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Meyer Turku 

Aker Finnyards navigates fast-tracked cruise ship construction for on-time delivery across the business with Safran

Many of the world’s finest and most complex luxury cruise ships originate from Aker Finnyards’ shipyards, located in Helsinki, Rauma and Turku. As such, Aker Finnyards is building two “Freedom Class” cruise ships – the world’s largest – for Royal Caribbean International. For planning manager Pertti Rinta-Panttila, these projects would have been almost impossible to manage without the project management software from Safran. He explains, “a system like Safran is a must for us. Without it there will be no ships – not on time at least.”

Aker’s Helsinki and Turku shipyards have been using project management software from Safran to schedule their operations and manage the resources for their construction projects for the past two years. So far, Safran software has been utilized to manage the successful construction of four cruise ships. Project management, resource management and sales project simulations for all three yards are now being consolidated in Safran.

Long-term projects

The cruise ships currently under construction in Turku are some of the world’s most spectacular and most innovative ever. The new Freedom class vessels will be 126 feet by 1,112 feet (38.6 meters by 339 meters), and will stand 18 decks high. Their gross tonnage is 158,000.

“Building ships in this class are long-term projects that take several years from design to finish. The construction and assembly phase in the shipyard is 1-2 years long depending on the size of the ship. Both planning and construction include numerous phases and the project involves thousands of people, including the external suppliers and subcontractors,” says Rinta-Panttila.

Tight schedule

Precise design planning and innovative development are crucial to reach the design and construction solutions requested by customers, as each is planned on a fast-tracked schedule.

“Typically, clients present the requirements, challenging our design department’s ability to identify and solve the client’s problems. Client involvement and joint work on building specifications, along with concurrent engineering to optimise designs, lead to solutions that are well-tailored to customers’ needs. Unconventional and innovative thinking and a wealth of experience along with tight focus on modern project planning and control ensure completion on schedule,” Rinta-Panttila explains.

Modern project management processes crucial to success

Aker Finnyards defines project management as a key area of expertise required for continued and future success. “Project management plays a decisive role in ship building with its long yet tightly phased projects, large amounts of work and great number of people – both company personnel and partners,’ according to Rinta-Panttila. Project management software from Safran is being used to plan and manage projects, resources and production for both own and subcontractor work. According to Rinta- Panttila, Safran’s flexibility and capacity were important factors in the purchase decision.

Approximately 4,000 people work for the yards and about the same number are employed by subcontractors and still more for suppliers of material and components. Together, they are all working towards a common goal – completing the ship within budget and on schedule. To stay on target, 150-200 provide updates in Safran to keep statusing, forecasting and resource management current.

“When carrying out a large project, resource management is the key to everything. We have to find the best possible way to utilize available resources. Everything has to be well-planned and when things get rolling, everything has to be kept tightly under control. We aim high at our project management activities, and a system like Safran is a must for us. Without it there will be no ships – not in time at least,” says Rinta-Panttila.

Essential information easily consumed

Both the project schedule and the resource plan are presented by graphically in Safran. Good graphical reports and views are very important because they provide essential information in a concise and easy to read manner. The Gantt view contains a resource histogram and we can move tasks around on the screen to assess different alternatives or to solve any resource conflict or snag. Safran allows us to make more efficient and effective use our resources,” explains Tommila.

According to Rinta-Panttila and Tommila, one of the great attractions of Safran is the ability to arrange and group the tasks as a multilevel outline – by means of a product break down structure, by sector, area, team or job location. “Combined with the possibility to group and filter tasks and resources according to user defined codes it allows us to view plan and resource information from numerous perspectives. With other systems you too often find yourself stuck with a single fixed hierarchy. Should a problem arise, we are immediately able to focus on any area of concern,” says Tommila.

Keeping fingers at the pulse of progress

One of the features in Safran that both Rinta-Panttila and Tommila praise is the so-called live plan. It is a feature designed for the work management, which is used to update operative scheduling and resource management. These plans can now be compared with the original budget created by production planning and with the project target baseline. “With proper understanding this live feature gives new possibilities for daily management. The target schedule remains fixed and along with it, plans for catching up and work in the pipeline can be shown. It’s a matter of seeing things in a ‘this is how it was supposed to go, and this is how it seems to be going’ perspective,” Rinta-Panttila describes.

Rinta-Panttila is delighted with the control now afforded through Safran. “The live plan feature gives us a clear understanding of the project development and how slippage and changes affect the schedule. It also gives everyone involved a clear picture of where they are. Being able to compare the current state of a project to a target baseline enables the planner to gain control of the information, make any corrections necessary and improve decision making.”

Way of use formed between users

The project management software does not act in isolation. At Aker Finnyards Safran has been set up to interface with systems for job orders, document control and time registration. According to Tommila, implementing Safran has been a work intensive project run in parallel with management of all shipbuilding projects. The greatest challenge for the project team has been to find a common, practical terminology.

“We are continuously dedicated to exploring how our Safran software can be used to our greatest advantage”, says Tommila. “Safran offers an enormous variety of fields, plans and other data elements. It is important to us that we define a common way of use that can be shared for all three yards. Building on the experience gained from using Safran for the past two years, we are now able to focus on best practices throughout the organization. We’ve specifically defined how we can harmonize the use of the software.”



  • Aker Finnyards, international shipbuilding group
  • One of five largest shipbuilders focused on technically complex vessels for global cruise operators
  • 25% of the world’s cruise ships have been produced by Aker Finnyards in the last 10 years


  • Standardize processes on cruise ship projects by carrying forward Safran best practices from 4 previous successful shipbuilding projects
  • Speed coordination with project clients for faster project delivery

Safran Benefits:

  • Project management, resource management and sales project simulations consolidated in Safran
  • Alignment of Safran planning technology and the most modern planning and control practices
  • Delivers simple statusing and modeling options for absorbing schedule slippage
  • Interfaces with systems for job orders, document control and time registration
  • Allows firm to standardize most effective project processes across projects

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