– I always focus on opportunities. As in any industry, there will be changes, hopefully for the better. I think it is a matter of willingness to change and adapt. The maritime industry is no exception, says Ove Jensen, CEO of Norsap.
We wanted to learn more about Ove Jensen, his thoughts on leadership and the way forward for Norsap and the maritime industry in a rapidly changing world. So, we have asked him some questions.
Q: What type of leader are you?
A: I am informal and open minded, more of a listener than being constantly talkative. But of course, being a social extrovert person, I also like discussions. I expect and appreciate honestly and direct feedback – both ways. Our employees stay for many years, so I assume it reflects our company culture. In addition, I always try to focus on customer orientated leadership.
Q: What do you find most inspiring in your job?
A: It is difficult to mention only one thing. In our company we strive to have a flat organizational structure. I know the employees – of course, some better than others, and especially the management team. In Norsap, we have a company culture which reflects involvement, fast decisions, focus on quality, honesty, and in general a strong commitment. All our colleagues can in fact influence on our products, improvements and how we work. We are proud to be the world`s leading manufacturer of operator chairs with a strong brand.
We also have owners with a strong interest in the company, and they allow us to invest in new products, skilled people, modern facilities, etc. I think all this in total inspire me to carry on, and of course when our sales department continue their contribution to our growth, developing existing and new customers – what more can I wish for?
Q: What future vision – related to leadership, competence development and sustainability – do you have for the company?
A: We do have KPI’s reflecting our goals. When it comes to leadership, we regularly conduct surveys among all employees to measure employee satisfaction. Our goal is to more than ever set high standards regarding competence among our colleagues. When we are hiring new colleagues, this is always on our mind. We also offer relevant courses to existing employees in order to increase their competences and skills.
At Norsap, we measure the use of energy, packaging, waste, etc. And we evaluate our levels compared to our goals. Sustainability will be, and are today, an important area for everybody – both in our private and professional life. As leaders, we can influence how we act within our own companies and thus contribute to a more sustainable maritime industry.
Q: What is the most important experience you have had last year during the Covid-19 pandemic? How has the pandemic affected the company and organization?
A: I assume none of us could predict a pandemic with such consequences to happen. The importance of acting fast and at the same time keep calm, focus on sales and motivate colleagues in this period, has been both inspiring and challenging. But thanks to our “long-term thinking” owners and the efforts from colleagues, our company are still in good shape – maybe even better than before. I think the most significantly experience is the importance of dedicated colleagues. It is in such a situation that you clearly see who the team players are, who act loyally, and want the best for both the company and their colleagues.
And of course, the importance of continuously good detailed financial management. Never underestimate the importance of always focus on cash flow.
Unfortunately, we had to give some of our colleagues a temporary lay-off. This was necessary to decrease our cost level fast. Many of our most important markets are hit hard by Covid-19. But fortunately, colleagues, dealers, agents and customers are working hard, and through close cooperation we manage to maintain our sales effort by using digital tools. I’m impressed with how all our employees and partners handle this period.
Q: On a personal level, what are you most looking forward doing when the pandemic is finally over?
A: To meet customers and partners. We can of course meet and solve matters through digital meetings, but nothing can replace the personal relationship. In private life, I look forward to gathering friends, traveling and also seeing the youth having a normal life. Overall, I think they are losing some very important social aspects of life. In addition, many newly educated young people are struggling in the job market.
Q: How do you think working life will change in the future, and how will it affect your management?
A: I’m sure we will see less unnecessary business travelling. In our industry, it is easy to get on a plane just for a few meetings. All of us can reduce some travel and be much more efficient by using Teams or similar platforms. We need to meet in person, but maybe not every time. I will also continue our focus on more hand washing to avoid sick leave.
Q: What do you think about the future prospects, challenges and opportunities for maritime companies and the maritime industry?
A: I always focus on opportunities. There are always opportunities! As in any industry, there will be changes, hopefully for the better. I think it is a matter of willingness to change and adapt. The maritime industry is no exception. The industry is global, so we need to focus on our cost level compared to our trading partners. To achieve success, we must be more efficient, digitize and continue to focus on innovation and product development. High quality is a “must”. All the new guidelines coming from the government regarding sustainability give the industry challenges. But in the long run, I think we will still see the industry as leading.
Q: How have you benefitted from the NME membership?
A: We participate in Team Norway-pavilions at exhibitions, at networking events, and also benefit from all the experience within the organization as well as other members. We often use our contacts to ask if there are some issues we need to discuss.
About Ove Jensen
Ove has a bachelor’s degree and Master of Management studies from BI Norwegian Business School. He is 53 years old, married with two children. He has a varied professional background, including many years in the food industry (fast moving consumer goods) where he held positions within marketing, branding and sales management. After a period as Sales and Marketing Director for a leading European plastic converter, and some years as head of a private owned group consisting of several car dealerships, he joined Norsap as CEO in 2012. “I knew the company as a former member of the board, and personally I have always been interested in technical products, especially in the maritime business”, he said.
Norsap AS was established in 1969 and is located in Kristiansand, in the southern part of Norway. The company is a leading manufacturer of Operator Chairs marketed under the Norsap brand. In addition, they offer products for the pleasure boat market, as well as some industrial products that are mainly made of aluminium. Norsap currently has 35 employees and a turnover of approximately 100 million NOK.
Read more about Norsap on www.norsap.no