It has been a good year for cruise sector newcomer OSM Maritime Group (OSM), which started providing crew management services to cruise ships and other passenger vessels last year.
With customers like adventure travel operator Hurtigruten and ferry line DFDS in its portfolio, OSM has quickly adapted to ensure it has the necessary qualifications to provide high quality services to the cruise industry. In fact, OSM has added two new vessels and around 120 deck, engine, hotel and catering, and medical professionals to its books since January 2017.
According to Geir Ranneberg Nilsen, head of Cruise Service Management, OSM is prepared to take its fair share of the market and has a clear strategy on how to succeed. “OSM’s advantage is first of all in our company history – we are close to our customers and offer high competency in all our offices worldwide,” he says. “It’s also safe to state that our crew selection process gives us another advantage.”
Crew selection is never random at OSM. The process involves finding the right person with the right set of skills and qualifications for a specific position on a certain vessel, explains Nilsen. “My goal is always that OSM’s onboard personnel, and the hotel and catering personnel in particular, should aim to exceed international five-star hospitality standards.”
On the opposite side of the globe in OSM’s Catering Academy in Manila, Philippines, manager Markus Gfeller shares the same goal when he’s looking for the right people among the applicants.
“We take pride in our efficient and clear talent recruitment process,” he says. “All applicants are assessed and screened by technical experts to ensure that qualification and competence standards are met. Professionalism, a passion for service and excellence in hospitality are principles we anticipate from all applicants before we acquaint them with our own corporate values.”
OSM has a strong focus on the individual needs of each vessel, customer and crew member. To enhance its overall understanding and performance, OSM considers all operational parameters, vessel and customer requirements, and then matches them with the crew that have the best profiles and experience.
Michelle Lao Cubelo, OSM crewing manager for the Hurtigruten and DFDS vessels, explains that tailoring the services to what the customers really need, very much applies for the cruise segment too.
“Upon the customer’s request, we personally deliver the crew onboard and we act as an agent to all new crew members,” she says. “This creates a close connection between the customer, the crew and the onshore team. We also see that the cooperation between the different levels is better because we get to meet the captain, the officers and other staff in person during the delivery. It creates valuable connections.”