After introducing a new name and company dynamic at IMPA London last year, Seven Seas has gone from strength to strength; both internally and externally. In this interview, Group CEO Ole Gulsvik discusses what’s been happening over the last 12 months and how Seven Seas has managed the changes in its business and the supply chain.
Seven Seas has undergone major changes in the last 12 months. How has that altered the way the company works?
These have been very exciting times at Seven Seas. Externally, the rebranding has probably gotten the most attention and we are happy to see the engagement with our new brand has been fantastic, from both customers and employees. This was the first step for Seven Seas to get a recognisable offering across the world and it has also definitely resulted in a more unified feeling among our employees. However, the biggest changes are happening on the inside, out of sight, where we are working intensively to improve our offering to our clients, focusing well into the future. Among others, we are currently launching a new internal campaign that focuses on aligning all branches on what we stand for as a brand and also on ensuring the delivery of the same high ethical standards across all cultures.
Has it had a noticeable impact on the business? To what extent has it revitalised the supply chain?
We are confident that we have taken several steps in the right direction across our operational areas and markets. However, we expect much more to come in the future. Particularly, we are focusing on economies of scale, on becoming more efficient and delivering the correct value to our customers, based on their needs. We are already extremely recognised by the quality of our services, but we want to go the extra mile and ensure that the services levels are on par across all our locations. As mentioned, building the correct foundation is important for us – we are here to make a difference in the
long run. Also, the markets are undergoing big changes and we need to ensure we are quick to adapt to the markets if we want to be successful today and in the future. The supply chain is an area of particular focus in which I wish we had started earlier. We are moving in the right direction, but the complexity of being a large group sometimes hampers your flexibility and you have to move back to the drawing board again. The good thing is that we are getting there and I’m really looking forward to it. A streamlined supply chain will have very noticeable impact on our business and it will boost our growth.
Ole, you have been responsible for key growth initiatives within the business. As the newly appointed CEO, how do you plan to take the business forward?
We are very clear on where we want to be - we want to follow our clients across the world and strategically position ourselves where they want us to be. We know how much they value the presence of a global player in the industry. But, more than that, we know how much our customers value local knowledge and expertise, and we want to offer them both. Therefore we are continuously monitoring opportunities to expand - either organically, through partnerships, or acquisitions. We have a pipeline of opportunities, which we hope to announce soon. However, it needs to be the right fit and the right timing. At the moment, our focus is on the improvement projects we are currently running. So, the key here is to strike the right balance. We can’t do everything at the same time, but our ambition stands clear.
What can we expect from the company in the next 18-24 months?
We want to be the market leader and provide best-in-class services in our core business. We want to offer more efficient and competitive solutions in ship supply. We expect to improve our solutions by responding faster and being more targeted, and we want to be in a dialogue with our clients – how can we do this better together? We feel that by working together we can create even better solutions and also bring them to the market quicker. It is all about trust and working together in a partnership – without intention to take business away from our clients. That is just bad for business longer term. We will have taken a huge step in further unifying Seven Seas across the world. A client that trusts us in one port should also trust us in another port – not because of a specific person, but because we are Seven Seas. When you are able to change that attitude across the market you know you are on the right path. The truth is that we already noticed a positive difference in the past 12 months.
Finally, you return to IMPA London in 2016 as Title Sponsor. What does IMPA mean to SevenSeas?
Seven Seas has been a strong supporter of IMPA London for many years, so we were very excited to reinforce that partnership through becoming Title Sponsor of this event. IMPA has been a key factor in driving the industry forward, providing a forum for conversations and sparking relationships between buyers and suppliers in an industry that has been highly fragmented, and it is our pleasure to be able to support such initiative. We are looking forward to it starting, and I am looking forward to meeting everyone at our stand!
This Article has been published by Marine Trader magazine.