What was your first thought when you got contacted by EMS Seven Seas– and when was that?
I was approached in August, which was only a short time after I set up Wave Shipping. I was immediately interested as it was such an interesting opportunity, but the problem was that I wasn’t looking for a job; I was looking for an investor. I was persuaded to attend an introductory meeting and there I realized the obvious synergies between the port agency services offered by Wave and the ship supply solutions of EMS Seven Seas. I also witnessed the 100% commitment to ensure EMS Seven Seas makes a really serious mark in the ship supply industry by leveraging the financial backing and organizational resources of Supreme Group. After a series of meetings, Supreme Group made an offer to acquire Wave Shipping and invited me to join the team as the new CEO of EMS Seven Seas.
Why is this an interesting opportunity for you?
This is a rare opportunity to make an impact in an industry that is so ripe for significant change. By investing in the areas of leadership, people and resources, great improvements can be made that will be noticed by our clients. I look forward to applying everything I have learnt over the years in the areas of leadership, management and market change to achieve our goals.
What do you expect to gain from it?
The satisfaction of helping a team of people to excel and build something unique and beneficial to stakeholders; and motivating my team to be equally happy about being part of that journey.
I know it will take hard work and perseverance, but I would like to create a better company by improving the services that we offer to benefit our clients. Our future market position will depend on how well we do it, but our ambition is to be the best.
How much do you know about the company?
EMS Seven Seas is one of the world’s top ship supply companies so obviously I was very familiar with the brand, and I had followed the EMS story for many years. It really is a great company with huge potential, and it didn’t take me long to decide that I wanted to join this team.
What are your ambitions for EMS Seven Seas – and how will you get there?
Our ambition is to be the preferred supplier in the industry. We plan to do this by developing and delivering a new market standard when it comes to customer service, compliance and convenience for clients.
We are planning to introduce customer service values that transcend everything we do, combined with a broader suite of products and services in all locations. In terms of compliance, this is on top of our agenda across the group, which include mandatory training programs and very strict policies. With reference to convenience, we plan to expand our geographical footprint, particularly in Asia, Africa and the Americas and we are totally committed to helping our clients resolve their business pains and needs by making their life easier.
Where do you see the biggest challenges going forward?
This is a major change project, so we are investing a lot of resources into managing the internal culture shift that needs to happen. I am encouraging the team to buy into the new and improved way of doing things. We are currently working with the leadership to improve operations at all levels of the organization, and that will remain a core focus area to the benefit of our clients.
I have already travelled extensively around the global office locations and have met the team of people who are all keen to work on this project. They are looking for direction and plans, and I am committed to providing that while supporting everyone to achieve their goals. I also met clients who want to do more business with us and have encouraged us to expand our service offering.
There are also practical challenges; extensive time and resources are required to grow the business, and set up new ventures. I also want to make sure that I spend enough time with our clients to understand how we can provide more support to them.
But these can be overcome by a combination of leadership, courage and commitment.
How will you handle it if any employees fear that the values of the company are changing for the worse?
It is normal for the employees of any company that gets acquired to have uncertainty and doubts that need to be addressed. I have been given autonomy to set the values that we, as EMS Seven Seas, want to deliver to employees and clients. These are appropriate for the industry and I have received strong buy in from everyone when talking about the future of the company. One of the values is encouraging open dialogue and feedback, so when there are concerns, these should be tabled and discussed openly without fear of negative consequences. I have therefore encouraged open discussions with the team from the beginning, and we use communication platforms like video messages and face to face meetings to ensure open, honest and fair discussions. This is a healthy form of discussion and it’s helping to reassure the employees about their role and importance in the company.
How will you make sure that everyone feels alright in the integration process?
By ensuring open and regular two way communication with the team; continuing to travel to meet the team; promote open door policies; and continuous reassurance of our goals, ambitions and intentions.
EMS Seven Seas is a global maritime services group serving merchant marine, offshore and defense customers. The company supplies general ship supplies, provisions, stores, spare parts and leading technical maritime brands through its extensive network of some 600 ports.
Founded in 1971, EMS Seven Seas primarily operates in Norway, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Germany, the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Djibouti, and Singapore. Its clients include leading ship managers and owners, professional catering businesses, military operations and offshore platforms.
More information about EMS Seven Seas is available at: www.ems-sevenseas.com