Outsourcing ship supply for a happier, more productive crew

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14 Nov 2011

Robert_Steen_Kledal_smallAs fuel and raw material prices continue to rise and shipping prepares for another challenging year ahead, the need for shipowners to deliver optimum efficiency within their operations is greater than ever. Shipowners are increasingly evaluating

all aspects of their supply chain amidst falling profits.  Naturally, reducing costs whilst maintaining quality standards of customer service is a challenge. With so many factors at play, the effective management of non-core areas, such as ship supplies, can be overlooked.
Representing between 3% to 5% of a vessel’s operating costs and a €3.5 bn industry, the supply chain for supplies, which covers everything from mop heads and washing-up liquid to all food and consumables, is highly complex and requires a great deal of internal resource and infrastructure, particularly for global shipping companies that have vessels all over the world.
Outsourcing the procurement and delivery of supplies to an expert takes this headache away, and also improves the consistency and quality of products and services to both the ship owner/operator and the crews of the vessels that they run, who are crucial to delivering customer promises.
A healthy and happy crew is central to the smooth running of a vessel; their wellbeing is vital, and for many seafarers, who are away from their families for lengthy periods and facing serious threats of piracy, mealtimes are an incredibly important part of their day. Catering for a crew’s nutritional needs is therefore a priority.  However, balancing quality food that complies with religious dietary requirements, allergies or healthy eating standards with the pressure to cut costs is difficult for many ship operators. Food prices are soaring and it is a challenge to keep a realistic budget that also maintains crew welfare.
In response, ship supply is becoming more sophisticated. Technology has created real transparency, providing critical intelligence to shipping companies on their procurement habits; what they are purchasing and the total cost.  It also allows for supplies to be tailored to individual vessels, depending on the crew and for specific voyage requirements, enabling ship operators to meet crew nutrition standards.
To meet demand for these new methods of working, the ship supply industry has changed dramatically over the past few years, facing significant consolidation as smaller companies struggled to compete with large, multi-national operators. The big players, who can provide customers with an end-to-end, global supply and logistics solution, and have the purchasing strength to consistently source the highest quality products at standardised prices have created an environment where an outsourcing model can flourish.
Given these developments in ship supply, there is a real opportunity for shipowners to gain a competitive advantage by reviewing their procurement processes and embracing outsourcing as a means of positive progression. This change is fuelled further by the recognition that efficiencies can be generated at a reduced cost, as well as providing improved wellbeing and motivation to crews – crucial to ensuring ship owners weather the economic storm.
Wrist Ship Supply is one of the world’s top three global providers of ship supply services with a market share of more than 4%. The company uses its global network, scale, advanced technology and purchasing strength to provide its customers with all types of ship chandlery products and services wherever and whenever they need them, creating transparency and efficiencies within the procurement process, as well as improving profitability. Wrist Ship Supply has a presence in Denmark, The Netherlands, Norway, Greece, Germany, France, Spain, Dubai, Singapore, The UK, The US and Canada.  Wrist Ship Supply is owned by the Wrist Group.
Source: Robert Steen Kledal, managing director, Wrist Ship Supply, written exclusively for Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

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