The Shaikhani touch
Rubber World has grown to become an industry leader in the Gulf and the Southeast Asia. Managing director Muzamil Shaikhani shares his success story.
Armed with over a decade-long experience in manufacturing and retail industries, Muzamil Shaikhani, managing director of Rubber World Industry LLC and co-founder of Gulf-O-Gate disinfection chambers, has successfully steered his company to become one of the UAE's leading manufacturers of rubber insulation products. Today, his company caters to almost 55 per cent of the region's requirement for rubber insulation products, thereby trading in a complete range of HVAC commodities.
In an interview with Business & Technology Review, Shaikhani explains how he ensured that Rubber World touches the zenith as an industry leader in the Gulf and Southeast Asia. Excerpts:
Please tell us a bit about how Rubber World started?
The business was set up by my father, late Abu Baker Shaikhani in 1993. I am the second generation of professionals handling this business. We have been in this industry for over 27 years, achieving targeted growth every year, and are specialised in the production of technically advanced thermal flexible elastomeric insulation materials. Our continuous hard work and never settle for less attitude has helped us to expand overseas and become a multinational company. In fact, we started a new manufacturing plant in Sri Lanka in 2017.
Why is rubber insulation so crucial today?
Rubber insulation has become very important nowadays as it helps in reducing emissions and improves energy efficiency. As climate change is wreaking havoc around the world, the focus on conserving energy must increase. The products produced by Rubber World are used to conserve energy, thereby reducing overall energy loss and the energy needed to operate any functional unit.
What are the challenges you faced while building your dreams?
When I took over from my father in 2010, the biggest challenge for me was to take his vision forward - to ensure that Rubber World becomes one of the leading manufacturers of highly engineered and advanced rubber insulation companies in the GCC. Such a huge vision was initially an uphill struggle for me, but confidence, perseverance, and patience, helped me attain success. That is what tough situations do to you. They bring out the best in you, and help you grow as a person.
What traits helped you take your company to this height?
There is one common trait when you talk to any successful entrepreneurs with a positive attitude - that a unique mindset allows them to handle challenges in various ways. They do not look at problems as burdensome forces of opposition, rather they would try to see opportunities lying beneath those problems. This helps them to use those problems or challenges as opportunities to learn, improve and grow in a way that leaves them in a better position than before. This is the same mantra we followed when we were hit by the Covid-19 situation. Many companies had to shut down, and it was a really difficult time for retail and manufacturing industries to run businesses during the pandemic. At that very moment we realised that we, being the manufacturers, should produce something that might help people to fight against the deadly virus, and that is how Gulf-O-Gate disinfection chamber was born.
Can you talk about the success rate of Gulf-O-Gate?
Gulf-O-Gate disinfection chamber was a huge success with several big brands, companies, and organisations, reaching out to us to place orders. We sold over 30 gates within a month, and have big names like Atlantis the Palm, Ajman Police HQ, and Pakistan Consulate, just to name a few among our happy customers.
What is the recipe for your and your company's success today?
I personally think it is really important to set goals, and then plan the steps required to achieve those goals. This not only allows me to break down each goal into easily actionable chunks, but also gives me an overall idea of what needs to be achieved. Each job I tick on my 'to-do' list is a small success on the way to achieve the bigger goal.
I trust my team and start every project by ensuring that I give clear instructions and directions on our overall targets. I prefer not to interfere when it comes to individual tasks, but at the same time I am always available for any help and guidance when required.
What is your future vision?
Our vision is to provide more innovative products that ensure safety to the end-client, and reliability to a widely growing clientele. We offer products and services that are produced through a thorough research and understanding of the client's necessity. Our dream is to be branded as a preferred choice in the market by setting a new benchmark for all businesses around the world.
Where do you see yourself and your company in 10 years?
Good leaders should have a clear set of goals both for themselves and their businesses. We are already an industry leader in the entire Gulf and the Southeast Asia in the field of rubber insulation, and we do plan to extend our business globally in the coming years. We are also planning to increase our product range to other categories that might help us make 'Gulf-O-Flex' a global brand.
Any tips for young entrepreneurs?
Find your passion
The most successful start-ups are established by people who are really passionate about the work they do. When we base our ideas off something we truly love, we will be more focused and motivated.
Know your market
If we want success, we need to thoroughly research our target audience and the market before launching our business or products.
Upgrade your business knowledge
Successful businesses not only require an innovative product, but we should also have a proficient team to manage finances, operations, manufacturing, marketing, sales and all the other aspects that are involved in a business organisation. So, one should always try to improve business knowledge.
Have a proper plan
We must plan our goals properly and set realistic milestones for the growth and development of our company. By assigning timelines to key actions, we can improve our focus and accountability, thereby making it much easier to stay on top of what needs to be done.
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