The COVID-19 outbreak has been causing a huge impact on people’s lives, families, and communities. For UMAR-WSR was not an exception. It is though in shipping people DNA to sail in uncharted water, to adapt fast and react with stamina in situations like today’s.
As the international response continues to develop critical information on the development of the virus, and its impact on the global shipping business activity continuing to change; flexibility and adaptability are imperative.
In these unprecedented times, the ability of the shipping services sector to continue undisrupted; offering support to ships in every way, all around the world becomes more important.
Considering that no one had a business plan nor a strategy to manage a global situation of this magnitude, overcoming this pandemic fast took a lot of effort and time. Especially in dealing with building the resilience and adapting in working procedures and strategy to continue with the business, involving human factor.
Without a doubt that helps in becoming more agile and adaptable to this changing situation, and focus on building effective response strategies and plans, for the future.
Having our offices in five countries, Greece, Russia, Singapore, UAE, and our head offices in Cyprus, had five times the impact.
Every country was forced to react differently to the pandemic. While Greece was in lockdown, Singapore was up and running and Russia had limited restrictions in traveling around the country. As Cyprus, went into lockdown, Greece opened, and while Singapore and the UAE enter into the second phase. We had to respond to individual countries local rules and at the same time follow the authorities’ restrictions in every port around the world that we deliver parts or equipment or coordinate service teams for repairs
We had to work with diving teams for getting the job done in a small-time frame, with limited crew because of restrictions from authorities. Countries evacuated from the foreign workforce and the lack of expertise from locals or having adequate locals to execute the jobs was so obvious.
At UMAR SHIPPING SERVICES, our philosophy is to ensure that everything we offer, every principal we represent, reflects our brand’s emphasis on quality and high service standards.
It is with this philosophy in mind, that we carefully select our Principals and why they, choose UMAR WSR to represent them.
Today, UMAR represents over 30 of the world’s leading manufacturers of maritime equipment. From highly sophisticated electronic systems, electrical and mechanical equipment to uniquely developed equipment that serve specific aspects of the shipping industry. We have created a global network able to fulfil any task regardless of size, complexity, or time frame.
With deliveries, delays, and manufacturing programs postponed due to pandemic, staff shortages offering our standard service, delivering products on time, become a lot more expensive and time-consuming. Nevertheless, none of our customers had to suffer through a shockwave because we manage to absorb the majority of it.
At WSR, worldwide resources are our greatest asset and the most important differentiating factor. Through our exclusive representation, WSR offers its clientele strategically located ship repair yards, underwater services, riding squads, repair stations, and liner wear measurement worldwide. Reliable services cover all aspects of shipping and the respective needs, including, dry dock repairs, modifications, and conversions. Prompt delivery schedules, response time, cost-effectiveness, and professional expertise in the field have earned WSR an enviable reputation and a sustainable market share within the industry. While all our clients used to receive uninterrupted service in every port, in some instances the pandemic forces several port facilities to limit their resources and causes delays.
With extraordinary work from our team, and in closer cooperation with our principals and clients, we manage to complete more projects than ever before last year, closing in a historic high since the beginning of the company.
Nevertheless, for almost two years, we have managed to continue uninterrupted offering our services at a higher scale with exceptional growth as a result of our ability and experience of the last 20 years in the market, with our associates and principals, but nothing would have been possible if we haven’t had the best team of people to work under difficult situations round the clock.
We had to relocate most of our people to work from home, on a mode that many have never operated before. That was of course a challenge, but with our state-of-the-art ERP/CRM, and communication software, we managed in a weekend to run on full capacity the whole of operations, from multiple locations.
This was the time for companies claiming 24/7/365 to prove it. We did.
For our service arm, and our service engineers in Singapore Cyprus, Greece, and China, grounding was the best chance to enhance their knowledge thus we run several online training sessions for new techniques and refreshing courses regarding all services.
Furthermore, in this turbulence environment, we manage to grow by opening our station in China, offering local services with an experienced team of engineers, based in Zhoushan Island, and our business collaboration for expansion in the German market, right in the middle of the pandemic era.
Our team of people in Greece and Cyprus had to cope with the increase of demand, of services and increase of our sales, right in the middle of the pandemic. It is proof that business can be done from anywhere anytime. However, meeting people through computer applications, is not a long-term solution. We all need to get our life back and reintegrate our workforce into a work environment in order to reestablish our culture, our values and continue developing, as humans, as a society, as an industry.
Personally, I am optimistic. I look at the glass half full, and never cry over spilled milk. I can, with confidence tell you that the sun always shines after the storm. However, embracing the storm can also prove beneficial as “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.”
UW Group CEO