John Kempster

    The burden of responsibility for the Managing Director of any leading global supplier to the international energy industry is heavy enough, but to carry additionally the stewardship of a name synonymous with the highest engineering excellence, must be daunting. Yet John Kempster, Managing Director - Energy Businesses for Rolls-Royce not only shoulders the burden with obvious relish, but has a very clear vision for the future of his organisation within the worldwide energy markets. "This is a high-technology sector of industry, but there is a danger that a business can become too much engineering-driven with an over emphasis on technology and technical development. In the past we at Rolls-Royce may not have been as market-driven as we could, but today and for the future our focus is on "customer-facing businesses". These are now driven equally by the needs and requirements of our customers as much as by the continuing opportunity for technical innovation and engineering excellence."
     Adopting this tactical position, Kemster's overall strategic vision is for Rolls-Royce to become by 2002 a top-three provider of small power solutions to the international energy markets. Nevertheless, he is obviously not content with merely maintaining market position in oil and gas as his plans include significant growth and expansion in all areas of operation. It is clear that in the longer-term he has his sights firmly set on the global number two-spot behind market leader GE.
     As MD of the company's Energy Businesses, Kempster describes his responsibilities as covering "anything that rotates in power generation or energy production" - specifically including gas turbines and diesel engines as the two principal types of prime-mover manufactured by Rolls-Royce.
     The increased emphasis on a market-driven approach to the Group's energy businesses is described by Kempster as meaning that his operations "must become closer to the customer." "This now means that we work within a strategic relationship with our customers in order to meet fully their aims and objectives. At the same time as supplying a "total solution", we provide strong aftermarket support by offering a complete service. John Kempster is in no doubt of the implications for Rolls-Royce.
     "Our markets used to be clearly divided into either power utilities or oil and gas. With many of the gas and oil majors now operating as ESCOs, distinctions are becoming blurred as markets converge towards single-source integrated energy supply. Many customers no longer want "products" - specifying, building and owning power stations for their own sake - but are simply in the business of supplying kilowatt-hours in a highly competitive market. Our job is therefore not only to supply products, but solutions".
     To provide the necessary "total solutions" with improved levels of customer service in both existing and new market areas, Rolls-Royce has established a team of Customer Executives. These highly experienced people operate as dedicated account managers to forge a close working relationship over time with individual customers. They co-ordinate the full service for all products manufactured and supplied directly or indirectly, including a "systems integration" service, up to and including full turnkey project management.
     "I believe that a systems integration capability is absolutely vital to our operation" says Kempster, "It is perfectly possible to make money from power projects, but success is completely dependent on excellent project management - you can lose your shirt if things are badly done."
     John Kempster recognises the dramatic changes taking place on the American energy scene and is now actively looking to double the size of the energy businesses to exceed $2 billion by 2002.