A focus on compliance and process improvements over the past two years has made a clear difference to the customer perception of the WSS Ships Agency business in the Africa, Middle East, Black Sea and Indian Sub Continent region (AMB).

“There was a lack of consistency in reporting to our customers,” explains Nikolai Norman, regional ship agency director. “We faced large numbers of customer complaints, of which 90% were because of poor communication.”

A one-year project committed through the 2015 Annual Activity Plan was launched to meet 100% GIMS compliance by Ships Agency offices in AMB.  Substantial training programmes were rolled out across the region by regional QHSSE and operations. Training ranged from the Ships Agency Service Manager programme, “Back to Basics” and VOSS (Vessel Operating Support System) training. In the most extreme cases, individual country audits were carried out internally and followed up by spot checks.

During a recent audit, DNV noted considerable improvements that verified the internal findings.

“We went right back to basics in the port offices that caused the most customer complaints. As for 2016, we are about to introduce an accreditation programme called “Blue Flag” that has already been rolled out by our colleagues in AsiaPac. Based on continuous improvements and KPI targets, this will alert us to any problems at an early stage and encourage long-term improvement,” says Norman.

After the two-year cleanup project, customer complaints are significantly down across the region. Norman believes other parts of the WW group can learn from their success. “There was a clear lack of consequences in the company. We can’t afford to be sloppy with our customers because they are what justifies our existence, so we have worked hard to improve the culture, focus and especially discipline. By delivering our services more in line with WW values, we keep our strategically important customers happy and have a platform from which to grow.”