Monday, 6 February 2012

International Trading Company (ITC)

Bob and I settled into our new jobs at ITC very quickly. We shared a flat in Manama not far from the British Club in Jufair. The social life was second to none and invitations flowed in from all sorts of people and we were, “Quite the talk of the social circuit”, recounting our trip overland in the Porsche 911.
Saul Manashe and Pete Turner ran ITC – Technical Division. Pete had previously worked for YBS Kanoo – Commercial who was mainly involved in selling various construction and plant equipment. Saul had worked for William Press International who later became AMEC (I had also worked for them in Saudi the year previously) as plant supervisor.
They had both had an idea to set-up a plant maintenance company that could repair and service any type of plant equipment promptly and efficiently.
If your plant equipment broke down and you approached the selling agent or dealer for after sales service, it was almost certainly non-existent. After sales service was not consideration in the Gulf in those days and the usual answer from the Agent was when your machine broke down was, “Buy a new one!”
Saul and Pete started out by selling our professional time by the hour but it soon became clear to Bob and I we should charge for the job, based upon plant downtime of the particular piece of equipment. Every plant operator or contractor had massive penalties imposed for every day late on finishing a job. If for instance, they had a tower crane out of action for a week waiting on flying parts in from the UK, then this would cost them dearly in lost time, whilst our bill was low and insignificant in comparison. So we suggested charging the client a higher fee but by using our skills and expertise get and keep their plant operating and minimise downtime thus saving the contractor thousands in penalties and we made more profit. This was duly adopted and although some site managers winced, they soon bought into the way we worked because everyone was a winner. 

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