Raising standards and cutting costs by Amanda Roberts, Jeanius Consulting

1 November 2014

The introduction of the ILO and MLC regulations has not only resulted in a higher standard of requirements for accommodation, cleanliness and hygiene, but highlighted the importance of food quality and the qualifications of the staff producing it.  While this presents a daily challenge to ship owners and operators, engaging the services of  industry experts, Marine Catering Services, has enabled a number of shipping companies to make real cost savings while raising on-board standards.

Marine Catering Services (MCS) has provided hands-on catering and housekeeping training since it was founded in 2004 by industry renowned chef, Henry Anderson. A rapidly growing company with worldwide experience, MCS prides itself on providing face-to-face training enabling greater engagement with crew and breaking down language barriers, unlike competitors who use distance learning training techniques.

Focusing on HACCP food safety management, stock rotation, menu planning and eliminating waste, MCS looks closely at diet on-board ship, ensuring a balanced diet to suit all ethinic minorities. Chefs are taught what they should be cutting and how to do so correctly to avoid wastage. First and foremost Chef’s are taught safety first, and hygiene practices are in place at all times.  Staff are fully trained to understand both their own responsibilities and those of their colleagues, with a system built and documentation fully implemented by MCS. On completion of each course catering staff will be assessed on the standard of their work through an appraisal and development plan, to work towards until the next onboard training session, enabling continual improvement of skills and knowledge onboard ship.

Henry says: ” The way MCS differs from other companies is that we educate ship management teams from the Master right back.  When we leave the ship they have a package in place they can control and work with until my next visit. It’s not a one hit wonder, my team visit, visit and visit, to build a continuing relationship.”

The focus on more structured audits – covering everything from the standard of fridges, to the working hours of staff, usage of correct cleaning products, quality of machinery plus much more – is a contributing factor for audit failure for some vessels.

Henry believes the key to success lies in education. “We strive for perfection, MCS don’t do failure. We look at failure and we bring it up to our standards.  No matter what you throw at us we will take it on board, we will work with it; we will get it right for your company.  We will take the unworkable and make it workable.”

Over the last few years, Henry has restructured and resourced MCS to be well placed for it’s worldwide clientele and has been working with a wide range of ship owners and operators to achieved ILO/MLC compliance both pre and post ILO/MLC implementation.

With the introduction of higher standards, Henry and MCS’ services have never been more in demand especially with owners and operators keen to see cost savings and greater efficiency.