One of the core components of Sea Coach’s success is the company’s reliability in its service for the past 8 years. The company services every flight that lands and takes off at Lungi International Airport, unlike many of its competitors that have come and gone. “To maintain this grueling schedule on the fleet, maintenance is the key,” says one of the company’s supervisors. Sea Coach has noticeably become the company of choice for many travelers to Sierra Leone because of its visible quality in vessels and operations. “We operate every day of the year 24 hours a day and our CEO has placed great emphasis building a work culture of maintenance. When I started working here, I was amazed to see managers and supervisors cleaning and continuously fixing things along with general workers. Our engineers will work long hours maintaining engines and continuously having meetings with the CEO on how to improve performance. This made me realized this was an organization that has a future!” said a manager.
In an interview with the CEO, Olusegun Jaji, he emphasized the importance of maintenance in his industry. He explained that he use to not go to sleep many nights wondering if all the bolts and knots were screwed on properly by his purposely hired indigenous mechanics. He said in his vision to build the company he wanted to create something that was truly African and so he recruited Africans mainly Sierra Leoneans and paid for them to go to Dubai and many other places for training. He also paid them well comparable to local standards and motivated them to see a career as a “mechanic”. He said this vision to build a local work force costed him dearly, but he is thankful for the experience. He joked about how he was robbed blind by some of these workers and how he use to wake up in the middle of the night to stealthily scout the area for dubious dealings.
In an exclusive tour into the company’s operations, I was amazed on the emphasis in maintenance within its engineering department. Though faced with the challenges by many companies in sourcing parts or material, Sea Coach has majority of its needed replacement parts and has a system that can source parts within 48 hours if needed. The company maintains a good size fleet that is readily available to respond to any mechanical issues or demands. The company has local individuals trained to do any repair on its vessels.
They say in the United States the two best days in the life of a boat owner are the day they buy the boat and the day they sell the boat. This is because proper maintenance of a sea going vessel is extremely costly and stressful. Sea Coach serves hundreds of passengers in an industry that demands maintenance and have done so for years, and I was pleasantly impressed to see the energy and emphasis placed into maintaining their world class fleet.