Jacques Melman – CEO, Frames – Netherlands
Frames’ CEO Jacques Melman explains how Frames’s proprietary and cost effective technologies are adding value to the market via optimization, its movement into new market sectors with associated technologies, for example with water treatment, and how the company has expanded internationally with a reputation for Dutch workmanship.
What market niche does Frames focus on?
Frames provides the vital link between well and pipeline. For over thirty years, we have designed, delivered and constructed separation, treatment and control and monitoring systems as well as total plant solutions and modules for the international oil and gas market. Initially, Frames focused on the Dutch gas industry, but we have now diversified our portfolio into the oil industry and into new geographies to remain competitive. The company has also experienced increased demand for our services in terms of water treatment with the increasing number of offshore projects globally.
What is the strategic importance of being an international player based out of the Netherlands?
Our Dutch mentality allows us to finish projects quickly, efficiently and cost effective. The knowledge base in the Netherlands surrounding the oil and gas industry is uncanny and being based out of the Netherlands allows the company to remain interconnected to the largest international players.
You have eleven different international offices around the globe. What priority do you give to international markets?
When I started at Frames in the early 1990s, we directed the company towards the international market because of the dwindling Dutch oil and gas market. As a solutions provider for the international market, we have been able to provide the same amazing solutions for the Netherlands abroad. The approximately 20 percent of our business geared towards the Netherlands, however, remains a fundamental basis to the organization. Now with the majority of our business being international, we have opened local offices in order to build better relationships with our clients, use the local supply chain, and have a better understanding of local market conditions. Currently, we have offices around the globe in places such as Houston, Rio de Janeiro, Abu Dhabi, and Kuala Lumpur, which have their own specific roles in the organization and are fundamental to pushing the company to the next level. Overall the international market is very important to the Frames development, and our Dutch roots in combination with our know-how has to bring the competitive advantage in the market place.
The Dutch are known for their relatively forward thinking perspective on the market. With the current oil prices, where does Frames currently stand in this context?
At the moment, we still have a backlog where contracts are in place that reflect the old situation, but our new contracts are going to have to reflect the current condition. The oil price has caused some major changes in the industry with regards to how operations are run. Market challenges have caused Frames to reevaluate the way we do business by further enhancing the value of the services we offer and we have new developments in place to re-evaluate the way in which we assist our clients. We incorporate various additional aspects to make sure our clients’s needs are met in a more cost effective way.
How has your long-standing experience in the industry allowed you to adapt to current market situations and give Frames the ability to remain forward thinking?
First and foremost, I believe that understanding what the client wants is what has allowed Frames to remain competitive in light of market challenges. It has also been our position to create smart solutions knowing what the client wants and optimizing technology, project execution, specifications and supply chain. We look for new avenues to execute projects in a more efficient manner that is representative of current market conditions.
What can account for the company remaining a top solutions provider over the years and what specific services are you currently offering to the upstream sector that allows Frames to remain competitive?
We have developed our company as a solutions provider to the upstream oil and gas industry, and our equipment is specifically designed according to client conditions. Over the past years, we have expanded our technology, with our major focus still on innovative solutions between the well and the pipeline, as well as water.
Competent service is the main focus of our business model, but it is a small part of our overall portfolio being very localized. For example, it does not make sense from an economic point of view, to relocate a Dutch engineer to a foreign location. However, as mentioned earlier over the past years we have opened international offices to offer solutions to the domestic markets and trained local engineers with Frames know-how and standards.
During a time where many companies have not experienced growth, Frames has grown at a reasonable rate. What specific changes have you made to your portfolio to promote efficiency and do you believe your growth is sustainable?
We have grown over the past five years an average of 13-14 percent, which can mainly be attributed to the amazing talent we attract at the company. Frames hires smart and talented individuals who are hard workers and love what they do. Our employees enjoy challenges and share common ambitions to take the company to the next level. Frames’s employees are understanding and adapt to local culture and the environment in which they are doing business. Moreover, we have the perfect mix of young talent that grows with the organization and experienced employees who bring years of knowledge with them. The combination of employees brings the right balance to the company and has helped guide the organization in the right direction.