Leading edge technologies in instrumentation, control, and measurement systems
Plant Solutions Limited of Trinidad and Tobago was founded by Aneal Deonarinesingh in 2001. According to Jason Ramsingh, Plant Solutions’ General Manager, Deonarinesingh was involved in the industrial field products business with another company, when he decided to venture out on his own, thereafter acquiring the Honeywell Instrumentation Company account – a very renowned, multi-national brand in the field of measurement and control products and instruments. At the time, Trinidad was experiencing a lot of investment in the oil and gas, and downstream and midstream petrochemical industries, so, according to Ramsingh, “It was very propitious timing – and an opportunity to take that Honeywell brand and start up Plant Solutions.”
Opening a small office, Deonarinesingh landed a few key clients to whom he supplied Honeywell products, such as monitoring systems, transmitters, sensors, analytic instruments, controllers, etc. The new business quickly prospered and its founder realized substantial revenue in its very first year. “With that windfall,” says Ramsingh, “he recognized that he wanted to grow the business, and to diversify into other product lines and related services.”
Today, Plant Solutions Limited is an ISO 9001 registered, and STOW-certified Industrial Services and Equipment Supply Company. Its clients include oil and gas exploration and production companies, oil and gas service firms, the food and beverage sector, and its main market, the upstream and midstream petrochemical process industries. As a value added service provider, Plant Solutions Limited is capable of supplying measurement and control systems, electrical and instrumentation products, process equipment, and industrial security systems, as well as effectively coordinating and executing the successful project implementation, installation, and commissioning of these systems on a turnkey basis.
Ramsingh came on board a few years after Plant Solutions opened for business with experience in instrumentation sales, offshore oil and gas exploration and production, and construction. “What I was able to do,” he recounts, “was bring the services side of the operation and some of the more administrative skills, to the table. So, we grew over the last fifteen years, and today we have 40 staff. We continued acquiring product lines; Honeywell still remains the flagship product line, but Honeywell, itself has several divisions and we represent the divisions related to automation or industry applications, instrumentation control systems, fire protection, that kind of thing.” The company also has representative relationships with a number of other leading manufacturers, including FMC Measurement Solutions, ReoTemp Instruments, and Versa Valves, among others.
Trinidad is a heavily industrialized country and one of the world’s largest exporters of methanol and ammonia. And Ramsingh readily admits that the relatively small, 2,000 square mile island harbors significant competition within both the engineered products and the services segments of the sector. “There are all these service companies in support of the industry, and all of the other major product lines have representatives in Trinidad and Tobago,” he explains. “So there are about five or six companies that are on our scale that compete with us in the engineered product sales segment of the business and there are probably about six or eight major electrical instrumentation contractors that compete with us on the other side of the business.”
Plant Solutions’ competitive advantage, though, according to Ramsingh, is its ability to integrate the services side of the business with the engineered product sales side, believing that many other companies are overly specialized, or as he states: “Too ‘siloed.’ But our head of projects and head of sales share an office with a high level of collaboration,” he continues. “We have a technical department that supports both of them. And what we encourage is the project and construction operators to go out and say, ‘We can source – we can design equipment or material – we can be a one-stop shop. And the sales people, when they’re selling engineered products, they can say to the client ‘We can install and maintain this for you.’ So there’s a high level of integration, and clients appreciate the ability to have our one-stop-shop when it comes to their industrial challenges and requirements.”
In addition, Plant Solutions portrays itself as a knowledge-based organization. “We constantly research technologies and products and take them to clients, if we see, from a business standpoint, there’s a benefit,” Ramsingh says. “We find technologies, we engage with them, do presentations for them – because the guys in the plants don’t have the time to be going to trade shows or reading a lot of magazines. So, we do the research and we take it to them. We have the ability to synergize and find the current equivalent replacement for an obsolete solution, or the correct combination of equipment for complex solutions.
“And, of course,” he adds, “on the level of customer service, we try to be very flexible. One of our key, core values is flexibility. Even though with growth comes bureaucracy and a bit of rigidity, we still try to be flexible so that we can accommodate various client needs and be extremely responsive; because time is money and is valuable to the client. We recognize that; we instill it across the team and try to be that kind of service provider to the industry and our key clients.”
Most of Plant Solutions’ key clients are located within Trinidad’s own industrial landscape, most notably, the Point Lisas Industrial Estate. “We don’t actively service regional companies,” Ramsingh says. “However, we do market to them electronically. We have provided services and equipment to Barbados, Grenada, Dominica, Surinam, Guyana, and we actually supply to Aruba, as well – including manpower.”
Ramsingh cites two items on Plant Solutions’ immediate corporate agenda: “We are gearing up to acquire the necessary offshore certifications, equipment and people to tap into the upstream, offshore market. Also, there are just one or two really good valve service companies in Trinidad, and clients have been clamoring for valve servicing capability. So, we are gearing up to outfit our shop, because it’s a large and lucrative market.”
Ramsingh realizes that even though the sector, as a whole, has seen better days, it is still a good time both to invest in the company, and to look at ways in which to improve its internal efficiencies. “As we look at the industrial climate, we realize there are a lot of layoffs and downsizing,” he points out. “It’s not that we don’t have challenges, ourselves, with cash flow, but we are using the opportunity to acquire good talent and equipment that may be very favorably priced at this point in time.
“And as a larger company, we need to have a little more necessary bureaucracy, so financial and procedural controls are things that we will focus in on in the next three years.” This year, already, Plant Solutions has embarked upon a two-year project to implement a complete enterprise solution that will re-design and unify all of its now separate and distinct IT programs and procedures. When complete, the Accounting, Payroll, Human Resources, and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems will all work together, seamlessly, on the same platform.
Ramsingh says that both he and company owner Deonarinesingh have developed well-respected, personal reputations in the industry and that Plant Solutions gets a “lot of calls,” as well as many invitations to bid on projects. But the company also advertises and markets itself proactively, networking heavily through its membership in the American Chamber of Commerce, the Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago, and several other commercial entities and business groups. And because Plant Solutions sells engineered products, as opposed to commodities, there has to be a lot of “high-trust selling. There’s a lot of personal involvement in the selling cycle,” says Ramsingh, “so our sales people do cold calls, and visits, and they use references. And we keep our ears to the ground in respect to developments in the market and in the industry.”
Plant Solutions’ commitment to safety has also been a tactical initiative that helps keep its portfolio active. “In the last few years, safety had been of paramount concern for obvious reasons,” Ramsingh states. “And implementation of safe-to-work management system and HSE (Health, Safety & Environment) certifications has been a big focus for companies in this type of environment in the service side of the business. We were very early and proactive in getting STOW certified (Safe To Work). It cost a lot of money, but it’s a badge that we need to have to be at the forefront of the industry.”
Jason Ramsingh is unabashedly proud of his company’s accomplishments and its well-earned reputation. “We are extremely capable, very flexible, and we have, often, at our own expense, solved a client’s problem that saved a relationship,” the General Manager says.
And, as Plant Solutions looks ahead, Ramsingh says that he would like to see the company increase its market share by an additional ten to twenty percent, while also becoming recognized as one of the leading suppliers of industrial equipment, services, and innovative solutions to its clients in Trinidad and the Caribbean region. “But if we want to make that step to a larger revenue,” he concludes, “we have to capture the larger value opportunities.”
AT A GLANCE
WHO: Plant Solutions Limited
WHAT: An Industrial Services and Equipment Supply Company
WHERE: Debe, Trinidad W.I.