High capacity opens doors to new interior material suppliers

With several ships for the Northern European markets in the order book, Scandinavian design is particularly sought after by Meyer Turku’s shipyard in Finland. The growth provides opportunities also for Danish suppliers.

“Many of the medium sized factories that we are using are facing limitations in terms of the capacity,” says Olli Förbom, Purchaser at Shipbuilding Completion Oy. A subsidiary of German-owned Meyer Turku, the company is responsible for complete turn-key areas, including the interior design and construction, for ships built at the yard in Turku.

Here, the growing market means that more cruise vessels are now built per year, while the norm has been more per year in the past.

”This is putting a certain strain on our suppliers, many are having difficulties finding skilled manpower to ramp up their production. We are working towards creating a larger supplier base to ensure adequate capacity and to ensure competition amongst our suppliers in all aspects,” says Olli Förbom.

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Scandinavian design wanted

From building ships for the American market, currently the order backlog until 2020 for Shipbuilding Completion Oy consists of ships for the German and Baltic markets.

”This has changed the requirements for the interiors quite a lot, with architects looking to create a more minimalistic and clean Scandinavian design to match the requirements of the customers,” says Olli Förbom, who in that context sees potential for Danish suppliers.

“In the past, we have used several Swedish suppliers, partly due to their proximity, and Danish products remain somewhat unknown. However, Denmark’s location for us is ideal, positioned between our yards in Germany and in Finland, while being close enough for items to arrive quickly via carrier when needed,” says Olli Förbom.

While there is a need to expand the supplier base, timing has to be right for the suppliers to be considered for orders.

”There is a fairly long lead-time, and we are already quite far in planning the interiors of the next ships, so you have to be willing to enter the market for the long term to build up your business, and you have to know the processes to be at the right place at the right time.”

Help ensure an effective setup

Typically, the initial contact is established by suppliers filling in a form at Shipbuilding Completion Oy’s website or at industry fairs. When evaluating new suppliers, Olli Förbom and his colleagues look at the potential for building a long-lasting partnership that may simplify the building process or will help the company achieve its goals more efficiently.

”We are continuously striving to limit the amount of hours used on completing the ships on our side. That means we welcome suppliers who are able to simplify the workprocesses in terms of sourcing and building, deliver a complete setup to match our needs,” says Olli Förbom. Usually, the products that are required are individually designed or adapted to the vision of the architects.

”This means that in-house design capabilities are often an advantage: For instance, a supplier who can deliver a mock-up and final design for a sofa based on our specifications, can help ensure a smoother process for both parties,” says Olli Förbom. He also considers the potential suppliers’ approach to sustainability to be an increasingly important parameter when entering into new partnerships.