How you manage your workforce – how you train them, how you deploy them, how you pay them and how you ensure they comply with safety regulations and requirements – will be key to you driving profitable growth in the next 5 years.
There are a limited number of ways to profitably grow a company: you can increase market share, increase your prices, cut costs, or increase productivity. In the current market, increasing market share or prices is extremely challenging. In real terms, prices in many industries have decreased by more than half in the last 10 years. The fact is that in many industries today there is too much supply and severe price pressure. A growth strategy based on price increases could be very difficult.
Efficiency gains will lead to growth
At the same time, world GDP growth rates have slowed, meaning that demand for goods and services is only growing slowly if it is growing at all. As a result, growth in market shares needs to come from taking work away from your competitors, and that means reducing costs and looking for efficiencies in your own business.
My prediction is that the company that most improves its efficiency over the next 5 years will also be the company that demonstrates the most profitable growth. Efficiency gains will lead to reduced costs, expanded market share and increased growth opportunities. And most efficiency gains will come from our largest and most critical asset: our people and how we manage them and their competence.
Competence in offshore operations or on a vessel is usually thought of in relation to safety, and there is no doubt that safety is a significant driver for competence management. Making sure that employees have the skills and capabilities to complete their work is a cornerstone of safety management. Good tools and systems help define this: they assess capabilities, document the outcome, and manage diverse crew requirements. An overview of skills, training and capacity of the crew should be easily accessible for supervisors and management, as should information about where their location, their work schedule and when they are available.
But there is more to competence than safety, and it is what will differentiate a growing, profitable company from its competition. What could better drive growth and secure profit than making sure you have a well-trained workforce that is deployed efficiently, paid correctly and fully compliant with internal regulations and external regulatory requirements? Not only is it the most efficient and safe method of working, it is – unsurprisingly – the most cost-effective and profitable.
This is how having and managing a competent, motivated workforce gives you the power to outcompete your competitors. Competence is the basis for business growth.
Systems that deliver a competitive advantage
Customers need to know that suppliers and partners can adapt to the latest technology and use it to deliver innovative solutions. In the same way that businesses look at how they manage and organize the workforce to maximise productivity, the tools and systems that facilitate learning, competence management and HR will have to meet high standards of efficiency. They must be compliant, built on best practice and deliver a competitive advantage.
Software solutions have to be integrated and distributed, to allow customers to define the competence needs of their business, to organize training in the most cost-effective ways possible (considering both travel and training costs), to deploy and handle a rotating workforce anywhere in the world, and to ensure that all payroll and employee benefits are managed correctly.
State-of-the-art eLearning products and a world-class Learning Management System (LMS) that operates remotely with full synchronization capabilities across broadband or telephone will give your employees the knowledge they need where and when they need it. And the data generated need only be entered once before being used across the platform, greatly simplifying the HR systems.
Finally, operations must comply with all relevant rules and regulations, and organizations must be able to know and document this in a fast and easy way. This will ensure not only an efficient operation but greatly improved safety and reliability.
Safe operations, efficient systems, a trained workforce – competence is the key to unlocking all of them. And that competence gives you the power to grow your business.
Find out more about our Management Systems.
Emmanolia Kolias appointed as the Women's International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA) Board Member