As the offshore sector expands internationally and new areas of operation come on stream in hard- to-reach parts of the world, the task of obtaining quality produce and spare parts has become ever more challenging.
Distance, time zones, local customs and bureaucracy, and the lack of availability of familiar products can cause a headache for purchasing managers attempting to keep their crew and vessels well supplied with the food and goods they need.
That’s where an experienced ship supplier able to manage local purchasing and provide effective logistical support comes to the fore, according to Alex Taylor, Managing Director of leading UK and international ship supplier Hutton’s Group.
Discussing the unique challenges of Remote Area Supply Chains during the OSV Singapore Summit (November 19th and 20th), Mr Taylor said: “However much experience you have with traditional supply chains in developed markets, the fact is that remote areas require a different approach to overcome their particular problems.”
Challenges in remote maritime sectors can include confusing communication, problems with quality conformance, bewildering bureaucracy, poor pricing, frustrating logistics and the struggle to identify acceptable local suppliers.
Outlining some of the problems that sometimes occur in West Africa, Mr Taylor advised delegates that he had heard of sudden price increases after orders had been placed, bribes or false invoicing and even had reports of bush meat (elephant) being supplied as an alternative to beef.
Hutton’s Group has considerable experience in supplying the offshore sector in West Africa and has an established supply network with competent personnel who understand the needs and expectations of Western-headquartered companies.
“We know how to source products locally which meet European quality standards and we are able to respond quickly and efficiently through our local networks to meet just-in-time expectations,” Mr Taylor explained.
Hutton’s has helped OSV companies to streamline their purchasing in West Africa through its large, reliable and cost-effective supply network which is able to provide industry-standard paperwork, accounting and credit terms in this challenging region. Mr Taylor highlighted the cost savings the company had achieved for several of its customers and pointed out the benefits of improved quality produce to crew morale.
And he stressed the need to establish long-term partnerships, particular in these fast-growing sectors. “A long term partner will always try to make the impossible – possible,” he said.