MSA: the very best service levels
Having the very best service levels possible is a key part of the Radio Holland Group (RHG) philosophy. The RH Managed Services Agreements (MSA) lie at the very heart of this quality service strategy. Paul Smulders, Global Operations Manager of Radio Holland Group, outlines the concept.
'While maintenance services are necessary to keep the equipment on board in good working order, ship owners and operators require the cost of maintenance to be realistic and the investment in maintenance to be as cost efficient as possible. We acknowledged there must be a more effective way of carrying out maintenance services that would be more efficient for the customer. With an MSA, ship owners and operators can benefit from the full, and if required global, coordination capability of Radio Holland, as well as the technical support and knowledge of a group of electronics experts, to support the vessels which are entrusted to us. Fleet managers were the first to show interest in the MSA because “they know that every extra penny being spent impacts the bottom-line”. Among the owners, former P&O Nedlloyd was one of the first MSA customers, ending up with 60 vessels under contract'.
Since the launch of the MSA concept, an increasing number of owners and managers are choosing to sign-up. Around 3500 vessels, owned by 25 of the world’s leading ship owning and operating groups, are now managed by these agreements. CMA-CGM, Beluga Fleet Management, Eagle Bulk Shipping, Masterbulk and Teekay are just a few of the owners deploying these agreements to manage their maintenance needs. In most cases we start with a pilot project that normally results in a fleetwide contract.
Recently, Mark de Jonge of SMIT Vessel Management Services, described the benefits of the agreements. 'We were looking for a supplier who was willing and able to enter into a partner relationship to provide a full service maintenance contract where preventive as well as breakdown maintenance was covered. We believe in buying functionality. This means we like to pay uptime, equipment to keep performing a certain function instead of just paying for repair or servicing our equipment.'
Paul Smulders adds: 'The Radio Holland brand gives customers confidence and reassurance, they know they can trust us. MSA means no hassle, it renders efficiency and importantly, the customer also gets crucial feedback on the performance of their fleet. We want to make sure the shipowner can operate his fleet carefree, there is a reduced risk of equipment breaking down, they can rest assured that it is being cared for properly.'
'RHG estimates that up to 30% of the cost of ownership of any equipment can be saved by having such an agreement. Owners also benefit from the huge global network of RHG, currently comprising more than 60 locations worldwide. 'They always know their service calls will be dealt with as efficiently as possible', says Mr. Smulders.
50,000 service calls a year
RHG typically handles an astonishing 50,000 service calls a year and all of these are reported to its centralised Global Service House and then the requests are passed on to a local RHG station. Every request is logged under the vessel’s IMO number through the Global Service System. And here RHG really shows its strength in being able to help customers maximise the performance of their fleet.When talking to a leading shipping line, Radio Holland asked how many service calls they had received that year. The fleet manager estimated a significantly lower number of service calls than actually were executed and registered by Radio Holland. RHG showed that by entering an MSA, these service calls could be reduced by managing the vessels more effectively. This same shipping line now has 43 managed vessels.
Another benefit of having this huge centralised databank is that it gives shipping lines access to important operational information. 'We asked this same shipping line if it would be a help to have a report on all of the services carried out and RHG promptly provided an in-depth report.' These reports are automatically delivered every quarter, allowing each owner and manager to examine the performance of their vessels and equipment. 'These reports provide an invaluable source of management information.'
Service calls under an MSA also lengthen the lifecycle of equipment and prevent problems escalating. Under the Full Maintenance Agreement, which offers unlimited service calls for a fixed annual fee, Mr Smulders says service calls can also be combined. For instance, service engineers are onboard once a year for preventive maintenance on navigation equipment. 'They can warn owners before any major damage occurs, saving tens of thousands of euros.'