AVB: Please can you provide a brief description of Semmco and the company’s background?
Benjamin Hoyle: Semmco is a British engineering company that designs and manufactures high-quality access platforms and step systems that enable engineers and operators to maintain and service planes, trains and helicopters.
The business has established a global reputation for quality design, producing products that are safe, durable and multifunctional. Founded in 1992 by Managing Director Stuart McOnie, Semmco has been dedicated to designing innovative solutions for a safe and efficient working environment initially for the aviation industries and, more recently, for the helicopter and rail industries.
Alongside their Head Office in the UK, the company also has manufacturing, maintenance and assembly operations in Dubai, UAE, Semmco DWC and is in the process of establishing manufacturing and servicing a facility in Texas, USA, Semmco Inc.
These additional operations will enable the company to provide a first class service for its global network of clients in the UK and Europe, North and South America, throughout the Middle East, Africa and beyond.
AVB: Could you share some details in regards to Semmco DWC, the Dubai office and what services are offered onsite?
BH: Semmco DWC LLC was inaugurated in December 2016 with the intention of providing the existing customer base with a permanent Semmco presence in the region, which resulted in improved sales and after-sales service for customers and improved response and reaction times.
Semmco DWC LLC enables Semmco to provide installation, product training, servicing and scheduled maintenance activities for customers onsite for all of their existing and newly supplied Semmco products.
Existing customers in the region include Emirates Airlines, Etihad Airways, FlyDubai, Gulf Air, HeliDubai, Oman Air, Presidential Flight Abu Dhabi and Qatar Airways. Semmco’s customer base is expanding rapidly because of the company being positioned locally.
AVB: How has your organisation improved its manufacturing capabilities over 2018? What are some of your latest product enhancements?
BH: Semmco DWC LLC has improved its manufacturing capability by conducting continuous improvements at the facility and by introducing new construction methodologies to the assembly teams (all of which is conducted to European Standards including ISO 9001:2015). In addition, the introduction of new innovative products ensures that Semmco DWC LLC is perfectly positioned to provide customers in the region with high quality locally manufactured items at prices that reflect the local markets and price points.
AVB: It is often the viewpoint that the Middle East region has not been a traditional hotbed in terms of manufacturing. To what extent would you say this viewpoint has changed over the last decade, particularly within the aviation space?
BH: Manufacturing has always been present and vibrant within the region, (although not always to the European Standards that Semmco and most European OEM’s operate to) and, in the last decade, the standard has improved with many International OEM’s setting up local manufacturing to service their local client base.
This improvement has mainly been due to the fact that the quality of both the skill set of the workforce and the supply chain options and availability that support the OEM’s have improved in the region.
This has encouraged more OEM’s such as Semmco to manufacture items locally which in turn reduces costs and this benefit can then be passed on to the customer base.
In addition, the customer base has mainly driven this change moving away from the old business model of remote international support and expecting that their suppliers are based locally so that they can offer a more comprehensive and value for money support offering.
AVB: What would you say are the key challenges with bringing aviation manufacturing to the region?
BH: The key challenges to manufacturing successfully in the UAE is to install and maintain the required quality standards for the products and services that you offer and also locally procuring some of the more technically advanced and complex components that are required for specific product ranges.
This is still challenging and supply of critical components can at times still be an issue so these are supplied by our UK and European supply chain to ensure that the high quality of our products is maintained at all times.