Marine Drone Manufacturer Navigates Business Complexities with MRP Software
Case Studies
5 min read

Marine Drone Manufacturer Navigates Business Complexities with MRP Software

Norwegian sea-drone systems developer and manufacturer Maritime Robotics got its procurement and inventory under control with the help of MRP software. “The software gives us a clear overview of our operation,” says Tor Erik Naebb, Head of Assembly and Integration. “We can find the necessary piece of information in seconds now.”


A hi-tech company with a decades-long history

Maritime Robotics is an autonomous marine systems developer and manufacturer from Trondheim, Norway. They specialize in maritime autonomy for surface vessels, creating innovative solutions for a wide range of maritime applications, including marine mapping and surveying, oceanographic data collection, transportation, and maritime surveillance and inspection. Maritime Robotics’ core technology, the Autonomous Navigation System, enables autonomous navigation in two forms: as an independent modular system for third-party vessels, and as an integrated component of their own Uncrewed Surface Vessels (USVs).

The company was founded in 2005 when a cybernetics and automation technologies student started looking into unmanned drone technology. Over time, the focus shifted to research about maritime vehicles and today, they are a 60-person team that in 2023 brought in 10 million with their marine drone technology.

Needing more control led to MRP software

The first 10-15 years of the company were spent on R&D and prototyping, with the team using Excel and other manual methods for purchasing and bill of materials creation. Although they were dealing with some inventory, there were no real inventory management processes involved.

During the period 2015-2020, the market had matured enough, and the team brought their first commercial product to market, which required a significant increase in their capacity. That led to Maritime Robotics also needing more control over their procurement, inventory, and shipping processes.

While some employees were already familiar with MRP systems, they hadn’t really seen any that were actually user-friendly. Until they found MRPeasy.

Tor Erik Naebb, the Head of Assembly and Integration at Maritime Robotics recalls that what really appealed to them were MRPeasy’s simple interface and the free library of tutorial videos that show how the software works.

“It was great that we could actually look into the system before we started using it,” he says.

In addition, the team’s previous experience with larger ERP systems such as SAP served as a stark contrast to the usability of MRPeasy.

“It’s not easy to come by an MRP system that is actually user-friendly,” Naebb says. “I used to work in sales, and I always said that a happy customer is the best salesman. In fact, we have already recommended MRPeasy to a number of other companies looking for such systems.”

People quickly start to like the new system

Implementation started in parallel with the production of their first commercial product, a small autonomous vessel that is manufactured in a volume of 30-40 units per year.

“It started nice and slow, with just one person using the software,” he says. “Then I became the second user and today, we have over 30 people using the system.”

In general, employee feedback on the new software has been very positive. While these kinds of systems always come with a learning curve, the gradual implementation Maritime Robotics opted for proved to be the correct step.

“When people put a little bit of time and effort into learning the system, most of them start to like it,” Naebb says.

Going from zero inventory control to 80%

Speaking from his personal experience, Naebb finds the procurement module of MRPeasy excellent. The purchasing process is much more controllable now and it is much easier to collaborate on projects. The purchase order tracking function enables the team to keep an eye on what is incoming and whether there are any delays they need to account for.

“It makes purchasing a lot easier,” Naebb says, “I really appreciate this.”

In addition to the procurement module, Naebb highlights the inventory management functionality and the cost of goods sold (COGS) analysis capability of MRPeasy. 

“We went from having zero inventory control to having everything 80% under control,” he says. “And the missing 20% is only due to us not having the focus and time to fully utilize the software – but we’re getting there!”

He also lauds the software’s help center that includes instructional videos, a user manual, an AI chatbot, and a quick help panel with a search bar.

“I was positively surprised by the AI chatbot, Mr. Peasy,” he says. “They say chatbots usually have no clue what they’re saying but Mr. Peasy actually does.”

The clarity is appreciated by employees and customers

After the implementation, the company has received positive feedback from customers, as well. Namely, the customs invoices and shipping documents are now standardized and clear, which the international customers of Maritime Robotics appreciate. Being able to track customer order progress and the progress of specific ordered goods is also a significant leap forward.

“The software gives us a clear overview of our operation,” Naebb explains. “We can find the necessary piece of information in seconds now.”

As a recommendation to other growing manufacturing companies looking for operations management software, Naebb suggests learning the basics of MRP before starting the implementation process.

“Making yourself, the employees, and stakeholders aware of the process and its benefits is essential for a successful implementation,” he maintains.

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Madis Kuuse

Madis is an experienced content writer and translator with a deep interest in manufacturing and inventory management. Combining scientific literature with his easily digestible writing style, he shares his industry-findings by creating educational articles for manufacturing novices and experts alike. Collaborating with manufacturers to write process improvement case studies, Madis keeps himself up to date with all the latest developments and challenges that the industry faces in their everyday operations.

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