Founded by current managing director Geir Magne Årvik, Vestteknikk began life as a local distributor of gas detectors and breathing protection, and although today it remains in this business, its status as a company has evolved from a local dealer to one of Norway’s most preferred suppliers for products and services in the areas of gas detection and breathing protection.
Geir Årvik, founder and managing director, is very proud of the company he has created, and he explains what he believes are the key strengths of the business and what sets it apart from its competitors in the industry: “We really emphasise close contact with end users and the provision of reliable products. My main aims over the years have been to build Vestteknikk’s economy and reputation brick by brick, and ‘your safety first’ is the basic principle of our products and services. This is our guarantee that a client’s responsibility for safety shall be ensured through quality-assured implementation and monitoring.”
Despite the considerable strides in health and safety that the oil and gas industry has taken, Vestteknikk still sees businesses adopting working practices that don’t take all the possible risks into account. This can lead to acute or long-term damage to the health of employees, which is unnecessary, given the availability of andVestteknikk’s skills, experience and equipment.
Thankfully, those companies that value their reputation and the safety of their staff are regular clients to Vestteknikk, and its key customers from the oil and gas, and shipping arenas read like a ‘Who’s Who’ of high profile blue chip organisations: ConocoPhillips, Statoil, Exxon, Transocean, Dolphin, Odfjell Shipping, Teekay, BP Norge, Rowan, Aker Solution and Aibel AS. “We also have several smaller clients, from a variety of markets including defence, and general industry,” adds Geir. “We pride ourselves on the wide variety of products we offer, plus in addition to the standard range we also offer bespoke and tailor-made products. Recently this has been an increasing part of our business.”
To this end, the company carries out all of its research and development in-house, which has its own benefits, as Geir explains: “For us this has been important, because it brings us closer to the development and to the purpose of the product.”
He continues: “For the time being we are highlighting the use of pressurised air as breathing air, and so our team is looking at what issues we have to take in consideration and what kind of possibilities and limitations this may have for the company.
“One of the results of our hard work is a new air quality controller, which is still in the pipeline, and it is planned to be launched at the ONS 2012 exhibition here in Stavanger.”
In dangerous working environments, having the right kind of breathing protection is crucial for the health and safety of employees. However, Vestteknikk believes that at least as important as this is having the right knowledge about the equipment’s capabilities - safe breathing air is about far more than a physical product. Therefore, the company offers both existing and future clients advice and training, so that all aspects of safe breathing air are considered. The organisation’s goal is always the same: to save lives and preserve the health of all who need to perform a job in the work environment where there is danger to life or health.
Alongside the product training provided by Vestteknikk, the company also offers training for people working in confined spaces. Geir notes that the company’s new offices have been an important addition to this offering: “Now we are located in a new building at Forus West, of which we are very proud. In these offices we have classrooms, and we have 25 years experience in teaching within our areas: gas measurements and respiratory protection. More than 100 users have participated in our courses.
“In addition, the new offices also feature storage and the most modern and well-equipped service centre, so it is really addressing all our needs and the needs of our customers.”
This service centre is in fact the best-equipped in Norway and it is here that Vestteknikk performs servicing on both gas detection and breathing equipment. These services are always performed with strict adherence to any relevant rules and regulations.
Despite the turmoil that has been present across the world economy over the past few years, Vestteknikk believes that there are still positive prospects for the business in the future. Geir says: “We are working in a demanding market, but there will always be new opportunities, and the most important aspect for us is to stay in contact with the end users.”
He concludes: “We are not looking for growth at any price. Our goal is to be best in our market, and we believe it is better to be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a huge lake.”
Products: Gas detection and breathing apparatus