Page 20: of Marine Technology Magazine (March 2007)
AUVs, ROVs, UUVs
TSS (International) is a world leader in subsea inertial navigation systems and cable and pipe tracking. MTR discussed the company and market with John Frost. — by Greg Trauthwein
MTR Please give us some background on yourself.
Frost I started my career in 1964 after leaving school with technical qualifications, and become a full inden- tured student appentice with Smiths Industries. As a char- tered engineer and full member of the Institue of
Electrical Engineers, I joined Sperry Gyroscope in 1971 working in a number of engineering and management roles on memory systems, naval products and weapon sys- tems. In 1981 I joined ML Aviation (now Cobham
Industries) progressing to Production Director running a multi-site operation involved with pyrotechnic devices and aircraft weapon system interfaces. In 1995 I joined
Vosper Thornycroft, progressing to General Manger for
VT Controls, which produced platform management sys- tems for the naval industry. Following the sale so the busi- ness to Rolls-Royce, I ran an aero engine control business and marine equipment business for the VT Group as managing director, before leaving them to facilitate a management buy out of VT TSS & SG Brown. The newly formed business, renamed TSS (International) has been running and very successfully expanding its opera- tions within the defense and oil and gas markets. A five- year growth strategy has been implemented which will see substantial investment in R&D and enable the company to maintain its position at the forefront of technology.
MTR What are the most significant changes that have occurred in the industry in the last 5 years.
A] The subsea telecoms crash in early 200 greatly affected
TSS' detection business, but that is now recovering.
B] The huge increase in accuracy for heading and attitude sensors mainly due to the availability of fiber optic and ring laser technology that is becoming available to the commercial markets.
C] The major trend over the last fives years has seen an increasing rate of company acquisitions and consolida- tions. To TSS' credit, we have movd in the opposite direc- tion, with the management buy out from VT Group (in
August 2005), which has enabled us to maintain our inde- pendence and given us the flexibility to invest more resources into our research and development.
MTR How has the industry changed since you began you career?
Frost Other than technology, the principles of business are unchanged. You must give your customers the best value for price and be prepared to engage into a long term relationship.
TSS: On the Right Track 20 MTR March 2007
John Frost on efficient manufacturing: "The challenge is consistency. Most people can bring something from an idea to a prod- uct, but to efficiently make many products over a long period you need consistency.
People will change, processes won't."
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