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About Sterling Power Products

Sterling Power Products is a small company owned by me, Charles Sterling. I started out as a Marine Engineer Officer trained by BP and worked on Super Tankers. This was a great experience; it was a little boring as these ships were new and never really broke down (they exploded the odd time but apart from that they were very reliable). So I left and joined Canadian Pacific where I spent my time on container ships, ore carriers and other more interesting ships (more interesting from the engineering challenge point of view as they tended to be older and therefore broke down more often). I did the running round the world thing and got into all the trouble you can imagine (ah, the good old days). I was one of the youngest people ever to hold a full seconds diesel (D.T.I.) ticket (steam and diesel) with part A and part of part B of a chief engineer’s ticket. But I was reluctant to spend my life running round the world from what appeared to be, one war zone to another and where one’s belief in God is directly proportional to how close that last bullet was to you.

I have always claimed to be a reasonable engineer and as such, try to convey not just what a product does but why you need it. I endeavour to make this as simple as possible. Please bear in mind that I answer about 90 calls a day and have targeted the literature at people who want to understand the products, but have been unable to get access to the information. Most companies' technical information is hidden in the sales jargon, not with Sterling. We are proud of what our equipment does and see no need to cover up any flaws with glossy vague sales literature. Flaws should be designed out of products, not covered up. All companies’ products suffer from technical problems, the trick is to find them and design them out as quickly as possible. Being a small company with its own in-house design team, our response time is at a level that larger competitors can only dream about. The end result is our products just keep getting better and better, outstripping our competitors more and more every year.

I started Sterling Power Products in my bedroom in 1992 with the intention of bringing new technology into the marine market at a reasonable price. I was the first in the UK to introduce switch mode battery chargers (with all its problems), 230 volt alternators (with all their problems), 3 stage advanced regulators (with even more problems) and other bits and pieces. Bit by bit the problems were ironed out and now lead the world.

Manufacturing in Taiwan was always a sore point. But to my surprise I was amazed to see that labour costs are not why people manufacture in Taiwan. (The assembly workers earn just as much as over here.) The key was the cost of parts. For reasons which I do not understand, parts in Taiwan are at least 50% less than the UK. Prices of electronic parts are artificially held up by huge cartels in Europe (where manufacturing is a dirty name). As long as the British government (in fact not just the British) are happy about this they will continue to lose jobs to the Far East. The problem is that at the end of the day cost does matter.

Sterling Power Products’ business plan is very simple. We design every conceivable performance and safety feature we can think of into our products; then we check our competitors just in case we missed something (however, we have never come across anything close). Having designed all the features we try to manufacture the products at a cost that will allow us to offer our customers a product with a high technical specification, but at the same time keeping the cost down. This is especially important when dealing with O.E.M.s (Original Equipment Manufacturers, in our case boat builders). Builders want performance /safety / reliability but uppermost is price. This is why it is important to look at our Quick Check list to compare our products against our competitors, if you do this then you will see what I mean by the term “what competitors”.

Professional Mariner was purchased in California from Bob Adjerman (who retired years ago) by Bob Unger, one of the key players in Raython Marine. He has brought high standards with him and insists on the highest engineering and manufacturing standards.

To come up with the ideas is hard enough, but then to ensure the best quality at a low price makes it almost impossible. One big advantage Sterling and Professional Mariner have over our competitors, is that we are not what I call, a 'glossy' company. People buy our equipment based on recommendations and the performance of the products, not on 'glossy' literature. Always remember the company with the biggest catalogue, most expensive marketing and biggest displays at shows, requires higher prices to cover all this. In this game the most expensive is by no stretch of the imagination the best.

Thanks to all my loyal customers who got me here today, they have witnessed the product improvements over the years and a big welcome to all our new customers who I hope will be delighted with our new products.

Charles Sterling (M.D.)

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