Εκτύπωση

INTERVIEW

08 Απριλίου 2020.

 

COSTIS FRANGOULIS

 

 

Franman: “Your Business,

Our Obsession”

 

 

costisfrangoulis1Mr Costis Frangoulis states: «Αn unexpected meeting with Ann Essman, who was then the Vice President of a US company that developed tank level gauging systems for tankers, METRITAPE, changed my life. I decided to draw my own wheel and set up my own business. I founded Franman in May 1991, representing METRITAPE, which had a large share of the Greek market at that time».

Mr Costis Frangoulis says about Franman: «Franman strives to be a leader in the Greek and international markets and we have continued to expand our partnerships and offerings to a wide range of shipowners. It is not easy to maintain so many partnerships. We want to provide the best possible service to our customers and provide them with many solutions, this means we need to be innovative and always one step ahead of the market».

Mr Costis Frangoulis also mentioned: «It is very important for us to put the time and effort into constantly evolving as a business, and not resting or being content with what we have already achieved».

About COVID-19 crisis Mr Frangoulis says: «I do not believe that the world has experienced a similar situation with a pandemic outbreak of this capacity.

In shipping, which as we all know is a cyclical market, I have experienced four recessions since our formation. We are now applying damage mitigation and risk control management practices to ensure we exit this crisis again stronger and wiser than before».

Mr Costis Frangoulis points out that: «We’ll be lucky if it’s just a three-quarter long recession. As a result of the decrease in the worldwide demand for goods and services, shipping will also be obviously affected. But, hopefully, we will see a sharp increase in demand and rates in Q4 2020 or Q1 2021. This is likely going to be initiated by a strong increase in demand from China who looks to be emerging from this crisis first».

About strategy in today's fast-moving world: «Our strategy is now changing from offense to defense as the conditions have changed and will continue to be very challenging. We need to be in a position to adapt and act according to these new circumstances».

Persistent, incompatible, perfectionist. According to Mr Frangoulis success means to achieve his goals without deviating from his values and principles.

 

 

Interview to: Georgia Ermidi

 

Could you tell me the History of your company from the foundation until now?

 

As soon as I had finished my studies in economics in London, and fulfilled my military service in the Navy, I was preparing to start work in the finance department of Niarchos London Ltd. But an unexpected meeting with Ann Essman, who was then the Vice President of a US company that developed tank level gauging systems for tankers, METRITAPE, changed my life. I decided to draw my own wheel and set up my own business. I founded Franman in May 1991, representing METRITAPE, which had a large share of the Greek market at that time.

 Since then, and for almost three decades now, Franman has provided a wide range of services to the shipping industry, focused on shipbuilding equipment, spare parts, ship repairs and service, maritime security, and consulting. Franman now represents 132 leading corporations promoting their equipment, products and services in Greece and 18 other shipowning nations to over 600 customers.

 

How easy is to perform the service to your clients in a high level prospect?

 

It is both very easy and very difficult at the same time. It is difficult because it requires a strict focus on the end deliverable, which is the satisfaction of our client’s needs and compliance with their requirements. This, in turn, requires dedication, devotion, and a strong work ethic. At the same time, it is very easy because I really love my work and I am fortunate to be surrounded by people who share the same work philosophy - making the work of meeting and exceeding our clients' needs seem easy.

 

What was your greatest success?

 

The decision to follow my own path, founding Franman, hiring the right key people to staff the company, and selecting the right partners to co-operate with have all been key to the company's success.

 

What strategy do you follow?

 

I choose to work with people I like and with partners who share the same business philosophy. Chemistry is always very important to me. We work hard, train hard, and chase business very aggressively. As a person, I am a perfectionist and this is something I expect from my people. We always focus on offering the highest level of service to our clients and partners.

 

What are the advantages of your company?

 

Franman strives to be a leader in the Greek and international markets and we have continued to expand our partnerships and offerings to a wide range of shipowners. It is not easy to maintain so many partnerships. We want to provide the best possible service to our customers and provide them with many solutions, this means we need to be innovative and always one step ahead of the market. An example of this is when we introduced our ship security management model in 2013 to the international markets. It is very important for us to put the time and effort into constantly evolving as a business, and not resting or being content with what we have already achieved.

Having said that, I think our main advantage is the way all Franman's staff have adopted and put into practice the spirit of our company motto “Your Business, Our Obsession”. We all understand what it translates to for our customers.

costisfrangoulis1

These days it is hard not to talk about COVID-19. Which are the big challenges for work in the pandemic Covid-19?

 

Unquestionably it is to maintain the uninterrupted supply of our high-quality services to our clients. This has been our goal and the biggest challenge since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. The nature of shipping in general and of Franman’s activities in particular, has meant we are all used to the remote working concept, thus we were well-prepared operationally.

From early March it was clear we needed to be proactive and decisive in our actions and I made the decision for Franman staff to move to 100% remote working. This enabled us, and our clients, to benefit from our investment in IT and communications infrastructures, backup by the fantastic support of our inhouse IT department. As the Covid-19 situation developed overseas, it was very clear our priority had to be the health and well-being of our personnel.

 

What have you found to be the single toughest nut to crack in this situation?

 

As we moved into this uncharted situation, I thought maintaining the morale of my people was going to be the toughest part of the job. But, to be frank, it wasn't so hard as our team is well trained and highly experienced at performing under challenging conditions.

 

What impact do you expect this crisis to have in the shipping market?

 

Every region in the world has gone into an economic free-fall. It's a bit like a catastrophic asteroid hit the Earth. We cannot say how severe this recession is going to be, but it is going to be severe. We’ll be lucky if it’s just a three-quarter long recession. As a result of the decrease in the worldwide demand for goods and services, shipping will also be obviously affected. But, hopefully, we will see a sharp increase in demand and rates in Q4 2020 or Q1 2021. This is likely going to be initiated by a strong increase in demand from China who looks to be emerging from this crisis first.

 

How are you and your company handling the COVID-19 situation?

 

I am extremely gratified and proud that the entire team continues to provide high levels of service without disruption. Our management team responded to this crisis early and decisively, which allowed us to prepare well. I am pleased to say that, so far, the entire team is safe, healthy and well and united as never before.

On the business front, we are flexible, resilient, and adaptable. These will be key traits all companies and individuals will need to get through this significant disruption. 

 

During your career, have you ever been in a difficult situation or a global crisis like this before, and how did you address the situation?

 

I do not believe that the world has experienced a similar situation with a pandemic outbreak of this capacity.

In shipping, which as we all know is a cyclical market, I have experienced four recessions since our formation. We are now applying damage mitigation and risk control management practices to ensure we exit this crisis again stronger and wiser than before.

 

What type of initiatives were you planning in 2020 before the virus crisis began and how have they been affected?

 

We were planning a series of technical events to inform our clients about scrubbers and BWT systems, as well as an event to inform clients about the piracy situation in the Gulf of Guinea. These have all now been postponed.

We are now evaluating whether to further postpone them or to carry out webinars with the same content.

We had also planned several in-house training seminars which I am glad to say are being carried out remotely with great success.

Several business trips to existing and potential clients and principals abroad have been obviously canceled as well as visits to clients in Greece together with principals and in general.

The same applies to attending shipping conferences, events, and exhibitions worldwide including our participation at the 2020 Posidonia exhibition, where we had planned our biggest stand ever and which, at the current time, has been moved to October this year.

costisfrangoulis4

What is the main goal that you seeks to achieve in 2020?

 

First of all, I wish for all of us at Franman, and for all our friends and partners, to stay healthy.

Business-wise our goal for 2020 is to continue the uninterrupted servicing of our clients' needs. Our strategy is now changing from offense to defense as the conditions have changed and will continue to be very challenging. We need to be in a position to adapt and act according to these new circumstances. Of course, our aim is to close this year with a positive balance sheet.

 

What types of initiatives are you planning to build when this crisis is over?

 

It seems perhaps too early to plan for when the crisis is over. However, I would be more than willing to participate in initiatives aimed at raising awareness for the health and safety of those employed in the shipping industry and especially for the ships’ crews, who I feel are being neglected and taken for granted by much of the international community and general public. Those in the shipping industry know the personal sacrifices crew are being asked to make - while they keep international trade moving during this crisis.

 

With the Coronavirus covid-19 and the grave disruptions it has caused in global trade are you concerned about the long-term effect on the shipping industry?

 

I am optimistic about the long term prospects of both the shipping industry and global trade. I believe this severe recession will be followed by a boom in demand for goods globally when the COVID-19 crisis is behind us.

costisfrangoulis2

Mr. Costis Frangoulis is the President of the International Propeller Club of the United States, Port of Piraeus

 

Mr. Frangoulis you are also the President of the International Propeller Club of the United States Port of Piraeus. What is your vision?

 

This year the International Propeller Club, Port of Piraeus celebrates its 85th Anniversary, and I feel great honor for being at the helm of this historic institution.

Over previous years, the Propeller has achieved a lot. My vision is to move even further forward and I will do the utmost to represent the Club to the best of my ability.

 

What is your philosophy of life and work?

 

Work hard and play hard.

 

How would you describe yourself in three words?

 

Persistent, incompatible, perfectionist

 

What success means to you?

 

Achieving my goals without deviating from my values and principles.

costisfrangoulis3