Time to move out of the comfort zone

JANUARY 2016 saw the first steps in another overseas development for John Bell Pipeline as we employed our business development manager Don Wang, based in Singapore to cover the ASEAN region.

This followed exactly a year on from employing Paul Smith, our business development manager in Abu Dhabi to develop our presence in the Middle East.

These were two key moves to establish our business internationally within the oil & gas sector, however within our UK domestic market we saw many opportunities to grow outside oil & gas.

Internationalisation has been at the forefront of John Bell Pipeline’s growth strategy over the past five years.

I have always believed that the key to a company’s success is to be entrepreneurial, be diverse and embrace change.

John Bell Pipeline has been exporting pipeline equipment for over 20 years to various global oil & gas companies.

Over the past 10 years we have seen opportunities to supply our products into other industries such as utilities, nuclear, rail and distilleries.

Being a large stockholding company we supply a wide variety and volume of product, which puts us in a great position to be competitive and supply cross-industries.

This allows us to “ride the storm”, so to speak, if one particular product line is not exceeding expectations.

We can balance that out with another.

We proved this practice could also work with our business development and sustainability strategy.

As the company diversifies and grows, we can limit the negative impact on our bottom line by focusing our efforts on other developing industries.

We are in no way turning our back on the oil & gas industry which has been at the forefront of the success of John Bell Pipeline since we were established in 1976.

We are simply looking at ways to ensure long-term sustainability of the business for the sake of our stakeholders, by focusing outside our usual remit.

This process has been a huge learning curve for me and all others involved. Aberdeen is an area which has been immersed in oil & gas for so many years that for some business leaders, this is all they know.

It is now time for us to move out of our comfort zone and focus on a long term plan.

The UK oil & gas industry is in no means over, the supply chain needs to be smarter as to how we approach it.

In my opinion we need to start looking at other opportunities where we can use the skills and expertise we have already gained from working in such a competitive industrial market.

During recent developments, we felt a real challenge ahead of us due to the falling oil price.

Companies are folding around us, both our suppliers and customers.

Morale in the oil & gas industry in Aberdeen is at an all-time low.

I believe that those who rise to the challenge and put in extra effort to diversify will reap the benefits and come out of these tough conditions stronger and more adaptable to change.

I think this is something all business leaders and managers should embrace.

Staying positive and being a positive role model to your staff is key.

Positivity filters through the team resulting in everyone being on board to rise to the challenge.