How Ross Offshore digitalised their tendering process with Sea/trade

9 April 2021

Q&A with Ross Offshore on their experience embedding Sea/trade into their operations.

How Ross Offshore digitalised their offshore tendering process with Sea/trade

Following on from the successful e-procurement run via Sea/trade, we caught up with Ross Offshore VP Jarle Magne Vespestad and Marine and Chartering Manager Karl Kristian Hasselo, to find out more about how they digitalised their tendering process and where it will take them next.

Q: How did the Sea/trade e-procure process compare to your existing process?

KK: Prior to using Sea/trade our existing process, probably like many shipping companies, was very manual. We’ve always been a very forward thinking business, and like to consider ourselves as leading with digital. We have some fantastic tools that we use internally to manage workflows, but there was a gap in our processes when it came to gathering the responses of requirements. We would use email to share our requirements to contacts and when we had responses back it then became a manual task of getting them into one format for review and consideration. It added time to process, as often the responses we have back from owners are staggered across several email chains or instant messages or phone calls. It was very obvious, very quickly how Sea/trade would help us to streamline.

Q: What sort of response did you get from vessel owners when you issued your requirements via Sea/trade?

KK: Whilst Sea/trade takes care of the process digitally, we did have some concerns that owners may not respond positively to the change and revert back to more familiar channels and methods. Owners are busy so we were aware that we could see a lack of responses back to our requirement, because they potentially do not have the time or inclination to want to engage using a new digital tool. However, that wasn’t the case at all. Out of the 51 whom we shared requirements with, we had responses from 11 owners with 17 vessels of opportunity – a response rate which is on par with what we would see from a more manual approach.

Prior to pushing the requirement out, we emailed all of our vessel owner contacts to make them aware of our change in process and encouraged to take part due to the benefits it would bring them in the long term: Each time we run a new requirement, we hope that it will become faster and faster for vessel owners to respond. Much of the information we request as part of the response is standard and will not vary from project to project, this means Vessel Owner only need to complete the parts of the requirements which are unique to that bid. 

Q: How was your broker able to assist you in the fixture process?

JM: One of the reasons we chose Sea/trade as our e-procurement platform was our ability to adapt the platform to ensure it was tailor-made to our needs. In this case, we worked closely with Ivar Vollsaeter (Clarksons Platou Offshore Broker) who knew the Sea/trade platform well. Ivar was able to manage the whole process with us from requirement building, pushing out to the market, setting tolerance in our scoring models, gathering responses, assessing options, providing insight and opinion to help us make the best decisions. The Sea/trade dashboard provides transparency for us, but enables Ivar to do what he does best, and that’s exactly how we envisage continuing to work together with technology as the enabler.

Q: On your first transaction, you elected to do a sealed bidding process. Why was this important to you?

KK: Conducting a fair and transparent fixture process is important to us, and upholds our professional standards. In Sea/trade, bidding can be sealed or unsealed. With sealed bidding it enabled us to gather responses back from owners but not revealing the details of the owner’s bids until we had received all response. The feature enabled us to chase up any owners that we hadn’t had responses from so we could be sure that, together with the broking team at Clarksons, we made a decision with all possible opportunities in front of us. Owners are aware that the bidding process is a sealed too, so that provides the opportunity for them to respond with their most attractive rates and generally make the process more efficient. We will continue to use sealed bidding on future requirements. 

Q: How can Sea/trade help you to achieve your sustainability objectives?

JM: One of the features of Sea/trade which we look forward to utilising in the future is the visibility of data around fuel consumption. Carbon output is rapidly pushing its way to the top of the agenda of vessel chartering decision-making. As a business, we want to ensure we are not only making the most informed decision around vessel choice for the criteria of the project, but also the cleanest, to minimise the environmental impact of our industry. We will rely on vessel owners supplying estimated but accurate data to us pre-fixture.

Find out more

Read more about Ross Offshore’s tender-digitalisation journey here.

To understand more about how Sea/trade can be used for offshore business, complete the form below to arrange a demo with a member of the team.