Seven Seas’ Andreas Kowalski talks to Marine Trader about how the organisation is meeting the ever-changing demands of the industry.
Seven Seas and IMPA have a special relationship. The company has been the title sponsor of IMPA London for the previous three years, and will once again return as title sponsor in 2018.
The company has undergone major redevelopment in the last two years, restructuring and taking a proactive role in improving standards in the maritime supply chain.
Among those driving that change is Andreas Kowalski, the latest member of Seven Seas’ Executive Board. Andreas joins to head up Commercial & Operations for the company, having spent a number of years in the aviation industry.
We caught up with Andreas to see what we could expect from Seven Seas in the coming years.
MT: Seven Seas has undergone major changes in the last two years. How has that affected the way the company works?
AK: The ship chandlers’ industry is one of the oldest industries in the world, which in turn also makes it very conservative and traditional. We knew there was an opportunity to bring change to the industry and to offer our clients even more than what they were used to. The world is changing at a faster pace and even the maritime industry is changing at a faster pace than we have witnessed before, so we want to make sure that we are ahead of the market and the industry. We started to put in place the foundations for such a transformation on a global and local level. The markets are changing and we need to ensure we keep playing an active role. We have been working very hard to ensure standardisation across all our branches and our network – we want to be become the best in our industry!
MT: Has it had a noticeable impact on the business? And to what extent has it revitalised the supply chain?
AK: Absolutely. We have streamlined and harmonised many processes and incorporated technology at a higher pace than ever before in our company. Our supply chain is definitely much more in touch with the reality of the industry. But we know there is still much more opportunity for change out there and that we still have a long way to go! But seeing our customer base grow every month, and getting such positive feedback from our customers, shows us that we are on the right track. We are now much faster at adapting to market changes and we will continue to closely monitor the business behaviours and business models within the market. Customers and long-term partners and suppliers will change or adopt new operating models and requirements or sourcing and partnering strategies. We have been doing a lot of homework on this front and you will soon hear from us with news!
MT: Andreas, as a new executive board member, how do you plan to take the business forward?
AK: My first assignment is to ensure that I fully understand the industry and our customers, so it was great for me that IMPA was taking place just as I started this role. It was the perfect place to meet and greet our customers and partners and to understand the market better and in more detail. On another note, I also intend to spend a lot of my time in our branches, getting to know our staff – we have highly experienced individuals working with us, that know the industry inside out, and I want to make sure they are at the forefront of all that we do. Coming out of the highly standardised and global aviation industry, that had its transformation period 10 years ago, my focus will be to drive Seven Seas through its transformation period, as I can see the same signs happening in the maritime industry now. My key strategies involve focusing on standardisation, digitalisation, and the development of new business models with our existing and potential customers, suppliers, partners, and employees. Supported by our profound legacy and employees’ experience and know how I feel really comfortable driving this change and I am feeling very positive for the future ahead of us.
MT: What can we expect from the company in the next 18-24 months?
AK: All I can say at this moment is that you can expect a lot! It is still premature for us to get into the details of it but, as I mentioned before, we have understood that the industry is looking for standardisation and optimised supply chain logistics either on a premium level or on a sensitive price level. Our target is to drive this innovative change and to be at the forefront of it. We have remained quiet until now, as we want to make sure we have all the right elements in place, but I can’t wait to share with the industry and our customers all the things we have been working on. Stay tuned.
MT: Finally, you return to IMPA London in 2018 as title sponsor. What does IMPA mean to Seven Seas?
AK: We are extremely enthusiastic about the renewal of our sponsorship of IMPA London as title sponsors and we are already counting the days until next year’s edition. We have always considered IMPA as the highlight of our events calendar and we are extremely pleased with our association and support of this event. It was a pleasure to see such a busy venue this year and to have met so many customers and partners. On another hand, IMPA is the perfect forum to bring the ship chandling community together, to learn from each other, and keep pushing the boundaries of the industry. The markets are changing rapidly and IMPA is the perfect opportunity for us to get a grasp of how we can become better partners to our customers and their needs.
This Article has been published by Marine Trader magazine.