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VIKING flexes global network muscles

Henrik Uhd Christensen, CEO, VIKING Life-Saving Equipment A/S

26 August 2014

VIKING is introducing a new fixed-price offering to follow its popular Shipowner Agreements, enabling customers to leverage the manufacturer's unsurpassed global reach, broad range and worldwide stock points to streamline day-to-day safety equipment purchases in ports around the world.

Esbjerg, Denmark, August 2014 - Market-leading marine and fire safety equipment manufacturer VIKING Life-Saving Equipment has come up with a new answer to shipowner requests for predictable costs, reduced risk and easier administration. And it's combining the company's extensive network, worldwide stock points, and the integration of marine equipment supplier Hygrapha to do it.

VIKING's new "Global Safety Product Agreement" is a unique, centralized safety equipment purchasing agreement designed to help shipowners who need to acquire or replace safety equipment in a variety of ports around the world - and who want to avoid wasting valuable resources and time to find the right product at the right price.

Centralized procurement removes risk

Anyone whose vessels sail among multiple ports is familiar with the problem: A routine purchase decision is made to replace pyrotechnics, an EEBD or other item needed to ensure safety - and safety rules compliance - on board a vessel. While the item itself requires only a modest expense, its true cost needs to reflect the time and resources it takes to procure it. Over a period of time, these hidden costs can inflate the shipowner's total safety equipment investment. And to make matters worse, varying local conditions mean that vessels often buy products whose pricing, quality and compliance can swing widely from port to port.

VIKING CEO Henrik Uhd Christensen explains: "Shipowners don't want to spend too much time dealing with minor, one-off purchases, they don't want to risk buying sub-standard equipment, and they certainly don't want to overpay for anything in the name of convenience. Highly efficient shipping operations, for example, have carefully specified the types of equipment that make business sense for their fleet. But working with local marine suppliers takes time, and they may not have a similar product in terms of quality, compliance or price in stock."

Streamlined management

VIKING's Global Safety Product Agreement solves these problems by enabling shipowners to ensure their vessels have global availability of over 50 products to start with in pre-determined ports at annually fixed prices, consistent quality and full compliance. The agreements include single-point-of-contact management as well as easily accessible reports that provide an overview of key procurement data. As a result, shipowners get all the advantages of centralized procurement with dependable, local availability.

To make these new capabilities possible, the company is flexing its significant distribution muscles, using capabilities that none of its competitors currently have the size or supply chain access to match.

"We started preparing for this type of agreement a few years ago, adding a long list of multi-brand marine and occupational safety equipment to VIKING's supply capabilities," says Henrik Uhd Christensen. "Obviously, you don't set something of this size up overnight, so we've been working hard to build the new capabilities into our organization with the same cost-effectiveness and reliability that's already in place for VIKING's existing safety equipment supply systems."

Henrik Uhd Christensen also sees his company's marine safety equipment know-how as a vital part of each Global Safety Product Agreement.

"VIKING now carries tens of thousands of products - more than anyone else in the market. So we're in a unique position to help shipowners and operators make the best choices for their specific needs."

Tough-to-match capability

For now, VIKING is the only company with this type of offering, and its instant popularity has Henrik Uhd Christensen expecting competitors to scramble to bring similar services to their customers. But given the resources, global presence and literally hundreds of supplier relationships required to implement such contracts on a worldwide basis, he's not expecting an equally dependable alternative to his company's new procurement agreements in the foreseeable future.