R.O.B. Stock (Remaining on Board)

“R.O.B.” is an abbreviation for the term “Remaining On Board”, which refers to the quantity of provisions left in your store rooms at the end of each month, or the end of a voyage, although most vessels and shipping companies will use the calendar month as the cut off point for an R.O.B.

In plain English an R.O.B. is an end of month stock-take.

Over the years I have seen huge variations on how much attention is paid to the subject of R.O.B’s. ranging from no sock take at all, on smaller ships to a Stock Controller sitting putting figures into a computer for 12 hours a day on a cruise liner, and there are good and obvious reasons why there can be different approaches to the subject of stock taking.

It’s about scale, if your buying food for 15 crew members it is pretty easy to track expenditure, but if you’re buying food for 2000 passengers and 1000 crew, it’s whole different ball game, the quantities and the fiscal value of food is astronomical.

One of the most important things I would impress upon other catering managers, campbosses and ships cooks is the importance of trying to take an accurate stock take, if you’re going to do it, do it right. It is inadvisable and could even be considered fraudulent if you enter into some form of creative accounting in order to massage the figures, after all, a ships cooks should not “Cook the Books”.

And the truth is there is never any need to do so, as in reality the cost of food and provisions is what it is, the ships cook has almost no control over what price he pays for the commodities he orders, all he can do is select less expensive items and avoid waste as much as possible. Waste the biggest enemy in any type of food operation.

So What is the point of the R.O.B.?

Ships calculate food costs in a different way to other catering operation’s, as ships cooks we are give a Feeding Rate, this is the amount of money we are able to spend on each man to provide food for each day , as an example lets say the feeding rate per man per day is $15

If we have 10 crew that would mean we have $150 per day to spend on food, if we times this by 30 days we would have $4500 a month to spend on food. However the value of the stock onboard varies and is always in excess of the minimum value of stock required as a ships  has to ensure there is sufficient food on-board not just for the intended voyage, but also extra in case the voyage takes longer. So the value of the stock “Remaining On Board” could be several thousand dollars.

Here is the very basic calculation;-

  • Value Opening Stock
  • Value of Provisions Purchased
  • The Value of the R.O.B. (The stock take)
  • The Number of Crew on-board
  • The number of days in the month

So lets look at what the calculation might look like in practice.

ROB Calculation

This example above was taken from an R.O.B. spreadsheet on a Dive Support Vessel operating in Italy in 2017 with approximately 100 crew on-board, that is the P.O.B, (Persons on Board) as you can see the provisions were purchased in Euro’s and we can see that the Euro value was converted to Dollars and Pounds Stirling.

So what we can see from this calculation that the feeding rate per man per day was $16.71 This calculation is only possible if an R.O.B. is carried out.