Page 22: of Marine Technology Magazine (March 2007)
AUVs, ROVs, UUVs
22 MTR March 2007
MTR What would you say (so far) has been the pin- nacle of your career?
Frost The pinnacle of my career has undoubtedly been in recent times the acquisition of TSS (International)
Ltd., as this has allowed me to apply my management philosophies without larger corporation policy interfer- ence. The risk versus reward opportunities are greater, but that makes life more exciting.
MTR What investments is your company making that are intended for the long-term health of the company?
Frost We have derived a five-year strategy for the busi- ness and within each product/market sector we have indi- vidual strategies for future technology and/or products.
Considering the size of our business, we have a very diverse technology and product base, and although fur- ther acquisition is something we may consider over the next three years, we can achieve our shorter term objec- tives by focusing ourselves on our current products and markets.
MTR What is you annual R&D expenditure?
Frost Approximately 16% of our costs are spent on
R&D, and this has been increasing and will continue to do so in order to maintain our position as a leading tech- nology provider. Currently our main projects are within the subsea detection area, and the inertial navigation area where we are working with two highly regarded UK
Universities to expand the boundaries of technology. We have 70 percent of the pipe and cable tracing business in the world. We're also aware that future technology depends on technology that can find cables and pipes at greater depths. Coming in 2008/09 will be our next gen- eration subsea detection products.
MTR How have industry and/or customer demands affected your product and service offering?
Frost TSS built its reputation on the highest level of customer service. Our industry demands it. Customers have come to expect 24-hour service. In addition o our
Watford, UK headquarters, TSS offers sales and service departments in Aberdeen, Scotland and Houston, Texas.
TSS also has a premier worldwide network of authorized sales representatives.
MTR What do you consider the most important trends in your business to be?
Frost Changes in technology and keep up with it is interesting, but recognizing what is out ther and making the correct timely decisions to capitalize on which tech- nology to use is key to this fast-moving industry.
MTR What are the top priorities, project-wise, in the coming year or two?
Frost TSS is currently working on a number of new, exciting projects, including a range of Inertial Navigation
Products - the first of which, Orion, will be launched at the Ocean Business exhibition (Southampton, UK) in
March 2007. Apart from providing very accurate surface and subsea navigation and positioning, these systems will provide many other features such as cost-effective solu- tions for electronic/hydraulic control systems for ROVs and other mobile subsea and surface machinery, for exam- ple, this will improve remote tooling accuracy and allow
John Frost on bringing a product from R&D to the market: "Most companies are full of great ideas, the key is to identify the products that will become a business line. You must keep them (developers) focused, as it is so easy for these bright people to go off on a tangent, looking for the next great idea before the first one is finished.
That said, you have to be flexible enough to world changes, to either re-engineer or kill a product if necessary."
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