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SpecTec Cruise

  • Headquarters: Manchester, UK
  • Acquisition Date: January 2018
  • Vertical Market: Marine
  • Website:

Staying Afloat with SpecTec Cruise

Roddy MacLennan, SpecTec Cruise CEO

The SpecTec Group was acquired by Volaris in 2012.  The group develops, sells, and supports asset management software purely for the maritime industry. Roddy MacLennan, SpecTec Cruise’s CEO, joined the SpecTec Group in 2016 to lead global sales and marketing operations.  At that time, MacLennan said, “the maritime market was in a pretty sorry state, very flat.”

But he noticed that data showed the cruise sector was experiencing a boom, so MacLennan pitched the idea of creating a separate business focused on serving the cruise sector. His strategy fitted perfectly into Volaris Group’s strategy of making business splits when a company’s customers have different priorities and occupy different market segments. In 2017, MacLennan led the spinout in co-ordination with then SpecTec CEO Chris Wildsmith and Volaris portfolio leaders. In 2018, SpecTec Cruise formally launched with its own dedicated resources and organizational structure.

Volaris has been very supportive of us pursuing market opportunities that deliver growth and exploit our deep sector knowledge and experience, rather than watering ourselves down thinly across many different maritime domains. That ethos has played really well for the team here at SpecTec Cruise.

- Roddy MacLennan, CEO SpecTec Cruise

SpecTec Cruise is now the largest provider of asset management software solutions for maintenance, procurement, and supply chain logistics for the ocean-going cruise industry. Their products are used in over 65% of ocean-going cruise vessels with the top three cruise operators Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian Cruise Lines as customers.

Post-acquisition success 

SpecTec Cruise hit the ground running after its spin-out, starting up a set of new initiatives. Using the Volaris method for segmenting out new initiatives as P&L lines separate from the core business allowed the company to analyze the success of their experiments as they went. Being given the support to run bold initiatives while building a new business unit from the ground up is something MacLennan said could only happen at Volaris.

The Volaris model helped facilitate that as a business proposition. If I was considering doing that in my previous organization, it would have been a harder proposition to sell internally, because it wasn't written into the DNA of the organization to do it that way.

- Roddy MacLennan, CEO SpecTec Cruise

As a separate business unit within Volaris, SpecTec Cruise experienced double-digit growth in its first two years and was on track for 2020 to become the company’s best year yet. Then the pandemic hit, leaving them to recognize a fraction of what they planned in 2020. 

In 2021, the business had forecast its revenue to retract by almost a third over the previous year, but cooperation with hard-hit customers allowed the company to recover most of their negative growth and end up flat year-over-year. By the end of 2022, SpecTec Cruise was back to double-digit growth, and they’re forecast to keep improving in 2023.

Staying afloat during the pandemic

The cruise industry was one of the most badly impacted industries through the pandemic. With international travel banned and lockdowns enforced around the globe the world’s ocean cruise ships were missing their heartbeat (and revenue source) … passengers. When a ship is not cruising it will enter a state known as warm layup. In this state machinery must continue running, required planned maintenance still conducted to remain compliant. With fewer hands and no reduction in workload, the efficiencies to be gained through using AMOS asset management system onboard become even more vital for the crew. 

Functionalities within SpecTec Cruises AMOS system manages the on-going monitoring and management of a ship’s complex technical systems and critical machinery positioning the company to remain an essential service for customers even while their ships are sidelined. But with no revenue generation and continued operational expenditure it’s not easy to collect payment for even an essential software solution.

Maintaining profitability at a time when all of the company’s customers were unable to make money involved painful decisions, including going down to a skeleton staff where people were performing dual roles. The company is now reinvesting into hiring, including bringing back on most of the employees furloughed during the pandemic. MacLennan said the Volaris focus on the long-term success of the business made for a supportive environment to weather one of the worst storms to ever hit the marine industry.

It was always supportive, and it was OK to give them our ideas of what we were going to do. Everyone was very respectful and appreciative of the situation given essentially the cruise market had stopped.

- Roddy MacLennan, CEO SpecTec Cruise

The Future for SpecTec Cruise

Coming out of a once-in-a-lifetime upending of an industry that reliably brings in millions (if not billions) each year, SpecTec Cruise is considering various options to further grow their business, adding functionality like quality management, hotel defects management and mobile approval systems to their core product lines. 

The company is also examining opportunities for SpecTec Cruise to acquire companies in their direct space and complimentary solutions that fuel growth and add value to our current and future client base.

Our goal is to increase our market share from some of the larger players in the market, and it’s great to be a part of Volaris to help us with that objective. We are in a very fortunate position in that our technology and the software they use is for compliance…if you don't have a system, you cannot run the ship.

- Roddy MacLennan, CEO SpecTec Cruise