Chamber Matters: Transforming adversity into success
Published 25 Oct 2013Bill Baxter, Chamber board member and site manager of Kongsberg Maritime Ltd in Wick, argues that quality of staff, products and support can turn adversity into success.
The biggest asset any company can have is a skilled workforce, and that’s something that has been key to the growth in stature and maturity of Kongsberg Maritime in Wick. The local workforce is absolutely superb – from administration and support to the design and manufacturing teams – enabling us to fulfil prestigious customer orders from all over the world. We have a core of experienced staff who have been with the company for 20 years or more, but we still regularly employ apprentices, trainees and other skilled personnel from the local community.
Along with a quality staff, it’s hugely important to have a quality product and a quality support service. While having a competitive pricing structure is a vital element of success, I believe that long-term product performance, dependability and total through-life cost of ownership are much more important factors than initial product price, especially when concentrating on high “value-added” sectors. This approach also brings a high level of customer expectation, which drives product teams to excel.
Of course, however well you build your product, there will occasionally be failures. While we rigorously test all of our product designs to the limits of performance, they are used in the field in intensely challenging situations – be that 6km underwater mounted on a remotely operated vehicle, under the casing of a nuclear submarine or in the drillers shack of an offshore oil rig.
The key to dealing with product failures – which may interrupt very expensive or delicate customer operations – is to react immediately to support the customer and get them back to work as soon as possible. By ensuring strong customer communication at all levels, from engineering to management, you can turn a difficult situation into one that the customer will remember as a positive experience. Nobody wants to suffer a product failure, but by providing a high-quality, professional support network for customer, you can reap the benefits of strong customer relationships for years to come.
While Kongsberg works predominantly in design and manufacturing, this applies to any company that wants to stay at the top of its game. Human error is a foregone conclusion, but if you manage your customer’s situation correctly you can turn adversity into a success story.
About Kongsberg Maritime Ltd
Kongsberg Maritime Ltd is based in Wick and specialises in the design and manufacture of high quality imaging products for use in extremely harsh environments. Their success over the last 30 years has been based on producing innovative and dependable cameras, but they also produce ruggedized camera control units, lighting and deployment systems for varied markets around the world.