HEADS UP MARITIME SALES AND MARKETING
Bård Bjørløw heads up the Global Sales and Marketing department at Kongsberg Maritime, which has a considerably larger product portfolio following the acquisition of Rolls-Royce Commercial Marine.
K-magazine interviewed Bård Bjørløw a month after KONGSBERG acquired Rolls-Royce Commercial Marine on 1 April 2019. The acquisition included a business of MNOK 8215 (pro forma) in operating revenues in 2018 and around 3600 employees across 34 countries.
- The last month has been very exciting. The takeover was something that we had been looking forward to for quite some time. The first month has largely been about implementation and effectuation of pre-planned initiatives as well as laying the foundation for two companies becoming one.
- On top of that, we must make decisions on products and technology. We are a stronger company together, and we need to utilise the benefits available to us as a joint organisation. We must demonstrate fairly quickly that this was a good acquisition, and obviously that means exploiting the synergies as planned. We have excellent plans in place, and are confident that these will support the measures and adjustments that are needed to achieve our goals.
- Obviously, the first month we have focused on talking to people. The fact that we’re establishing a new Sales and Marketing organization, redesigning the structure and introducing new processes and ways of working, requires a lot of effort from everyone involved.
- Have there been any surprises in the first month?
- The most encouraging has been the positivity of our new colleagues. They are highly skilled, and I’m sure they will help us to create a great company.
- I can’t think of any big surprises, but since we were not allowed access to Rolls-Royce Commercial Marine before 1 April, we had to make assessments and trust our judgement before we got to the details after that date. And it is in the details that you see how a company works. We are two companies that now have started the journey of transforming into one!
- Even though we operate in the same market, we have different processes and different ways of doing things. Now we have to align all of this. The goal is to have one Kongsberg Maritime, and we are on our way towards achieving that.”
- You are now head of a considerably bigger Sales and Marketing team than you were before 1 April. What matters most to you as head of this organisation?
- I consider it very important for us to agile and sharp on communication and internal planning. I also think that it is important to form an organisation which is adaptable and that builds on the strengths of both parties. We have our histories and our ways of working, and we must respect that.
- What do you expect of your employees now that KM and RRCM are one company?”
- It is very important for us to establish an environment where people work together. Everyone needs to focus on collaboration. We have a matrix organisation which requires us to reach out to our new colleagues. We need to be open and inclusive, learn from each other and involve across the organisation. It is extremely important to prioritise the values we have at KONGSBERG, and above all to be collaborative.
- I also hope that everyone will be a little patient in the early stages. We cannot achieve everything in one day. Things will take time. I hope that everyone understands that we all have a responsibility to shape the organisation. We all have a responsibility to agree and align with our objectives. Everyone can make a contribution.
- Kongsberg Maritime has taken over a strong brand in Rolls-Royce Commercial Marine. How will KONGSBERG work towards building up an equally strong brand with the KONGSBERG logo on these products?
- Rolls-Royce is a strong brand, but so is KONGSBERG. The first thing we have to do is to show customers that we can deliver just as well or even better, under a different logo. A logo is always associated with the company behind it. Sales, project execution, delivery, aftermarket service and product development are all involved in building a brand. The customer and customer satisfaction have been, and will continue to be, the first priority for Kongsberg Maritime.
- Building brands is about creating value for the customer. It is about developing new strategies that embrace the best from both companies, which in turn will enable the customer to feel the value of a bigger KONGSBERG. We want to demonstrate the advantage of buying more from one company; that this simplifies their processes.
- In the long term, it is also important that we make ship owners and operators realize the benefit. We need to prove that we create value in the operation of ships, both technologically and practically, so that they see us as a preferred company to do business with.”
- One of the objectives of the new Kongsberg Maritime is to become a world-leading technology supplier in the maritime industry. What is the strategy for achieving this objective?
- I think that in order to achieve that objective, we have to make some strategic choices to optimize our products- and solutions offerings. Rolls Royce brings with them some excellent technology skills. They have complementary products, skills and experience to Kongsberg Maritime, and this need to be utilised and optimized as we move forward.
- How would you describe the market in which the new Kongsberg Maritime will operate?
- The general market situation has not changed much in the last year. That said, we consider it a bit more positive, though we still experience both upturns and downturns within the various segments. On the gas side, the market has been excellent the last year, and we have done very well as a company within this segment. In addition, cruise ships, ferries and FPSO units have also been positive. We also consider wind to be an emerging market which will be exciting in the future.
- Other markets are struggling, for example tankers and bulk carriers. In other words, there is a great deal of fluctuation in various segments. But all in all we can see a number of positive indicators for the future. We need to be very clever at choosing strategies for the segments in which we operate, we need to be quick on our feet and establish good contact with ship owners and brokers at an early stage in the process. What we are very good at is presenting ourselves well to the various parties to ensure that we are chosen by the yard.
- How will Kongsberg Maritime’s increased scope and offering be noticed in the marketplace?
- We will have a much more extensive portfolio that will strengthen our position and impact in the market place, both in terms of depth and breadth. We will also have a much stronger global presence to better meet the needs of customers and end-users. There is no doubt this will strengthen Kongsberg Maritime as an integrator and global technology leader.
- What do you think Kongsberg Maritime will look like in five years?
- I hope and believe that we will have achieved the objectives we have set for ourselves. I hope that we will be a successful, world leading, technology company. A company that is known for developing valuable solutions for our customers, - an influential integrator taking a global leading position.