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The advantage of using local expertise

Over recent years, Fred. Olsen Windcarrier has built a pool of trusted local suppliers that help us to deliver exceptional offshore windfarm installation and maintenance solutions, and their value cannot be overstated. These businesses often provide expertise and support that no one else can, such as insights into the surrounding environment, and essential resources such as specialist manpower and hardware. Not only does this help us to complete projects efficiently and effectively, but it helps these suppliers to gain greater knowledge and experience, to the benefit of our industry.

Value at every stage

“The suppliers we use can help us across the whole value chain of the project,” says Michael Aasted, Project Procurement Manager at Fred. Olsen Windcarrier. “For example, it could be at engineering and planning stages, or for geotechnical services, mobilization, or execution phases, and to help supply the equipment we need in ports. Often, we need local expertise with seabed conditions to make sure our jack-up vessel will be stable when elevated, insights into seismic activity, or even for more unusual aspects like whether there may be unexploded debris from World War Two.”

In certain territories, using local suppliers is not just an advantage, but a necessity. The US, for example, has a regulation called the Jones Act, which requires goods shipped between US ports to be transported on ships that are built, owned, and operated by United States citizens or permanent residents. While this is not a prerequisite in many other regions, there are always other laws and regulations that need to be adhered to when using support from local businesses.

Finding the right supplier

While certain areas of an installation project will always rely on in-house expertise, such as turbine installation and assembly, Fred. Olsen Windcarrier is steadily building a roster of trusted suppliers with strengths in many different specialist areas.

However, finding the right people and businesses to work with is not always an easy task. Contacts will often come through colleagues or competitors in the business who have been in the region before (largely thanks to the industry being relatively small and ‘interconnected’). Otherwise, there are regular buyer events that are created to help bring local suppliers, ship owners, and service companies together.

Furthermore, each new supplier must be well researched and possibly audited to ensure they can provide the reliability, quality, and competence needed to meet the standards we – and our customers – expect. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, not being able to meet face-to-face sometimes made this a challenge, and there have been inevitable examples of a supplier not performing well enough and being replaced, but due to our rigorous checks this is a rarity.

The advantages of using local support in our industry are far reaching

- Michael Aasted, Project Procurement Manager

Better for the bottom-line, and the environment

Not only can using local suppliers be more effective in terms of resources and knowledge-sharing, but it is often more cost effective. In some areas, local manpower and resources are less expensive than in others, which can help keep operational costs down. Furthermore, using teams and hardware from the area also eliminates the need for Fred. Olsen Windcarrier to ship people and equipment around the world, which in turn also has significant advantages from an environmental perspective.

These can be important aspects for Fred. Olsen Windcarrier when going through the tender process, and often help to highlight how and why we are the right partner for the project. Additionally, it is important for us that our suppliers perform and behave well during the project, as their actions reflect directly onto us in the eyes of our customers.

A local and global advantage

This approach also brings healthy competitiveness and raises standards of excellence to our industry. As we, and companies like ours, engage more with local businesses, their experience and capabilities improve. Furthermore, bringing new opportunities to local businesses has a positive effect on their country’s economy, and helps to support the global wind sector as a whole.  

“The advantages of using local support in our industry are far reaching,” says Michael. “It is something that we at Fred. Olsen Windcarrier will continue to explore and utilize. The expertise and resources they bring to a project enables us to deliver greater value for our customers, and in turn is helping the industry to grow.”

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