Issue 08 2012
Protecting the industry
There have been important changes within Mech-Tool Engineering since it was last featured within European Oil & Gas Magazine, with the company altering the focus of its work to achieve better customer service than ever before.
The company began over 40 years ago as a manufacturer of blast walls and firewalls, and until recently this remained its primary occupation. During the last year however, it has expanded its remit to become a more involved player in the overall supply chain by adding new services and locations to its infrastructure, and with positive results.
“It has been a very promising year in terms of Mech-Tool Engineering’s performance,” elaborates business development manager Matthew Camp. “Turnover has been close to record levels whilst profit is certainly at an all time high during the last year. That has come from quite a move in the organisation to develop and promote the other products that we have. Historically we are known as a firewall and blast wall supplier to the offshore industry but now we are emphasising the modular side of our business, such as local equipment rooms, additional living quarters, and prefabricated living quarters.
“We have also strengthened the design consultancy side of the business. After realising that, to prove our own systems and working over the last 35 years we have created our own bespoke software for analysing quite complex blast scenarios. Using the experience we’ve gained in a very niche area of the market – that of hydrocarbon fire and blast design – we can offer this as a service to third parties independent of our product manufacture. A major portion of our success over the last year relates directly to launching design consultancy as its own business arm, which now is building momentum in the marketplace.”
The emphasis on this new service comes as Mech-Tool Engineering reins in its acoustic solutions output. Whilst this business stream offered a good amount of opportunities, the company recognised that it was something of an outsider to where its business stood today. Market trends have guided Mech-Tool Engineering toward offering complete cradle-to-grave services in which the company works with the client from initial concept, through fabrication and installation, to aftersales maintenance. The nature of acoustic insulation means that often it would have little hand in the process other than manufacturing.
Mech-Tool Engineering has not withdrawn completely from acoustic solutions completely, however. Sound dampening remains an integral part of its modular, cladding, heat shielding and other products but is no longer sold in isolation. The refining of this range, combined with the advancing of its design consultancy, has rounded Mech-Tool Engineering out into a comprehensive go-to hub for the offshore industry’s needs. “The days of saying we just want a small piece of the puzzle are gone in the current climate; our customers and their customers are looking for someone to offer a total solution,” Matthew says.
The last 12 months have been a successful period for Mech-Tool Engineering, particularly following market resurgence after the lengthy post-recession downtime. The changing economic landscape has seen the Far East rise to prominence within the vessel and platform construction market. As part of the supply chain, Mech-Tool Engineering has seen its business move eastward too.
“We are doing more now in the Asia Pacific area due to the evolution of our client base,” agrees Matthew. “We are currently supplying to projects that are being fabricated and constructed in Korean yards, such as the Arkutun-Dagi project being led by ExxonMobil. Orders came from shareholder WorleyParsons and we are supplying to DSME. Many of the large fabrication projects such as this are taking place in Korea now, even those intended for the UK North Sea. Clair Ridge, for example, which is based off the coast of the Shetland Islands but is being fabricated at Hyundai Heavy Industries.”
Nonetheless, despite fabrication and construction moving further abroad, local demand for Mech-Tool Engineering’s services remains as strong as ever. With the UK continental shelf still a busy region it was decided to open a new point of sales in the country’s North Sea hub, Aberdeen. The office is currently being brought up to speed with the aim of offering a comprehensive range of services by the end of the year. Meanwhile, the company continues to look at how it can strengthen its presence in other closer-to-home markets.
Matthew ends on how Mech-Tool Engineering is setting itself up for the future: “We need to continue developing the services we can offer to the industry but also be responsive to our clients, understanding where they need us geographically and in terms of service level. We’ve come from being a dependable manufacturing company into one that can offer excellent design and advice too, and this process needs to continue in reflection of our customers’ needs. On a more operational basis, we’ve brought in a market research and business development unit to clarify our opportunities and what we can do in order to maximise our efforts. As I see it, Mech-Tool Engineering’s key is to be a reliable and dependable partner regardless of project type.”
Products: Blast walls, firewalls, and design & consultancy