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Interview

Tarek El Gani – Managing Director, ABB Algeria

05.08.2015 / Energyboardroom

The country manager of the renowned international automation company, ABB, explains how the company is taking a new step in Algeria and which solutions they are providing to enhance efficiency and productivity in the industry .

You recently arrived in Algeria from the UAE. What has been your mandate since your arrival?

ABB is a global leader in power and automation technologies. Our company in its current form was created in 1988, but our history spans over 120 years. Since our inception, our reputation has been built on certain qualities and values, one of the most important of which is integrity.

A culture of integrity is a prerequisite for a world-class business. Many valuable customers choose to do business with us in part because they know ABB behaves in a responsible and ethical way, and that we respect the needs of individuals, society, and the environment.

At ABB, performance is measured not only by the results achieved, but also how these results were achieved. This is why our stakeholders can rely on the fact that our services, operations, and daily business are based on ethical behavior. ABB strives for a culture of mutual respect that encourages the exchange of views at all levels of the organization. By fostering open dialogue and playing an active role in our community, every ABB employee can make a difference.

From preliminary information of our country financials, it is evident that in Algeria we have significant business potential and available demand over the total market annually and our share in the market needs more attention. Building a strong and competent local organization with service organization for competitive advantage, significant business growth & Customer satisfaction, given the huge ABB Installed Base in the country, the service potential is huge. We must support rapid response & deliver advanced/high quality services for customer satisfaction, must ensure customer assets are well maintained to ensure leverage over competition, and generate significant service business profitably. Our service strategy is to build competencies in Domain areas, create access to markets & end-users, develop service facilities so as to distinguish ABB significantly over competition and strengthen an important profitable business avenue for ABB.

The growth of the electricity market is quite important. The distribution transformers demand was growing and our prices were not competitive. Therefore we decided to build a factory for producing distribution transformers to be competitive and having fast delivery time. Besides, Government is trying to reduce imports & reinforcing their investment in Industry. Country trends towards national tenders for products where local OEMs exist such as DTR for motivating foreign companies to invest in Algeria and supporting local companies. Before coming here, I was the general manager for the Gulf region for the low voltage products division, where we made significant growth. Having prior experience in corporate strategies for product sales go-to-market, I was moved here to see how to further develop the business in our product divisions.

What is the proportion of ABB’s activities associated in energy (the oil and gas sector) and the electricity sector?

ABB is well positioned in attractive customer segments. Its combined power and automation portfolio targeting greater customer value continues to be the core of our strategy. ABB is the world’s biggest manufacturer of power transmission and distribution equipment, offering a wide range of advanced products and solutions to enhance grid reliability and support the systems that keep our world running.

As a leading supplier to the oil and gas industry, ABB provides the systems, solutions and services needed to operate downstream refining and petrochemical plants safely, productively and profitably.  Despite the fact that petrochemicals is a complex industry with many products and production processes, the goals of a safe operation, maximizing profitability and efficiency, are in reality the same goal. The common solution is to use the best technology in the best way, and this is also the aim of ABB.

Whether it’s advanced process control, state-of-the-art instrumentation or consulting and lifecycle support, ABB supports the industry with solutions from field devices through to fully integrated control and safety systems (ICSS), electrical and telecommunications systems.

What has ABB brought to the market in the field of automation, and what has it contributed to the development of the industry at large?

We help customers to strengthen the power grids for more reliable electricity supplies, increase productivity by automating their operations and use energy more efficiently. These three points are summarized in our slogan: Power and productivity for a better world. ABB has years of experience in enhancing power networks for all power-hungry applications such Industry, Airports, Stadium, as heavy, medium and low industry.

What has been key in the success of ABB in Algeria?

ABB’s strength and future success depends on its reputation as a trusted and reliable business partner. We all have a role to play in safeguarding ABB reputation. The key to success in developing the business significantly is making the local organization more productive, this is a key goal for firms, especially for fast-growing ones like ABB. Productivity is, of course, the essence of what makes businesses competitive, but it’s particularly important also to have the right partners working with you. But this brings up the question of whether it is success that brings the right partners or it is the right partners that bring success. A partner is an entrepreneur who works with someone or a company that he’s sure to make money with. ABB is a name. The customer knows ABB but s/he doesn’t know how effective ABB is in the market. It is therefore important to have a strong local presence with a competent organization with high level of engagement, customer & partner network, market knowledge and competencies to succeed.

How does ABB help to transport energy across the country?

ABB provides its customers the most comprehensive Transmission & Distribution offering for all industries and helps to address the challenge of balancing rising demand for power with increasing concern for the environment. With a 125 year heritage of technology and innovation and a presence in over 100 countries, ABB continues to shape the grid of the future, delivering power and productivity for a better world.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Five years is a long time. I’m sure that by 2020, Algeria as a country will be reaching a very high level of business. This is a personal commitment as well as a requirement of ABB. We have already prepared a business plan for the next 5 years until 2020 which goes in line with our next global level strategy which takes into consideration:

  • Vision for our growth – “What Customers need, Where do we Grow & How do we Grow versus competition” will be our focus areas
  • Integrity & Safety – “Integrity is the basis how we will conduct business” and “Nothing is more important to us than safety of our employees, partners and customers” and we will drive safety across our organization in a systematic way with your support and engagement
  • Next Level Strategy to drive Penetration & Expansion  – “Understanding the market through Intelligence, specifically, Overview  of growth opportunities, competitors approach, product and segment Gaps” are important to prioritize our Next Actions
  • Gap Analysis to decide Where-To-Play – “Demand Order Estimate – Total market, Available market, Offered market, Sales hit ratio” exercise will give us an overall view of our Gaps to decide Where-To-Play
  • Customer Face Time, Engagement & Relationship – “We must facilitate our Sales colleagues increase Customer Face Time, understand customer need even better and offer solutions proactively”
  • Business Led Collaboration – “Leveraging our competencies within our organization is essential to deliver more together and secure increase in market share”
  • Building a strong Service organization for competitive advantage, significant business growth & Customer satisfaction – Given the huge ABB Installed Base in the country, the service potential is huge. We must support rapid response & deliver advanced/high quality services for customer satisfaction, must ensure customer assets are well maintained to ensure leverage over competition, and generate significant service business profitably. Our service strategy is to build competencies in Domain areas, create access to markets & end-users, develop service facilities so as to distinguish ABB significantly over competition and strengthen an important profitable business avenue for ABB
  • Team Building & Motivation – This is a subject close to my heart and we can achieve great results only with a motivated team working together seamlessly, while sharing knowledge & the Lessons Learnt.

Click here to read more articles and interviews from Algeria, and to download the latest free oil and gas report on the country. 

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