Interview: Balagopal Nair, marketing and business development manager, Faisal Jassim Group

Interview: Balagopal Nair, marketing and business development manager, Faisal Jassim Group
Published: 7 May 2017 - 6:58 a.m.
By: Rajiv Ravindran Pillai

Balagopal Nair, marketing and business development manager at Faisal Jassim Group, which specialises in the engineering, manufacturing and trading of building services equipment, sheds some light on the company’s vision.

What can we expect from Faisal Jassim Group in 2017 in terms of its penetration and market strategy in the Middle East Market?

For 2017, we have set our goal to become number one in business development through persistent efforts for sales-oriented growth as well as to be number one in providing technical support to our stakeholders, across the region. Capitalising on our strength as a total solution provider, we will be focusing more on becoming a reliable partner to our customers so as to provide services from the design stage of the project to value engineering alternatives. This will also include support for developers and consultants by delivering optimised energy-efficient solutions in HVAC equipment and to meet specific requirements of a project at all stages.

Our strategic alliance with Xylem pumps, IMI valves, Cleaver Brooks boilers, Lacaze solar water heating and storage solutions, etc., help us to provide smart energy-efficient and sustainable solutions for applications in the field of hydronic pumping, hydronic balancing, and domestic water heating. We are also in the process of partnering our own brand Flowtech air terminals and controls with a European manufacturer as one of the latter’s OEMs.

As a part of business diversification plans, we would be focusing on the pump retail business in the UAE in the near future. In addition, we have started a division for project management services to provide efficient cooling solutions on a turnkey basis involving in design assistance, product and field training, site installations and supervision, and testing and commissioning services. The market will see more products being added to our current portfolio.

How do you see the market shaping up in 2017 and why?

We are optimistic about the year 2017, though we are foreseeing various challenges. The UAE construction industry is expected to grow by 6% by the year 2020 – thanks to Expo 2020, where the spending has ramped up. This has already opened up several opportunities in the hospitality sector for several budget and luxury hotels as well as retail sectors in Dubai. In addition, the planned projects in real estate like the residential luxury villas, resorts, museums, and large-scale expansion work of existing retail facilities are upbeat. In Qatar, the host of FIFA 2022, we find several existing opportunities in the metro rail projects, retails, and hospitality sectors. However, KSA on the other hand has seen a downward trend as the private and government sector spending depended on the oil and gas market, though we have forged our presence over the years.

What are the current trends in the MEP sector according to you?

The general market perspective is to provide a sustainable and energy-efficient solutions as a part of the green building concept. Over the years, due to the lack of energy-efficient solutions, UAE has accounted for grave energy wastages. As we know, 80% of the energy in the building service industry is consumed by HVAC equipment. Recently, Dubai Supreme Council of Energy has set the goal of reducing the energy demand by 30% by 2030. The council is targeting existing 30,000 buildings to reduce the energy demand in the next five years. All the stakeholders are working in this direction and the competition would be to establish a benchmark in providing energy-efficient sustainable solutions at an affordable price.

We represent eco-friendly MEP equipment and services that provide a better quality of life. The concept of renewable energy is in the forefront, where we provide many solutions for water heating applications for adding value to the development. Moreover, the introduction of BIM in design layouts is an ongoing trend and requirement among majority of clients/consultants.

Where are the opportunities for growth and why?

We target all the growth opportunities across GCC. We offer the full spectrum of engineering support and are the one-stop solution for all the requirements of MEP products and systems. We have the resources, knowledge and expertise to support these opportunities right from the concept and design stage to the project execution by providing value engineering, equipment selections and sizing, and package solutions. In addition to the potential opportunities in the UAE market as explained in the market trend, our geographical diversification to African countries will yield more opportunities. Also, the aftermarket business/spare parts and retrofitting market in terms of energy efficient solutions will be accountable for future prospects.

What are the main challenges in the market and why? How will these be overcome?

It has been widely accepted that quality is high on agenda and at the same time the market has become highly cost sensitive. This situation has created an environment to work on low margins. We have been working with our partners on ways to reduce the production cost and making it more competitive without compromising on quality. And we keep improving on our process and response to give a better service to clients at competitive price. And moreover, ageing receivables is matter of concern. The contractors are taking the job at a low margin which reflects on all their transactions. We are moving very cautiously and trying to overcome this challenges by felicitating with special terms of payment and delivery.

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