Paper products in the digital age: Elcome automates production of paper charts

The company has upgraded its chart supply business to a print-on-demand model that provides faster response times for customer requests and eliminates the need for manual corrections.


DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – (Marine NewsWire) Elcome has completed a major investment in modernizing its paper nautical chart distribution processes to meet emerging market conditions while improving quality and customer service.

Based in Dubai, Elcome has been a United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO)  ADMIRALTY agent since 1980 and is South East Asia’s largest supplier of nautical charts and publications. The company has upgraded its chart supply business to a print-on-demand model that provides faster response times for customer requests and eliminates the need for manual corrections.

Konstiantyn Matvieiev, senior manager of charts and publications for Elcome, explained: “Traditionally, chart agents would maintain an inventory of thousands of nautical charts, which would have to be corrected manually with pen-and-ink updates. This is inefficient, wasteful and time consuming, resulting in high overhead costs to the supplier and potential delays to a purchaser needing an out-of-stock chart. As new editions are published, the old charts in inventory must be tossed out and replaced with the new ones. Some paper charts may remain on the shelves for long periods of time, resulting in a large number of corrections to be made before delivery to the customer.”

Elcome’s digital printers produce charts directly from the UKHO ADMIRALTY cartographic database, providing immediate access to the full worldwide portfolio of charts on request. The full-scale printed charts meet the highest cartographic quality standards and are fully up-to-date when printed.

“Our facility in Dubai was one of the first sites when UKHO rolled out its print-on-demand program in 2013,” Matvieiev said. “We initially started with one chart printer, and we have since added a second one in Dubai and one in our Sri Lanka office. Now, 95 percent of all charts we sell are printed in-house. This has allowed us to reduce the number of paper charts in stock from 6,000 to about 300 fast-moving local charts. We have also reduced the number of manual chart corrections per week from 600 to less than 50, enabling us to reassign two of the three chart correctors to different roles within the company.”

Elcome is also gearing up to convert existing and new customers to digital publications instead of printed ones, allowing a further reduction in inventory of paper stocks, Matvieiev added.

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About Elcome International LLC

Founded in 1969, Elcome International LLC is a diversified turnkey solutions provider of marine electronics, electrical and safety systems for the world maritime industry. With its modern 100,000 sq. ft. headquarters in Dubai, Elcome has sales and support offices in United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Malaysia, as well as a subsidiary and associated companies in India. The Elcome Group (including associated companies) has over 500 employees, including over 200 factory-trained engineers and technicians. The company is certified to ISO 9001:2008, ISO 14001:2004 and OHSAS 18001:2007 by DNV. Elcome is the authorized sales and service representative for many of the world’s major manufacturers of marine products and systems, and manufactures its own line of type-approved marine electrical switchboards under the ELSYS brand name. The company provides 24/7 shipboard installation, support, and flyaway service for navigation, communication, automation, and safety systems for over 800 vessels per month with a first-time fix-rate of 96 percent. Additionally, Elcome is South East Asia’s largest supplier of nautical charts and publications, both print and digital, and operates an FTA-approved training center and bridge simulator in Dubai for dynamic positioning and ECDIS courses.

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