Please tell us about your background andÂ yourÂ professional journey andÂ how you came to be the President and CEO of Spar Steel Industries?
If I have to summarise my journey, I will say it is a journey of hope, honesty and genuine efforts. Today, I am the President and the CEO of the Spar Group, but the journey started way back in early 2000. That is when I, along with my siblings, founded SPAR Management & Technology, as a diversified parent company.
The company was based in New Delhi, India but we spread our wings to Saudi Arabia too. I managed it from Saudi Arabia while my brothers took care of the operations at New Delhi. Soon, we grew, and SPAR Management & Technology began working in different fields like electro-mechanical construction, fabrication, erection, architectural and scaffolding design etc. In 2003, we added another feather and founded the global arm of the Spar Group registered as the Arabian Spar Ltd. headquartered at Al Jubail, Petro Chemical Hub (the largest industrial city in the world), Saudi Arabia. The group entered the industrial scaffolding and steel industry business in 2006. And in 2016, we hit the UAE market as 'Spar Steel Industries' and started its state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Ras Al Khaimah in late 2016, and prior to that, we have been active in bulk trading in UAE, catering MENA region.
Today, the Spar Group has diversified into retail and steel manufacturing, hospitality, industrial technical services, industrial scaffolding services, and access solutions etc. Very soon, more will be added to our business portfolio.
Kindly take us through the history ofÂ SPAR and its core area of businesses and services?
Although the Spar Group entered the steel and scaffolding business in 2006, sensing the increasing business potential in UAE, our 'Spar Steel Industries' started its state-of-the-art manufacturing plant at RAK in UAE in late 2016.
Spar Steel specialises in manufacturing ERW Steel Pipes and Hollow Sections including various steel products and industrial scaffoldings and form-working components. Today, we feed to the demands of a variety of industries, from petrochemical to automotive, oil and gas, food, and construction industries across the Middle East, India, UK, and the MENA region.
What is your competitive edge and how do you stand out?
At SPAR steel we believe that it is important to cut the clutter. I would name, state-of-the-art technology, region-based factory locations and competitive pricing as the differentiating factors.
To elaborate; our state-of-the-art manufacturing plant for steel products at RAK, is situatedÂ within a highly advanced technical base and strategically located on a 130,000 squareÂ foot site. It is equipped with a local and national logistics division focused solely on servicing the daily needs and demands of our many customers and sole supply partners in the Middle East and the MENA region.
To cater to the regional industry needs and our global customers, Spar Steel operates with its three state-of-the-art country-located plants, strategically located in UAE, KSA, and India.
Besides, manned by experienced technology experts, our production facilities continue to upgrade to the latest industry technologies. This gives us an edge in producing the most advanced products yet at a cheaper price.
Our partners and premium clients include Forbes 500 such as Aramco, Adnoc, Enoc, Sabic, Riyadh Metro, Samsung, Hyundai, etc.
What are the SPAR Services area and products?
We deliver 'value' not products. SPAR is a professionally managed company and one of the leaders in providing all types of quality industrial scaffolding and form working services to the oil and gas, petrochemical, power,Â and infrastructure sector in the Middle East.
Our products always come with the unique 'Spar Value'. We help clients by providing solutions not just products, that simplify and accelerate operations at enhanced safety levels and at reduced time and cost.
We offer a complete range of scaffolding and industrial scaffolding services including contracting, scaffolding design, coating, fireproofing manufacture various steel pipe and hollow section, steel scaffolding and form-working components including, scaffolding steel boards and other steel products etc.Â All our products meet the requirements of British, American and European Standards viz. BS1139, BS EN10219, ANSI 10.8 and OSHA 1926.
2020 has been toughÂ for most businesses and individuals.Â What strategies or policies have you adopted to cope with the situation in 2021 and assist those who have suffered due to the pandemic?
Yes, 2020 has been very tough for everyone. Businesses across the world have faced tough times. But then adapting and reinventing to change is the way forward.
One changed strategy has been to react to the project size of our orders. Depending on the project size, we either compete to design and implement very challengingÂ scaffolding solutionsÂ for theÂ oil and gas sector or collaborate with the largest names in the scaffolding business.
The sustainability of our business is as important as profitability. Our immediate focus is on the former, the latter will follow. Our business policy and strategy for 2021 has shifted from volume to value of products for the ideal value-creating customer in the steel industry. We enabled smart manufacturing - to be more digital, connected, autonomous leading to higher efficiency, quality, and productivity.
We have changed our growth policy through new business models beyond just control over production cost. In the current situation, we require operational agility to innovate and rapidly launch profitable products and services. This creates a greater value for the end customer, can require structural changes in the operation model like switching from B2B to B2B2C model, merging part of the production line with end customers.
Anticipating, resource shortage, we attract and retain talents that will enable our growth. Accordingly, we upgraded our HR policies and practices by providing a stimulating technology-driven working environment and a purpose-driven strategy for sustainable growth.
Can you name a few of your milestone achievements and what are your future plans?
As we said in the beginning, we started with small objectives but a bigger global vision. The first milestone was establishing the SPAR Management & Technology in 2000 in New Delhi, India.
The basic goal at the time was to establish an industrial steel sector that would run in parallel with a growth strategy for other commodities aimed to increase the engineering and construction boom of Saudi Arabia and the Middle East. This led to our second milestone in 2003 when we opened Arabian Spar Ltd. in 2003 at Al Jubail in Saudi Arabia.
2006 gave us our third milestone when through Arabian Spar Ltd. we entered the steel industry business with the supply of steel and steel scaffolding products and valued services in the Middle East.
Our dream of manufacturing different types of cost-effective steel pipes, tubes other steel and steel scaffolding products for fulfilling the demand of different industries came true in 2016 when we started a steel manufacturing plant i.e. Spar Steel Industries in RAK. Our fourth milestone; in 2020, we entered a completely new business segment i.e., the hospitality industry through the Shibli Continental, a four-star hotel managed byÂ Clarks Inn. This current Indian venture is known asÂ Clarks Inn Shibli, situated at Siwan in the Indian state of Bihar, TheÂ Clarks Inn ShibliÂ has taken the challenge of fulfilling the needs of hospitality requirements of local, national and international guests based on international services and continental luxury with local flavours. We all are really proud of this feather in Spar Group's cap.
Not to sit on our laurels, but we are future-active.Â Soon we are going to open steel retail stores in all the emirates of UAE, which will expand to the whole MENA region. And then there is the long-term plan to set up an end-to-end integrated steel making plant.
Any message for the upcoming generation of buddingÂ entrepreneurs?
There are many valuable messages I would like to share with budding entrepreneurs through Khaleej Times. Some of them are:
> They must do R&D in the field of their business choice and analyse the pros and cons of what existing firms have faced in their journey.
> Always nurture a team of qualified, diverse and experienced human resource from top to bottom to fulfil the assigned duties, take responsibilities for their action in achieving the goals.
> The most important element after manpower is the latest technologies to be used in the operation of any nature business to provide quality, cheap, and fast transaction of products and services as per the demand of customers all around.
> They must deliver 'value' not 'products and services' to give assurance and win the 'trust' of their valued customers.
> Always try to build a long-term relationship with business partners and clients.
> Always think for clients' profit first in dealing and delivering any products and services.