Text: Scott Kerr, CEO, MINTRA GROUP

How you manage your workforce – how you train them, how you deploy them efficiently, how you pay them correctly and how you ensure they are in compliance with safety regulations and requirements – will be a key factor in driving profitable growth during 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.

We all know the current market and understand how challenging it is to increase market share or to increase our prices. In real terms prices in many industries has declined by more than 50 % in the past 10 years.  The fact is that in a number of industries today there is an excess of supply and severe price pressure. A strategy of growing through price increases can be very difficult.

Efficiency gains will lead to growth
At the same time world GDP growth rates have slowed. That means demand for goods and services is only slowly growing (if it is growing at all).  As a consequence, growth in market shares needs to come from taking work away from your competition.  As a result, in today’s market we turn to reducing costs and looking for efficiencies.

My prediction is, that the company that has the greatest improvement in efficiency over the next 5 years will also be the company that has the most profitable growth. Efficiency gains will lead to reduced costs, expanded market share and increased growth opportunities. And where will most efficiency gains come from?  It will be found within 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 often thought of as something that is related to safety. And it is. But in today’s market competency means so much more than safety. Competence is what will differentiate a growing, profitable company from its competition.

There is no doubt that safety is a significant drive 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; 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 they are at that time, their work schedule and when they are available.

What could better drive growth and secure profit than making sure you have a well trained work force that is deployed efficiently, paid correctly and are in full compliance with internal regulations, as well as regulatory requirements?  This would be the most efficient and safe method of working and, no surprise here, the most cost effective and profitable.

This is why people, and how you manage them, is the real power of competence. The power to have the most efficient and cost effective operations. The power to outcompete your peers. The power of having the most motivated workforce. And ultimately, the power to grow your business.

Systems that deliver a competitive advantage
Customers need to know that suppliers and partners manage to stay ahead of the latest technology and deliver innovative solutions. In the same way businesses look at how they manage and organize the workforce in the most productive way, the tools and systems facilitating learning, competence management and HR will have to meet high standards of efficiency. They have to be compliant, built on best practice and deliver a competitive advantage.

Solutions have to be integrated and distributed, to allow customers to define the competence needs in their business, organize training in the most cost effective way possible (both travel and training costs), deploy and handle a rotating workforce anywhere in the world and ensure that all payroll and employee benefits are managed correctly.

Solutions must consist of state of the art e-learning products and a world class Learning Management System (LMS) that operates remotely with full synchronization capabilities across broadband or telephone.  Data should be entered only once and utilized across the platform to greatly simplify the HR systems.

Operations must comply with all 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 improves safety and reliability.

In sum, unlocking the power of competence leads to safe, efficient and reliable operations. The result should be profitable business and growth in the market.


Scott has an extensive knowledge and background from the oil and gas industry. He has previously held a number of senior management positions in this industry, e.g. as Managing Director of BP Norway, CEO of Norwegian Energy Company (NORECO) and CEO of Sevan Drilling.