What has changed? What has stayed the same?
We get it, just because it is the year 2021, it does not mean that everything is back to normal. It will still take months for the vaccine to roll out, and even longer for economies, habits, and trust to rebuild. But at least 2021 will bring some level of hope. However, things may never truly return to the way things used to be. As we worked with companies all over the world and made the changes to our own company, there are a few things that changed in 2020 that we think are going to stick around.
What has changed (for good?)
1. A focus on developing and recruiting local talent
Before the pandemic, we travelled everywhere and sent our surveyors all over the world. If a company needed 3rd party oversight on a project, we could get someone there within a day. Our ability to respond quickly is something we have always worked hard to maintain. However, when the pandemic shut down and slowed international travel, we realized we needed to change our methods to meet the new challenge. So instead of flying our surveyors everywhere, we began looking for and developing local surveyors all over the world. Because of pivoting, we now have multiple local mini offices across the globe ready to respond to the needs of our clients. Without realizing it, the pandemic forced us to look beyond our usual pool of talent and grow the local workforce in places that are often overlooked. Our talent pool grew, and our long-term ability to expand multiplied. Even when the pandemic is behind us, the development of local talent and presence is a trend we think will remain.
2. The need for companies to diversify their streams of revenue
We all know that having diverse offerings helps keep companies stable. But branching out into different markets is a lot of work, and carries with it some risk. A crisis has a way of moving innovation forward at a rapid pace. In March, when projects were coming to a halt and businesses were figuring out how to move forward, we realized that it was time to expand services and diversify how we as a company make money. We launched our Industrial Inspection Services overseeing construction, welding and painting, Compliance Management Partnerships, and Loss Prevention Services in order to both grow and stabilize our company in the face of global disruption. In the midst of global change, companies need to set themselves up for the long run. This means diversifying and expanding offerings is a change that needs to be part of the “new normal.”
3. The power of digital communication in creating a “Greener” world (with a need to make it personal)
In the world of international shipping, travel will always be an essential part of the job. In order to observe and survey the safety of vessels and transport, a person needs to be there. Someone needs to be on site for an inspection to take place. But, we have learned that not all meetings need to be done in person. Thanks to programs like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Google Meet, we can meet with anyone, anywhere from our home or office and still accomplish what we need. These digital platforms save us time and money, but even more importantly, decrease our carbon foot print while we maintain efficiency. We are thankful to partner with so many industry leaders working hard to make the earth a cleaner and greener place. The digital reality we live in is a great way to continue helping our carbon footprint long into the future. But we have also realized that human connection is still important. In a Microsoft Teams meeting with a partner earlier this year, our partner thanked us for turning on the video feed during the meeting. He said it had been a long time since he interacted with an actual face, it was refreshing. For Nordic Maritime Solutions, customer service is not a department, it is how we do business. We are glad that the pandemic pushed certain business interactions to be digital, but we also believe that we need to keep finding ways to make it personal. When it comes down to it, whether it is a global business or a local business, it all comes down to relationships and connections.
What has stayed the same (pandemic or not).
1. Safety is Still Essential
As long as heavy cargo needs to be transported, safety will be an essential priority. The pandemic changed a lot of things last year, but the need for 3rd party surveyors and a commitment to minimizing risk through planning and oversight has not changed. Over this last year, despite everything that was different, we witnessed numerous issues that would have become costly incidents if it was not for 3rd party oversight and the commitment to make our industry as safe as possible. We have a saying that “we like to keep shipping boring.” This will always be true. Boring shipping is safe, incident free shipping and as long as shipping stays boring, crises are averted.
2. The Global Economy is still the global economy
Despite the heavy disruption in 2020, there were still pieces of equipment manufactured in Mumbai, others in Diem Diem, others in Shanghai, and ultimately transported and installed at an offshore wind farm off the coast of Germany. Local economies are dependent on the global economy, and vice versa. As an industry that drives both local and global economies, it is important we do our best to make sure our industry works at its best. Even in the midst of a global pandemic, global industries helped keep the world from falling apart. The global economy was here before the pandemic, during the pandemic, and will be here after the pandemic. That means there is a responsibility to make sure the global economy stays strong. We are happy to participate in making our industry sustainable, safe, and efficient.
3. Collaboration is still the best way to do business
Due to the nature of our job, we regularly witness the power of collaboration in accomplishing the transport projects we oversee and survey. Hundreds of people in multiple countries, using trains, trucks, or ships, all working together to accomplish a project is truly a remarkable thing. The pandemic did not destroy collaboration. If anything, it strengthened it. When companies work together, communicate with each other, and do business in a way that is good for the entire industry, everybody wins. Collaboration will always be an essential part of the transport and logistics industry, and the pandemic has only further shown its necessity. This year, we believe we will see even greater amounts of collaboration as we re-build and develop the global economy.
Ready for 2021
Nordic Maritime Solutions would love to be your eyes, ears and voice on site this year. A lot has changed, but our commitment to safety and efficiency remains the same.