Equipped for growth
Originally established in 1997, Aberdeen based First Integrated Solutions Ltd is one of Scotland’s leading manufacturing and service companies. Renowned as a provider of high quality, reliable and competitively priced equipment, the company has emerged from reorganisation with a focus on expanding its main Aberdeen supply base to include a wider global footprint.
The company’s core operations include the manufacture of wire rope slings, the supply and service of market leading lifting equipment, plant and tooling, as well as the provision of offshore/onshore inspection and load testing services.
The business changed hands in 2011, a development that enabled it to expand and build on its product and service portfolio. Following two years of growth, the company was acquired by Ian Suttie, a well-known, experienced and influential player in the UK Oil and Gas market. Originally an investing shareholder in early 2013, Suttie saw the potential of the wider business, and acquired the remainder of the firm at the close of that year.
Soon after this acquisition, the company expanded its product portfolio to include a Winch, Crane and larger Marine division. These reforms were designed and developed to integrate and complement the existing lifting, equipment and inspection business and made steady progress in securing new contracts, clients and operations. However, the downturn in the oil and gas market had a significant impact on the subsea industry – in which these divisions were primarily focused – and the decision was made to streamline the company towards its primary focus on lifting, inspection and equipment rental in late 2015.
Since previously being featured in Energy, Oil & Gas magazine in June 2014, First Integrated has continued with its reform agenda in all areas of the business, most notably with an internal reorganisation programme which included the establishment of a leaner corporate structure and strategic investment in new personnel and talent. Managing Director of First Integrated, Steven Mearns comments: “The reason behind the reorganisation was to put First Integrated into a position where it will be able to weather a ‘lower for longer’ oil market downturn and to trim the excess from an inefficient and top heavy business. Several of our previous divisions were effectively being subsidised by our profit making areas and this business case could no longer be sustained in a depressed market.”
He continues: “The reform programme has enabled us to become one of the most competitive lifting and equipment service companies in the UK. We have the financial flexibility to offer innovative commercial agreements, guaranteeing that our clients will be offered a market beating rate. Our leaner corporate culture, meanwhile, allows us to embrace any potential market opportunity and to rapidly deploy that opportunity. Another development for us has been the significant investment we have put in our people and personnel. This programme has been developed with the goal of rolling out a focused and targeted competency and training network. We already have the advantage of highly experienced and dedicated staff, and this new training framework will ensure that this advantage is maintained and developed.”
Throughout the reorganisation programme, the company has created a leaner, flatter and more efficient management structure that is designed to empower employees at every level of business – allowing them to take charge and feel responsible for the continued success of First Integrated Solutions. These developments have also increased the competitiveness of the company in a demanding market, while ensuring it is prepared for upcoming opportunities overseas, as Steven notes: “As the UK market continues to mature, it is an operational necessity that we expand our overseas footprint into high growth, up and coming and embryonic markets. We seek to have breadth as well as depth in our business activities and our global expansion serves as a basis on which First Integrated Solutions can achieve our ambitious growth agenda.” In line with this plan, the company has expanded into the Middle East, enabling the firm to serve this dynamic growth market in which the expertise, reputation and commercial strength of First Integrated will stand it in good stead.
First Integrated is also eager to expand its footprint further into Europe, starting with the Norwegian market. The company has already rolled out several strategic partnership agreements with established industry leaders in equipment provision and lifting manufacture in this territory. “These agreements include several complementary technologies and services that have integrated seamlessly with our core operational portfolio,” says Steven. “A significant partnership has been our agency agreement with GS Oiltools AS in Norway. The agreement has allowed us to aggressively expand our wire rope sling offering to the Norwegian market, enabling us to expand our overseas operational footprint and increase our global visibility.” The company’s ability to manufacture to strict NORSOK requirements has already resulted in a significant order from a Tier 1 operator on the Norwegian continental shelf and the firm is poised for significant and continued commercial success well into 2016 and beyond.
Having made these improvements in all areas of the business and expanded into locations such as Trinidad, South America, Nigeria and the Middle East, First Integrated Solutions is confident that its dynamic ethos and hunger for continued growth and expansion will serve the company well, as Steven concludes: “We have implemented an ambitious growth agenda that seeks to harmonise our efficiency and commercial reforms into an operational powerhouse that can compete and outperform anyone in the market. Looking further ahead, our vision is to achieve ‘trusted partner’ status with some of our key clients and to support them, not only on the UK Continental Shelf, but in any territory in the world that they operate.”
Services: Inspection, lifting and plant hire