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UK Business Development Manager Clean Energy, Dräger Marine and Offshore

How changing your playlist can help transform your business By Megan Hine, UK Business Development Manager Clean Energy, Dräger Marine and Offshore


Spotify isn’t the first thing that would spring to mind when you ask someone to create a business model for a marine and offshore organisation.

However, when you mention that by studying companies like Spotify you can help save time and money, you’ve grabbed people’s attention with the same impact you’d get by turning a classic track up to 11. It will be music to their ears. But what does music have to do with the marine and offshore industry? The answer is simple – it’s all in the way products are acquired.

As a society, we are far more likely to rent or hire items than we once were. Your car, for example. Data shows that lease enquiries as a proportion of all new car leads grew in the UK by 325% between 2018 and 2021. While a vehicle is a significant outlay, the idea of not having to own something trickles down to small luxuries such as how we consume our TV shows and films (through the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime) as well as the multitude of ways to listen to our music via Spotify and Apple Music, for example. As well as saving money, that way of living is often more convenient with instant access to a wide library you don’t need to pay upfront for. So why should it be different in the marine and offshore industry?

Nowadays, we think more and more about efficiency. And when it comes to the pace of the energy transition, cost is going to be king, with speed following swiftly behind. And when we think of wanting things that are faster, more affordable and retain the quality we expect, we often see that if cost and speed are key, quality falls out the window quicker than a rockstar throwing a TV set from the 16th floor. However, that doesn’t have to be the case.

The solution to how that could be avoided comes through thinking differently – like Spotify, Netflix and other streaming companies. By reducing overheads, such as by not holding on to inventory and renting instead, the speed element of getting equipment is covered as it’s on a rental fleet, which therefore means lead times for the manufacturing and delivery of goods is not an issue.

Through a rental model, the kit is there when you need it, but when you don't need it, it's not cluttering up your warehouse, or indeed your balance sheet. Furthermore, there is no need to compromise on quality. You rent what you need for the requirements you have, with expert advice and support.

Cynicism is something that will always be present when a new way of doing things comes along, and it took a long time for Spotify and Netflix – and the streaming of music and movies in general – to shake it off, despite being well priced. That is evidenced by Spotify, which was founded in 2006, holding just 7% of the US music streaming market in 2010, but an astonishing 83% by the end of 2020.

There is always a tipping point whereby those early adopters help get the word out before the people that follow the fearless ones come along and change the tide. You become the odd one out if you are not watching the latest Netflix show, or still listening to the music you spent a fortune downloading or physically purchasing. I believe the same will be true, in time, if you're not renting your safety equipment and are still buying and maintaining your own kit.

The industry is already showing signs of that happening, with Dräger Marine & Offshore reporting an increase of more than 20% in the rental of equipment following the opening of a new sales and training centre in Aberdeen last summer, a performance which exceeded expectations.

Our company also reported a rise in rentals across different business units throughout the organisation, which is another indication of the way business in general is going. In the energy sector, the transition is an opportunity to look at the way we do things and to do it more efficiently.

For example, I remember not signing up to Spotify for the longest time because I had an iPhone and I had paid 99p for the songs on there. When I look back now, I realise I had about £700 of songs on there.

I’ve paid to use Spotify for around three years now and am approaching the £400 mark in terms of spend. I’m still spending money, but I have discovered other genres and artists through the features it has, so my engagement with the company has changed. The same can happen in industry.

If you do something slightly differently, you may discover you are opening yourself up to wider benefits. We have seen that the market for renting items in other walks of life works, so why should we continue to do what we have always done?

At Dräger we want to do what’s right, and what is for the greater good. The hire of offshore equipment is not massively widespread, but it is a market that will grow. We're probably at that first follower stage. The same point Spotify pioneers were at in the late 2000s.

One of the big growth areas for us has been the use of our Rental Robot, which is essentially a vending machine, but for safety equipment. Similar to a jukebox, if we are to stay on a musical note.

It’s an automated release and return station for safety equipment from which users can get reliable, 24-hour access to the safety technology, tools and consumables they need. The robot can be rented out in different modules with varying compartment sizes according to the customer’s requirements, whether it is for items as small as gas detection devices or large respiratory protection equipment.

Everything that's in the Rental Robot is owned and maintained by Dräger. Customers pay to rent kit from the minute they open the door and take the item out to the minute they put it back. If someone is on a 12-hour shift, for example, they would rent it for the 12 hours that it's out with that person as opposed to the traditional rental model where you would have it for days and days.

Why would offshore companies hold three times the number of personal gas monitors for their usual workforce just for the three weeks of the year they have a platform shutdown? If they have a Rental Robot, they’re just borrowing it for the hours that person uses it. And if that person doesn't book it back in or they book it back in with damage, that contractor can be charged for the repair because it can be proven they had it.

With more companies adopting this style, we would see a behaviour change, all because things have been thought out differently, stemming from that idea of not spending 99p to download a song. It's thinking about how you can do things innovatively, and collaboratively, like John and Paul, Liam and Noel or Elton and Bernie. It’s thinking about using a company like Dräger.

Read the latest issue of the OGV Energy magazine HERE

Published: 21-06-2023

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