The Innovation Spiral

Text: Siren Berge, VP Operations, Mintra Group

There is an ongoing efficiency movement sweeping across the industry. Faced with tougher markets, companies are doing what they can to cut costs without compromising on quality. New demands for cost reductions emerge along other axes than before.

Tougher times means that we have to think along new lines. For companies this means revisiting your business model and take it to another level to face up to the challenges. From top management and down, processes are in motion to reduce costs where possible, decrease organisational complexity, digitalize the enterprise and optimize systems and routines.

Make best practice daily practice
This trend is particularly salient within the oil & gas and maritime industry, but is also growing in other adjacent and more remote sectors. Other industries need to be prepared. But fortunately challenges are historically dealt with through inventiveness and innovation. Parallel to the wave of efficiency and cost reduction, we see a wave of innovation rolling across the industry. Companies and top management are rethinking how they work in the long term and on a daily basis – and how they make the most of their competence.

To stay ahead in this highly competitive environment, CEOs need to make sure that best practice becomes daily practice. Changes to the companies’ business models will – and must have – effect on all employees. The reduction of manual operations through digitalization on automation is not necessarily synonymous with staff reduction. But it is always about getting the most out of each individual employee’s competence with the lowest possible resource input.

A new client-supplier relationship
An effect of this trend of innovation and efficiency is a trend that companies seek to decrease their number of suppliers. From purchasing services off the shelf, companies are increasingly looking for suppliers that offer the whole range of services within the fields of expertise. This does not simply mean that they are looking for a “one-stop-shop” provider of services. We see that the demand for suppliers that can take the role as a partner who actively contribute to these business processes is increasing.

This movement is not one-way street, though. As suppliers increasingly get more involved in their clients’ business operations, clients get more involved in development of their suppliers’ services and solutions. This disintegration of the classical client-supplier model lifts the cooperation to another level – which benefits both client and supplier. The client gets the best possible value for money, a tailor made set of services and direct access to the supplier’s expertise for business and product development. The supplier has its finger on the pulse of their client, understands their needs and can work to develop services and systems to meet and predict the expectations of the market.

Operational excellence in a new era
The result is a new client-supplier relation that continuously works to develop and improve products, systems and ways of working on both sides – a spiral of innovation. Applied to the field of training and HR, we experience that we are on a constant journey to refine the entire range of services – from training and eLearning to payroll and crew- and employee management. Which at the end of the day helps companies do what they must always strive to do: get the most out of their people at in the most cost-efficient way without ever compromising on quality and safety. That is the key to operational excellence in this new fast-moving era of innovation.

Siren Berge, VP Operations, Mintra Group

Siren Berge has extensive experience from the software and maritime industry. She was CEO of OCS from 2014 until the merger with Mintra in February 2016.