We talk to George Moore, Business Development Manager at corporate member’s Specialist Marine Consultants;
Who are Specialist Marine Consultants and how did they originate?
SMC, or Specialist Marine Consultants, are a specialist service provider to the marine and offshore energy sectors. We began by delivering Vessel Inspections and QHSE services to Oil & Gas Clients back in 2006, however we now primarily operate within the offshore wind sector. We operate globally, providing a range of niche services across all project phases.
How many people are working for SMC today?
At SMC we operate a 15-person head office team, with a further 180 personnel located on projects all around the world.
When did you join the company and what was your previous experience?
Ive been with the company almost 4-years now, joining in early 2017.
Unlike our project teams, who all hold marine backgrounds, I was brought in from a different sector, having previously worked in finance and marketing roles.
At SMC we maintain a diverse management team as we feel that this approach can lead to innovations and new ways of thinking, ultimately providing a stronger and broader support structure for our projects. Of course, the core of our business is built up of experienced specialists, but we have also taken great care in recent years to train and develop people – I suppose I am a current example of this.
What is your role within the company today?
I work as Business Development Manager at SMC. I have responsibility for all Sales & Marketing functions within the business, and primarily I am tasked with engaging with client’s operational and procurement teams, managing the bidding process as we compete for work in both emerging and established markets.
What services do SMC offer?
We offer a range of services and pride ourselves on the quality of service that we deliver. We are proud to have established ourselves as a renowned and proven provider of safe, quality turnkey solutions. Our primary services include:
- Marine Consultancy
- Vessel Inspection (eCMID, OVID, MISW, On/Off-Hire Suitability Survey, Bespoke Inspections, etc.)
- Marine Coordination
- Statutory Inspection
- Structural Inspection and Maintenance Above Water (inc. a range of solutions)
- Temporary Staff Services
Where are the main areas of work location?
We have operational offices in the UK, the EU and South-East Asia, but we deliver services globally. The UK, Germany and Taiwan remain our most significant sources of revenue, which is understandable due to their leading commitments to offshore wind.
As a company, we intend to continue to operate in both established and emerging markets. We recently won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the International Trade category, which was a great achievement for SMC and really emphasised our success in overseas trading. There are a lot of exciting works planned for the coming years and we’re really looking forward to the continued growth of the offshore wind industry on a global scale.
Do you offer any services outside of Offshore Wind?
Yes – absolutely!
Although the bulk of our work is in offshore wind, we continue to provide support to a range of sectors, including marine, nuclear, oil & gas and utilities.
What is your favourite part of your job?
Definitely the variety.
At SMC I have been given exposure to a range of industries all over the world. As I am relatively new to the industry, there has been so much to learn, which has been a real treat. I have also been tasked with establishing our business in new markets, and early phase missions to the likes of Taiwan and the United States have been a brilliant experience.
In my role I have to maintain knowledge of SMC operations, client operations and industry direction – which in this relatively green and exciting industry is rarely a chore.
Do you have any frequent challenges related to the Workboat industry?
2020, and in particular the ongoing covid-19 pandemic, has brought about a number of challenges which we have all had to adapt to over course of the year – we hope that these aren’t so much a frequent challenge, but that they become an anomaly by the time we leave 2021 and move into 2022. Time will tell.
Less unforeseeable challenges do still remain, however. We see plenty of opportunity for improvement and optimisations.
To give a specific example, fuelling logistics within some offshore wind projects could be improved. We see the use of road trucks for fuelling somewhat an inhibitor to efficiency. The loss of time as boats queue to refuel could be mitigated by investing in fuelling infrastructure.
Do you have any advice for Workboat Operators?
At SMC, we sit in a somewhat privileged position, in that we have such a broad exposure to the industry, with our services sitting across the supply chain and through to project developers and owners.
There would be benefit in the facilitation of workshops that invite workboat operators, their clients and any other relevant parties to discuss project mechanisms and operations in their entirety. I think sometimes it is easy to act within a bubble, and that a greater visibility of “the bigger picture” could lead to optimisations, or at least the easing of any frictions that may exist. Communication is one of the greatest tools in ensuring that projects are delivered safely and on time – it could only be a positive thing in my view, supporting the development of productive working relationships.