A New Mindset, Strong Client Relationships, and Innovation – how do you establish a Global Aftermarket Services Business?

By Brian Scorer, Aftermarket Services Director at Alderley

10 June 2021

One of the reasons for Alderley’s longevity has been its ability to innovate not just in terms of developing and delivering new cutting-edge technology and solutions but also in how we respond to our clients’ ever-evolving needs.

The part of the business I am responsible for – Aftermarket Services – is one such example.  For many years Alderley has enjoyed growth based on a strong capital business in which we work with clients to refine their needs and create a solution. 

Our global base of clients need more than just delivery.  They require a comprehensive range of aftermarket services to ensure that they are getting the best out of the technology and solutions that we deliver. 

By helping our clients capitalise on their existing portfolios and installed base, Alderley has been able to drive significant growth while developing long-term relationships with clients right across the world in key markets such as Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Asia.

Different strokes for different folks

For this reason, Alderley set up its Aftermarket Services business in 2019.  Creating a new offer required a new mindset.  An aftermarket services business follows a successful capital one but functions completely differently from it.  Aftermarket is about having the capability to provide a client what they want when they want itThis demands a new approach.

Aftermarket services is about enhancing the value and efficiency of our clients’ key assets – it is about making existing technology work better through innovation.  It requires problem-solving capabilities, speed, and agility as well as an understanding of local conditions. 

A strong commitment to localisation is key – operating conditions and requirements in Singapore, for example, are different to those in India.  For example, upgrading water treatment at offshore platforms is a technical challenge whatever the geography.  But you also must consider on-the-ground conditions and how regulation towards localisation fits in.

Ultimately though it is about developing a lasting relationship with the machinery you have built and the clients that now operate it.

Singapore FPSO case study

A great example is the work Alderley did to support a client on a FPSO (Floating Production Storage and Offloading) redeployment in Singapore.  The challenge was to convert and extend the life of an existing vessel under strict deadlines by refurbishing the cargo valve hydraulic control system. 

With the vessel’s systems dating to 1991, Alderley’s engineers were tasked with upgrading them to meet current requirements such as enhanced performance while ensuring fit with space and weight limitations.

Yet through a local team deployed on the ground supported by global technical expertise in Great Yarmouth (UK), we were able to mobilise very quickly.  This contributed to the world’s fastest brownfield FPSO modification and redeployment project.

Innovation

The FPSO example is instructive of the need to bring cutting edge innovation to clients that urgently need it.  Innovation is what gives you the edge, and it is integral in all aftermarket services – from commissioning to system enhancement regardless of the OEM. 

Our work in metering where we have made systems more accurate and dependable through Condition Based Monitoring applications is a good example of the innovation that drives a thriving aftermarket services business. 

We have provided metering system integration capability into Saudi Arabia and are now the primary supplier of flow measurement and custody transfer solutions for Saudi Aramco.

Similarly, we have developed mobile proving and calibration services in the UAE for use across the Middle East.  This solution enables us to calibrate an operator’s liquid metering system at site helping to ensure ongoing measurement system performance and reducing the costs associated with off-site calibration and downtime.

As the world becomes ever more aware of the threat from cyber security, there is a strong role for digital upgrades as part of any aftermarket services offer.

Cyber Security has a strong role in Aftermarket Services

For a recent cyber security upgrade project Alderley partnered with Schneider.  The project built on a long-standing relationship with a major international gas company in the Middle East where a local team had been deployed for some time.

The upgrade protected a total of four LNG trains, consisting of 18 control rooms and 24 custody metering skids.  It became the first independent domain control cyber security network to be installed by a metering system integrator in the Middle East and delivered a functional, secure closed network in full compliance with Industrial Control System (ICS) regulations.

Importantly, since implementation, the client has reported zero cyber security incidents.  Client demand for cyber security and the necessary upgrades will only grow further in the years ahead.

A Window of Opportunity for Aftermarket Services

As the global economy recovers following the pandemic, there is an opportunity to do things differently and build more sustainable organisations.  Technological developments in oil and gas such as carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS) will be critical to achieve this. 

Aftermarket services provides opportunities for low carbon technologies too – developing and retrofitting the latest solutions to enhance efficiency while maintaining safe and effective energy operations. 

Overall, grounds for optimism are strong as the oil price pushes above $70 a barrel and as companies look to innovate technically and commercially.  If we get this right as an industry, the results will be spectacular.

Brian is Global Aftermarket Services Director at Alderley plc and has worked in the energy industry for over 25 years.

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