Oman-based Dhofar Global Trading Company LLC believes that product innovation coupled with unmatched customer services will keep the organisation ahead of market competition. Established in 2001, the provider of hygiene products in the region is expanding in a phased manner to catch up with the emerging opportunities in Middle East and North Africa (MENA) market.
Chandan Singh, Deputy General Manager at Dhofar Global Trading, is busy with charting business strategies to keep the organisation stay afloat amid the stiff competition in the hygiene product market. He sees not only increasing competition, but also market potential for the right product and services as well.
“We are working rigorously on five parameters--customer service and 100 per cent satisfaction, innovation, environment-friendly products, support of technological advanced tools, quality consistency. With a vision to grow across Middle East and Asia, we’re offering our clients with the best international standard products in hygiene care at a competitive price. Dhofar Global is expanding its presence across Middle East, Asia, Africa,” Singh told Clean Middle East.
L to R: Chandan Singh, Dhofar’s Head of Sales & Marketing, Vice Chairman Faleh AL Abri, GM Hemant Kambli, HH Obaid Al Shikh Al Noaimi, H.E.Juma Mohammed al Kait from Ministry of Foreign Trade.
The company ensures its clients the best international products in hygiene care at competitive prices. The market knowledge acquired over the years and stable financial structure of the company allows it to deliver professional services in every aspect. “We are widely present in UAE. Lately, we have entered the Qatar market to tap the booming market,” adds Singh.
Segments adding to the demand
Dhofar Global offers a wide range of tissues in Center feed, auto cut, toilet roll, interfold towel, etc. It also came up with anti-bacterial tissues, nonwovens which are reusable and heat-resistant, micro fiber cloth, anti-static wipes, premium quality facial tissues, whose softness is unmatched in the region.
The company is extremely conscious of environmental responsibility and strives for a greener tomorrow. Recycled tissues are the trimmed leftovers of tissues during production process “Our recycled dispensers are made from recycled plastic. We supply recycled products to clients, who demand these products,” Dhofar Management added.
Huge customer base
While explaining about the company’s major customers and the measures being taken to enhance it, Dhofar Management said: “We are extensively present in hotel, restaurant, catering, automobile, government institution, facility management companies, palaces, health care industry, malls, aviation industry and corporate houses.”
Shrugging off the increasing competition in the market, Singh replied, “Indeed no,” when asked about the impact of market competition on the company. “However, our attempt is to always being in top position, because our objective is to look at the critical area where people have not identified as critical area and follow the principal of ‘DID,’ which means diagnose, impose and dispose. Diagnose the critical area, impose the regime to follow and dispose it with disposable products.”
Away from Home Segment
The company is a leading player in ‘Away from Home Segment’ (AFH) and keen on retaining its position by offering innovative products and value-added services to its customers. “Indeed the demand has gone up, due to the tissue mills shutting down and converters are winding up their business. And on top the several properties have come up in entire UAE region, which is an icing on a cake. Religious and cultural norms in the near and Middle East put usage of facial tissue products amongst the highest consumed category in the world. We also see huge potential in the towel sector, which covers kitchen rolls, industrial towels and wipes, as well as napkins and paper towels,” explains Dhofar Management. AFH is a sector where Dhofar is focusing its strategic efforts. The institutional tissue paper market segment
includes auto-cut tissue, industrial rolls, facial tissues and other products. “The AFH segment is most developed market in North America, where it accounts for 38 per cent of tissue consumption, but GCC market usage has increased exponentially in the last four years by up to 40 per cent,” said Dhofar Management.
Helping customers cut costs
Dhofar Global is addressing sustainability issues with its product line as hand dryers remain market leader when it comes to the factor of environmental impact. The company has its own range of award-winning state-of-the-art organic tissue paper dispensers, which are modified to dispense a single sheet of pre-perforated tissue, which is commonly used across the region from hotel kitchens and offices to mall restrooms and cleaning companies.
“We have continued with our commitment to product innovation and have helped our clients cut back on their paper consumption by 22 per cent last year, which not only means cost savings for businesses, but reduces the environmental impact during the manufacturing process,” said Dhofar Management.
As part of its expansion plan, Dhofar Global has forayed into Qatar market by completing all the background work for establishing its presence. “Indeed, we are in growth path and we would continue to expand, we would kick off our new operation in Qatar from 1st Week of May 2013. Entire growth is goanna be on phase wise and will be shared as and when we would move to other country,” Dhofar Management said.
Dhofar Global has diversified from tissue products to the other range such as gloves. The company did feasibility study and found that the market is not yet organized. “Now, our rigorous effort will be organising the market to spread awareness about better hygiene practice in gloves category of business,” Dhofar Management said.
Every organisation has to face challenges to stay afloat in the market and beat the competition as well. “Challenges are always there and if it is not there, it means there is something wrong, raw material costs are going high, but ‘Life Style Inflation’ has also taken place majorly, which has left an avenue to expand your Horizon. In India, people use to carry cloth handkerchief and now tissue handkerchief. There are many more areas can be highlighted. Basically, my view is that, you would always have an area where you can generate more business and control your overall aspect. There are areas which need to be focused and worked upon. Such as B &C class restaurants, staff residence and labour camp, etc,” explains Dhofar Management.
Agreeing that factors such as price competition and drop in volume demand affecting the cleaning companies, Singh further explains: “Well this could be a case of cleaning companies, however in our area of business indeed there are loads of competitors and eventually someone is eating away the volume of someone else. But, we have constantly grown in our figures and the volume, it has affected the bottom line initially. However, after increasing the volume and controlling our cost, we could hit the milestones after milestone from the past five years and now we intend to take a Big Leap after opening our new office in Qatar,” said Dhofar Management.
Ruling out any major impact of increasing number of small and medium-sized players in the segment, Dhofar Management said: “Indeed no, in any format they will have to use the tissue and dispensers in the quantum. Sometime, it gives us an edge over competition, any buyer or user once they availed of our service will continue as our customers. The only reason is the best service and consistent in quality.”
Reading the pulse of customers is the key to success for any organisation. “Consumer behaviour is changes every time and it is our job to comprehend their need and act accordingly. Now, the trend is more likely to move forward for customizing the dispensers as per the background of wall and some of them are ready to pay premium,” said Dhofar Management.
Hygiene and health are always having a correlation and practicing hygiene will always keep one healthy. The company’s tagline focuses on more maturity towards managing day-to-day challenges and create happier environment. The environmental happiness that its spreads outside has its roots inside the company. At Dhofar Global, all the staff members work together, learn together, share good times together, and in the process, and are together in innovate. Perhaps, this synergy keeps the company closer to it goal.
Of late, there’s been mounting pressure on customers’ spending on hygiene products. And the cleaning segment is no exception to this. Singh takes up a novel route to address this and the strategy in Dhofar Management’s words....“indeed they are facing the budgetary constraints, but it is also true when you are in constraint you become more innovative and look forward for all means to look for an option which helps you to reduce your cost. Dhofar puts an effort to learn those areas and try to resolve their difficulty with our expertise.” Dhofar Global imports raw materials directly from the manufacturers in Europe. Europe imports enabling the company to slash costs and further to this, Dhofar Global is able to pass it on to its customers.
“There the magic of doing business, it’s all about an approach of business and our approach is work like a specialist and diagnose the critical area and work upon in such a way that it serve all the purpose, such an economical, environment-friendly, superior quality and on top quality certified manpower,” said Dhofar Management.
Giving importance to enhance cost efficiency, Dhofar Global supports technological advancement, efficient fleet management and care for people who work for the company. The overall strategy of taking care of every aspect that touches the entire business cycle has resulted in great cost efficiency for the organisation.
Skilled manpower shortage
The industry is facing shortage of skilled manpower. Though readily available man power is well below the demand, it’s not a matter of concern for Dhofar Global. Dhofar Management adds: “Availability of skilled manpower is less. But, we are not depending the readily availability of skilled manpower. Sometimes, it is good to have people from different industry who will have more enthusiasm and are quick to learn the industry dynamics and meet the requirements of customers. We found that they performed better in later stage. Indeed, we do impart training to our new employees and the existing employees.”
The company believes in continuous learning aspect. To stay in the market particularly the UAE, it’s required to know the new techniques and adopt new advanced technology every time. For which constant learning and imparting those expertise is important reason to beware about competition, using the best hygiene practice in the industry and curb the challenges.
“Certainly there is an acute shortage of professionals in our industry. However, our recruitment part is different instead of recruiting people from the similar industry, we recruit them and train them to an extent, where they can be better than any professional in our industry and reach to an excellence.”
Dhofar has launched an initiative called ‘Cut Back’ to educate people on the effective use of tissue paper, reducing excessive consumption. The ‘Cut Back’ sustainability project was launched as part of the company’s long-term commitment to sustainability in the Gulf region.
The customer-centric initiative was four years in development, with a key focus on creating an innovative product that would not compromise Dhofar’s HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) quality approval. Once developed, Dhofar arranged for a series of customer presentations to educate clients, and potential business partners, about the benefits of the new dispensers.
“Since the customer awareness programme was introduced two years ago, the programme has successfully reduced the amount of tissue paper consumed by Dhofar customers by approximately 22 per cent each year. This has been achieved by the installation of Dhofar’s state-of-the-art dispensers, which are designed to dispense single sheets of pre-perforated tissue,” said Dhofar Management.
The initiative has also been recognised at the Arab Achievement Awards. This initiative has been awarded ‘Best Green Investment Project’ for two years in a row in 2011 and 2012.
As part of its social responsibility, Dhofar Global gives utmost priority to the environment-related issues such as environmental regulations, health and safety issues, energy savings, productivity and operating cost. “All the key factors are an integral part and we need to create a harmony in such a format that keeping all the factors environmental regulation, health and safety issues, energy saving in mind to make sure that our strategy and work style should align the objective,” Dhofar Management said.
DhofarGlobal’s efforts have been recognised by the government and industry as the company has received awards for its contribution to the environment protection. “Professional will always have their own opinion and sometimes mindset as well. Since our customer education programme was introduced two years ago, we have successfully reduced the amount of tissue paper consumed by Dhofar customers by approximately 22 per cent each year. This has been achieved by the installation of Dhofar’s state-of-the-art dispensers, which are designed to dispense single sheets of pre-perforated tissue,” explains Dhofar Management.
Dhofar Global has also teamed up with Dubai government to spread the awareness about cleaning and hygiene aspects. “We are going ahead with Government of Dubai, CPI and ourselves for hygiene summit, which would take place on May 27 this year. Our objective is to curb the challenges in hygiene standard and discuss on poor hygiene management in hospitality sector from poor kitchen practices to lacklustre housekeeping, badly maintained spas to disfigured public places. In summit, we will discuss on impact of good hygiene on guest satisfaction and the hotels bottom line,” said Dhofar Management.
Expressing his opinion on the lack of industry forum activity, Dhofar Management said: “There are some forums such as Middle East Facility Management Association (MEFMA). However, we also need to come forward and take an initiative towards having a forum which can cover every aspect of hygiene. We request everyone to come with their views in order to organize the same together.”
One key point that makes Dhofar truly cutting edge is that source the hygiene paper products and non-woven items from leading companies and in turn it offers them to customers. It’s using all social media to get connected with everyone. In other words, by offering items online, Dhofar makes it easier for customers to get hold of their desired articles.
“One of all the parameters is support of technological advanced tools. Indeed, our focus on above parameters is very high. Another important factor that makes us a cut above the rest is the sheer range of items offered by us. Whether it is a tissue, an air freshener, a garbage bag or gloves, we maintain unmatched quality standards. As an established organisation, Dhofar is also offering an excellent customer service and support. You can ask any of one of our customers and the latter will have only positive things to say about Dhofar,” concludes Dhofar Management.