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Tag Archives: infrastructure

DON’T MAKE DO, MAKE CERTAIN!

The results of our latest Barometer Report show that many of the port owners, operators and contractors surveyed may be jeopardising operations by ‘making do’ rather than proactively upgrading facilities to maximise efficiencies and improve safety.

Although the vast majority of respondents believed that port safety would benefit from the use of new technologies (mooring line tension monitoring, environmental monitoring and speed of approach monitoring), it’s clear few are actually reaping the rewards, with over half of those surveyed admitting to only using human or manual guidance.

Automated solutions offer a chance to improve safety and boost operational efficiencies – a significant opportunity for ports to proactively upgrade infrastructure and ensure they stay ahead of the curve.

However, with so many only using human or manual guidance during berthing – rather than making use of Docking Aid Systems (DAS) or Global Positioning Systems (GPS), many may be putting their facilities at risk of becoming antiquated. This begs the question: why are so many jeopardising their operations by ‘making do’ rather than maximising efficiencies and improving safety?

The full results of Trelleborg’s latest Barometer Report, which details a wide range of findings from the industry survey, is available now as a free download from: http://www.trelleborg.com/en/Marine-Systems/Resources/Downloads-2/Barometer-Report-3-NEW/

BUY CHEAP, BUY TWICE: LOW COST SUPPLIER ISSUES EXTENDS FURTHER THAN PORT INFRASTRUCTURE

Guest contributor, Andy Hatton, owner of Global Anodes UK Ltd shares his story.


I have seen a fair bit of discussion raised by Trelleborg in the last few weeks about the issue of low cost suppliers and it’s a topic that really strikes a chord with me.  There are a lot of parallels I can draw between the issues that Trelleborg’s Barometer Report brought up and my experiences.

Years ago, when working for another company, we were frequently undercut on equipment by “low cost” replicas. However, when the equipment failed, ship owners or managers would still call us to put it right.

We would always go above and beyond to help a client, dispatching engineers for the cost of a flight and a hotel in the (naive) belief they would come to us for systems next time they were building new vessels.

In reality, they got so used to us running around doing our best to keep their substandard equipment running, that the next six ships in the series would be fitted out with the same cheap rubbish as before.

After about three years we had no choice but to start saying no, that we weren’t prepared to do this for nothing and if they wanted our engineers they’d have to start paying for the service.

Another drawback to our willingness to help was that in many cases the equipment we were called in to look at was of such poor design and quality it was not economically viable to attempt repair, if indeed it was repairable at all. It became a serious concern for some of our engineers, they started to feel we either looked incompetent or as if we were lying just to make a sale when all we could do was say; “Sorry… you need to rip out all the old system and replace it”.

Before this, we’d always maintained an excellent world wide service base out of profits from the spares and systems we sold. If a client called with a problem we could usually have an engineer on a plane and on his way to meet the ship within 12 hours (in one case in 45 minutes when I had to be in Turkey for a hand over that had to be concluded that day).

We’d started to lose the equipment business, and slashed our margins so much just to compete, that our service facility gradually disappeared; the profits were simply not there to maintain it.

Worst of all, we start getting calls saying things like: “We had your engineer on the other day and he didn’t know what he was doing.”  This often came as news to me, as I was in charge arranging all engineer attendances worldwide.

Further investigation revealed that the Chief Engineer or similar would ask purchasing to get him the “anodes guy”, and purchasing would either just book any Joe Bloggs who happened to live locally or go for the cheapest quote – usually resulting in unqualified people we had never even heard of going on board vessels with the Supers and Chiefs believing they were our engineers. Until it was too late.

As a final note, the worst case scenario I experienced. An “engineer” attended a vessel in Pusan; he turned out to be some guy from a domestic appliance repair shop (apparently a contact of a company we had traded with previously.) I had a very angry Superintendent screaming down the phone at me until I explained that his company had not even spoken to us about their problem or requested an engineer… never mind sent a purchase order for a service attendance. Apparently this so called “fake” engineer even had business cards with our company logo on them.

Global Anodes UK Ltd is an independent company that is owned and operated by engineers with a range of experience in marine, offshore and industrial applications.

Global Anodes offers trouble-shooting solutions to corrosion and bio-fouling problems.

 

CAPITALISING ON INDIA’S ENGINEERING & DESIGN EXCELLENCE

By Scott Smith, Regional Director (Asia Pacific), Trelleborg Marine Systems

Indian Centre of Excellence

Trelleborg Marine Systems' newly expanded Indian Centre of Excellence

India West – an online portal for the global Indian community – this week reported that the country’s population still dominates science and engineering with Indian-born US migrants making up the vast majority of graduates in these specialisms (43.1%).

Asia has long been held up for its engineering excellence – with China coming in a close second – so it’s no surprise that global enterprises committed to keeping at the forefront of technical excellence have invested in a strong presence in the region.

Trelleborg has benefitted from a dedicated design and engineering centre in India since 2009 – a resource that is heavily relied upon by the Marine Systems division and other product areas within the Trelleborg Engineered Systems group. Indeed, the centre has become so crucial to our competitive standing as a complete ‘cradle to grave’ supplier that we’ve recently moved to new premises to centralise and expand our unique engineering and design set-up.

While we boast some level of in-house expertise at our regional offices, the more detailed engineering design, modelling and analysis aspects are now sent to the new Indian Centre of Excellence in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, for further progression. Here the business is split into two areas.  The first is engineering and design support for Trelleborg’s worldwide offices – covering Australia, Singapore, China, Japan, India, Dubai, the USA and Europe – and the second focuses on regional sales into India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

We have very high expectations for the performance of the improved engineering and design centre as a market leading offering – not least because, while our competitors choose to outsource their engineering and manufacturing requirements and thereby relinquish some degree of control, having our capabilities centralised in this way means we can maintain watertight quality right through the supply chain. Moreover, it enables us to drive cost efficiencies, improve collaboration and encourage cross fertilisation of ideas across our global offices.

If you’re a port owner, contractor or consultant interested in seeing this unique facility for yourself we’d be happy to give you the guided tour – leave a comment and we’ll get back to you.

INCREASING BUDGETS PAVE THE WAY FOR A MORE EFFICIENT 2012

By Richard Hepworth, Managing Director, Trelleborg Marine Systems

Richard Hepworth Video - Barometer Report 2

The results of our recent Barometer report indicate an encouraging increase in the capital and operational expenditure of ports over the next 12 months. It’s believed that this will mostly go into improving efficiency and increasing the capacity of port terminals – good news for port operators, contractors, consultants and suppliers alike (not least for ourselves).

Where this investment will be allocated and how best efficiencies can be achieved is the immediate issue but looking further down the line, the industry needs to become much more focused on whole life costs rather than short term savings. Because beyond the budget sheet a far more worrying outcome is emerging as a commoditised marketplace makes way for lower cost, lesser quality suppliers.

Indeed, 2012 may be looking brighter as spend is on the ‘up’ but let’s not put a downer on the forecast by forging partnerships with lower-cost suppliers and traders that are actively misusing PIANC accreditation. Port downtime and efficiencies go hand-in-hand with product quality and if the latter suffers so does the industry as a whole.

Hear my views on what sits at the heart of the biggest issues currently facing port decision makers and join our movement for better regulation and enforcement of product standards @MarineInsights on Twitter.

TESTING TIMES: DON'T COUNT THE COST OF SUPPLIER SHORTCUTS

By Mishra Kumar, Global Technical & Market Support Manager, Trelleborg Marine Systems

Mishra Kumar Trelleborg

As with all industries, some manufacturers follow acceptable practices, others don’t, so it probably comes as little surprise that online canadian pharmacy – despite the existence of PIANC fender design guidelines – the robust testing of rubber and steel is not routinely performed by all suppliers. While the short term cost savings may seem attractive, the longer term prospects of working with lesser quality products and materials presents a more problematic picture. Controlled testing in a laboratory environment is crucial to delivering consistent quality, higher performance and reliable cost effective solutions.

Here I outline our approach to ongoing research and development and call on the industry to collaboratively take a stance against outdated fender design guidelines.

HOW CAN THE INDUSTRY COUNTERACT UNSCHEDULED DOWNTIME?

By Scott Smith, Regional Director (Asia Pacific), Trelleborg Marine Systems

Scott Smith

One of the biggest issues in the market is keeping on top of downtime and maintenance – eight out of 10 ports suffer from unscheduled disruptions with almost half of these being ‘down’ for up to 10 per cent of the time. This was brought to our attention through a recent survey we conducted alongside Lloyds’ List with almost 400 port decision makers.

It revealed that budgets continue to be under pressure and maintenance appears to be suffering because of it. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Things are looking up as new technologies are being harnessed to help overcome issues with port safety and maintenance.

You can download our survey report in full from http://www.takesthepressureoff.com/barometer2 but if you’re short on time my colleagues and I have put together a series of short videos so you can digest the key findings in more bite-size chunks. Visit the Marine Insights YouTube channel or follow this link to watch at your leisure.

LAUNCH OF 2011 BAROMETER REPORT

By Richard Hepworth, managing director of Trelleborg Marine Systems

After the success of our first Barometer Report, and the debate it sparked, I am pleased to say that the second edition of the Trelleborg Marine Systems’ Barometer Report, in association with Lloyd’s List, is now available.

This year’s report has thrown out some motivating topics for industry discussion going forward and some interesting comparisons can be drawn between the results this year and last.

The 2011 report features the same topic areas as last year, with some new ground covered.  We have included a focus on industry guidelines, the role of PIANC, compliance and materials testing this year, and the results make for some interesting reading.  We have concentrated on product design, production and installation standards, whilst examining the levels of aftercare offered by manufacturers and trading companies.

Some good news from this year’s report: compared to last year, twice as many respondents are anticipating an increase in capital expenditure (up 25% on 2010).  This trend will stimulate a supply chain that is already thriving and on the whole, will benefit the market.

We need to work to convince specifiers that their increased purchasing power should be used to buy into quality products.  It is understandable that customers are looking for low cost procurement, however, we want to raise awareness of the need to consider wholelife costs when buying new products.

Although upfront costs might be lower, the products offered by low cost, non-manufacturing suppliers will not be tailored to the needs of the port, may not meet PIANC standards, and, due to the lack of technical and manufacturing capability, will not offer a high standard of maintenance and aftercare – all these factors combine to raise the cost of the product over its lifetime, and ultimately, cost the port facility more.

We still have work to do, but are confident that by working with PIANC and wider industry, we can ensure that the quality of manufacturers’ products will prevail in the market, making ports and harbours safer and ultimately, reducing the cost to the customers we supply.

Topic discussions:

What are your views on the growth of non-manufacturing companies supplying berthing and docking products?

Should PIANC take a stronger stance on the enforcement of their guidelines?

What would you like to see done to improve industry standards whilst PIANC’s 2002 guidelines are updated?