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Andy Millar Appointed Americas Region Sales Director for Wilhelmsen Ships Service

By MarEx 2012-07-16 11:23:38

MarEx recently caught up wtih Mr. Millar to discuss his new position.

Wilhelmsen Ships Service (WSS) has appointed former UK General Manager Andy Millar as Sales Director for the Americas region.

Having spent more than 25 years in the maritime industry, Millar joined Wilhelmsen Ships Service in 2000 as an account manager and was part of a UK sales team focusing on large London-based customers and UK cruise customers.

In 2002, Millar was appointed Sales Manager for the UK and was instrumental in setting up its’ customer service operation. Since becoming general manager for the UK in 2008, Millar has overseen tremendous growth throughout the region through the utilisation of both existing and new business offers including Liferaft Rental, Ships Agency Re-Defined (SARD) and Ships Spares Logistics. Most recently, Millar managed the successful integration of the recently acquired Nalfleet marine chemicals team.

Regional Vice President for the Americas Colin Hatton said: ”During his time at WSS, Andy has brought a profound understanding of the maritime business into his management of UK operations. His move into the Regional Sales Director role will allow him to bring his drive and focus to the sales organisation in the Americas”.

Before joining WSS, Millar spent time at sea with P&O Containers and has operational experience in various shore based Marine Superintendent, operational and purchasing roles, working with  various Ship Registries to provide practical solutions for the implementation of International Safety Regulations.

Millar said: ”The US shipping industry has continued to experience steady growth despite the general worldwide economy over the past couple of years, and I am looking forward to building on the strong foundations that already exist to provide customers in the region with an efficient, joined up portfolio of ships services.”

Executive Profile: Andy Millar, Sales Director of the Americas Region, WSS:

MarEx: Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.

Millar: I’m a native of the United Kingdom and grew up around London. I have always had an interest in the sea and the maritime industry - some of my earliest memories are being on sailing dinghies and being inspired by the sight of vast cargo ships in the ports of Southampton, Rotterdam and sailing off the coast of the English Channel, which ultimately led to me joining P&O.

I joined P&O as a cadet and spent most of my time on containerships, gaining my Master’s ticket, at which stage I came ashore to become part of the Marine Operations team for P&O Containers in London. In 1996 I joined Blue Star Ship Management before joining Wilhelmsen Ships Service in 2000.

MarEx: What is your experience in the maritime industry?

Millar: Before taking this new role, I was General Manager for WSS in the UK, focusing on developing operations, customer services and sales. The UK is still an exciting place to be in maritime terms  as it remains an important location in the global industry.  During my career, I have had the fortune to work with class and flag states and other bodies, all of whom take a key role in defining our industry, an experience afforded by many of them having their headquarters there.

MarEx: Is there anyone you look up to or that has inspired you in your professional career?

Millar: There have been several people who have inspired me throughout my career, from my next door neighbor growing up, who sailed in the merchant navy and inspired me to do the same - to colleagues and friends who have played a part in developing  and shaping the maritime industry and help make it what it is today.

In fact, the diversity is what I love about this business. We have so many characters and entrepreneurs who inspire change and lead development. That’s what makes it a vibrant, global community, with deep-seated roots in tradition and heritage but grasping technology and innovation too.

MarEx: How would you describe your customer?

Millar: We have a big spread of business so that’s a big question! WSS works across a number of inter-linked markets: safety systems and products, marine chemicals, ships agency and logistics. The US market is made up of customers in many different segments from Cruise to Offshore represented in several different countries, each with their own set of challenges and drivers.

What can be said is that the majority is experiencing the tougher times due to the changing fortunes of the global economy; they are looking to deliver efficiencies within their organizations to ensure that their growth plans for now and the future can be achieved.

MarEx: What value does Wilhelmsen Ships Service offer to its customers?

Millar: In terms of what our customers are looking for from WSS, it has changed from being a simple sales process to one where we get much closer to the customer and understand their business, where they need support and how we can tailor our services to meet that need.

Increasingly that means WSS helping our customers to satisfy quality and competence requirements, providing resources and training that support them onboard ship when using our products. It also means making investments on their behalf – on our liferaft rental program for example, where we stock the inventory and supply it as needed. Our chemicals offer includes an offline portal to help engine-room staff use our products safely and securely.

Of course in the current business climate, our customers are also looking for predictability – in pricing, service levels and products. Our global network means we are able to provide that across all sectors of the business at a local level, in a local language 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

MarEx: What are your goals as Sales Director for the Americas?

Millar: The shipping market in North America is more mature than in other parts of the world, but I’m convinced that the era we are operating in now means there are as many challenges ahead as there were in the past. When you look at the changes in the regulatory landscape and what owners and their crews have to cope with, I think WSS has a key role to play in product groups such as safety products, marine chemicals and marine products.

In all these markets, my aim is to develop both the commercial and customer service offer to enable our customers to realize the operational, financial and safety efficiencies which can be gained by working together with a global organization such as WSS.

MarEx: How many offices/employees will you be managing? Where are they? In what areas of your region is the most growth expected?

Millar: I will be looking after the Customer Services Operation, Key Account and Technical Managers for Americas region, which includes Canada, North, Central and South America.  This team forms an intrinsic part of the region’s sales and customer service operation and the people within it bring many years of valuable experience with WSS products and services which can help them manage our customers’ needs.

In terms of growth, you will see WSS increasingly present in the offshore sector in the Americas, as we leverage the skills base of our maritime business. In addition, the provision of agency services to the cruise sector in the Americas is likely to increase as the industry continues its geographical expansion. With regards to South America, WSS has experienced dramatic growth in the last 24 months, with investment in staff and infrastructure paying dividends in terms of new business wins.

MarEx: What is the most satisfying part of your job?

Millar: I take great pride in knowing that my team, as well as WSS on a global scale, deliver excellent products and services, where and whenever they are needed. Everything that we achieve has a business is based on a team effort and is built on a foundation of our core values that center around shaping the maritime industry. 

Being able to help our customers across a portfolio of products and services means I can be confident that we are there for them, keeping them safe and compliant. That’s a pretty satisfying feeling – it makes it easier to get up in the morning!