With 18 strategically located branches throughout North America, Europe, and Asia, W&O is a 24/7, can-do company ready to exceed your expectations. With a dedicated cruise department, they are your one stop source for pipe, piping systems, valves, fittings, and engineered solutions. Check out how they are constantly staying at the top of their game.
Can you tell us a bit about W&O Supply?
We’ve been in business for 43 years now and our core products are pipe, valves, and fittings. However, over the years, specifically the last seven, we have really expanded our products into what we call Engineered Solutions – products that require a higher level of technical expertise, pre and post sales support, and customer communications. We have strong relationships with our customers and it was at their request that we grew our product offering to include ballast water treatment systems, cryogenic valves and piping systems, penetration sealing systems, and thermoplastic piping systems – just to name a few.
As one of the world’s largest suppliers of pipe, valves, fittings, engineered products and automation, W&O is a well-recognized brand in the marine industry. Can you tell us a bit about how you stay at the top of your game?
It’s the passion we have for the marine industry and the close relationships with our customers. Our passion drives us to stay in tune with industry changes, economic cycles, and regulatory initiatives. We are inquisitive and geeks about ships and how they work. So, we are constantly gauging the “winds of change” and are curious about new and old faithful products that make vessel run efficiently. In addition, by working so close with our customers, we rely on each other to exchange ideas to help both parties stay on top of industry shifts and technological advancements.
The increased focus on sustainability over the last few years has led to some unique needs in ship building and retro-fitting. How are you adapting to fit the growing concern?
The marine industry has regulatory bodies and certification societies that guide many aspects of the industry, including product-specific requirements. One of W&O’s strengths is staying on top of these requirements and the frequent changes/modifications so that we can support our customers. For example, the 2020 Sulphur Cap will be here before we know it (January 1, 2020). We are already working with customers to help them avoid expensive time losses and increased costs for urgent, last minute product purchases. While we do not offer scrubber systems, we have several products that integrate with scrubbers such as seawater system valves, process and technical water systems, alkali (NaOH) feed systems and piping systems. Since ships are constantly moving around the global, we have products strategically located in three W&O “scrubber solution hubs” in Rotterdam, Houston and Singapore.
How do you see technology and cruise trends affecting the future of the shipbuilding industry?
We see the cruise industry leading in a lot of the technological aspects because the nature of their business is extremely consumer driven. New, high tech vessels are an attraction for cruise-goers so the industry has to stay on top of their game to make sure vessels are moving and generating revenue. There is also the efficiency aspect of cruise shipping which continues to push technology trends in the engineering spaces of the vessel operation. Many of these advancements require better systems control and automation which was not possible in the past. These advancements continue to push the shipbuilding industry to create more efficient greener vessels.