Dan Sten Olsson - October 2021
SPHERE FORUM 2021
This year Sphere Forum was a digital event. And even if we missed the chance to meet I still think it was valuable to gather all participants digitally around important topics for Stena going forward. A lot has been difficult during the last years. Many of us have lost a friend or a relative.
And it has been different in many ways. Some things have been different in a good way, but many things have been different in a bad way. Most of our businesses have been forced to cut costs, change and think differently. All of our marine business areas are struggling. But we have learnt a lot during the setbacks. We are doing things differently today. And outside shipping, all our business areas are doing better than ever. That is a big advantage of being a conglomerate.
Difficult times require fast and difficult decisions. By being brave and taking action to do things differently, we are managing the increasing challenges.
We are innovative, we remain customer focused and we provide quality in every-thing we do. And despite our setbacks, we like being challenged.
In Stena we are proud of our way to act by our delegated businessmanship principle. Everyone is an individual. Nobody is a number. This principle enables each one of us to take responsibility and act fast and remain customer focused. But in order to make good decisions in difficult times, we need to communicate and help each other. We need to use each other’s competences, ideas, perspectives and learnings. This is why our Sphere Forum is so important. It gives our management teams a platform to get to know each other and build the necessary trust enabling all of us to help each other.
Nevertheless I think we have managed the pandemic in the best possible way. We acted early and with force, we didn’t think this was something that would just pass, but considered the consequences, took action to adapt to a new reality and secured everything we could. I am grateful for this and want to thank everyone for doing their best during this difficult time.
MOVING ON WITH NEW ENERGY IN A SUSTAINABLE WAY
Our operations are run in a good way. But do the odd and new things happen? Or? Have we fallen into a rhythm where we only do what is required and maybe not more than so. We have managed to reduce our costs, which is great. But we need to stay hungry, young and improve things continuously. What new things have we accomplished to improve our relations with our customers? With the world changing faster than ever again, we need to be agile and we need to sweat to make sure we accomplish more. I want us all to feel a little bit like the new leaves and flowers during spring time. We just can’t wait, we are so eager. I want bud bursting! So I encourage you all to burst into action and raise the ambition for us to accomplish new things.
It makes me think of sustainability. Sustainability is high on Stena’s agenda. Sustainability is nothing new to us. It has been a common thread throughout the business for many years. But we have not talked about it as sustainability. To me sustainability is about combining being useful with care. Being useful and care are values that we have lived by for decades.
By combining the two perspectives we contribute both to the success of our customers and to society at large. According to me the two perspectives do not contradict each other, they reinforce each other. Being a family owned company we have always had a long-term perspective on our business and our contribution to society at large. As a leader in Stena you and everybody else are responsible for finding solutions and opportunities combining being useful with care. That is our way of working sustainably.
Sustainability creates both opportunities and challenges for us. For some business areas, e.g. Stena Bulk and Stena Drilling, the challenges are bigger and we need to pay attention to how we manage these businesses from a risk perspective, covering both reputational risks and brand, access to external financing and the risk of our assets quickly losing value.
But there are also opportunities for us in the transition. By leveraging historic Stena strengths such as high quality, strong technical know-how and innovative capabilities our ambition is to use our strengths to take advantage of the opportunities that transition to new fuels, more efficient operations and development of new vessels create.
The transition towards sustainable solutions will come at a substantial cost. However both Stena and the wider industry has historically proven to be quite resilient, when it comes to adapting to technological, regulatory and commercial shifts. In close collaboration with our most important partners I hope we can continue to deliver customer solutions to an industry and world in transition.
STRENGTHS TO BUILD ON
Two of Stena’s strengths are our customer focus and the delegated businessmanship. Our customers are the starting point for all business and by always focusing on what our customers need and by contributing to their success we make sure that we stay relevant. That will always be important. Our delegated businessmanship is a prerequisite for reaching a strong customer focus. The people closest to the customers should be able to make decisions and run the business.
Businessmanship and customer focus are related and reinforce each other.
The last 1,5 years has been very special. We have had to act differently and do different things than usual. We have become a lot better at using digital tools. Digital meetings in Teams have become daily routine and in a way the world has become smaller.
Digital forms of meetings also create many alternate opportunities. It is very democratic as everyone participates on equal terms.
However the physical meetings are very valuable in order to create energy and build trust. Going forward we must use the best of this and use the digital tools to connect the world, keep close contact and at the same time complete this with the important physical meetings that we humans need so much.
LEARNINGS FROM SPHERE FORUM
At the Sphere Forum this year I personally learnt more about the future of energy. Electricity is of course the new thing. The demand is more enormous than anyone can imagine. It will give us a lot of opportunities on land as well as on the sea. At the same time alternative fuels and fossil fuels will support our present infrastructures.
I also learnt a lot more about the power of Asia and especially the power of Asian youth. Young Asian people will migrate outside Asia and I hope many well-educated women and men among them will seek employment with us.
There will be many new forms of how we are going to work. It will be demanding to find out and meet the new requirements.
But the biggest area to be concerned about is the future unknowns.
The future unknowns are not only a threat. They will also give us a lot of opportunities and we must remember to stay focused on current and future customers.
I hope we all keep on learning something new or reflect on new thoughts.
Please remember that if you can think of and realize one good new idea every year you are doing very well. Somebody told me. Einstein had really only three good ideas in his lifetime. On the other hand they were really, really very good ideas.
In conclusion I once again would like to encourage you to use the collective knowledge, wisdom and experience within our Stena sphere. Nobody knows everything and everybody knows something. So learn from each other, take action and focus on our customers and our business.
By our actions we can invent our future.
Dan Sten Olsson
Göteborg 24 September 2021
QUESTIONS OR SUGGESTIONS? GET IN TOUCH