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Corniche, Al Khobar

Bringing a Factory 'to life' in
Saudi Arabia


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Industry & Scope :

  • Local business unit for the full range of products, systems & services related to High-Voltage Products, being part of a large international technology group.
  • The entity was fronting and supporting the import business related to High Voltage Products - i.e. 66 kV - 420 kV for Saudi Arabia as well as provided all the local services for these products and systems.
  • It also included a factory for GIS (gas-insulated switchgear) systems for high voltage in the range of 69 kV - 420 kV to serve the local market of Saudi Arabia, as well as other GCC countries.

Role / Function : 

  • Locel Business Unit Manager, being responsible for the entire product and service portfolio (local and imported business), covering the entire value chain with a staff of 160.

Business Context :  

  • The factory had been set-up 2 years earlier, but as the required local qualification of the factory and for its first GIS product have not been granted, the factory and its staff were idle, and it became questionable, whether this factory could be 'brought to life'.
  • Correspondingly, also the motivation of a large portions of the staff was low and lacked clear directions on the way forward. The staff was mixed with approx. one third each of Saudis, other Arabs from the region, and Asians.
  • The macroeconomic downturn of the Saudi economy during that period and correspondingly the lack of funds additionaly hampered the development of the business.

Actions :

  • Technical and commercial 'Clean-up' of the portfolio of imported projects currently under execution

  • Changing the corporate culture from a basically highly autocratic approach to a more participative and inclusive culture as well as developing related leadership skills.
  • Process improvements
  • Stringent cost management and cash collection in order to reduce the outstandings
  • Setting-up of a local center for Power Quality Management and assembly of Capacitor Banks, as well as strengthening the performance of the local service activities, including a merger with the service business of a related Local Business Unit.

Outcome :

  • Factory and the first product was successfully qualified in Saudi for utility as well as industrial customers as well as the process was initiated with other GCC countries.
  • Production was ramped-up with a good order backlog for more than a year.
  • A well developed team, delivering ....
  • Reaching Break-Even after 4 consecutive years of losses.

Duration : 

3 years