Build­ing a legacy for com­mer­cial and rep­u­ta­tional ex­cel­lence

Ab­dul­lah Mo­hammed Juma Al Na­boodah ex­plains how to de­velop con­tin­ual and long-stand­ing busi­ness ex­cel­lence

Gulf Business - - CONTENTS - Mo­hammed Juma Al Na­boodah

AS BUSI­NESSES, WE strive for su­pe­rior per­for­mance. Our com­mer­cial suc­cess, to a large ex­tent, de­pends on the name we build for our­selves.

With this in mind, many com­pa­nies will turn to mar­ket­ing ef­forts to build brand aware­ness. While this strat­egy un­doubt­edly has sig­nif­i­cant pay­off, it is im­por­tant for de­ci­sion mak­ers to se­cure a legacy for them­selves through equally im­por­tant means; en­sur­ing quick re­spon­sive­ness to mar­ket trends, adopt­ing sus­tain­able prac­tices and sup­port­ing na­tional agen­das through com­pany ini­tia­tives.

The no­tion of busi­ness ex­cel­lence be­ing an on­go­ing jour­ney is one that we at Saeed & Mo­hammed Al Na­boodah Group have in­stilled into the way we do busi­ness. Con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment and di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion of ser­vices have char­ac­terised our op­er­a­tions since our launch in 1958 and this year we marked our 60th an­niver­sary mile­stone.

Over our years of in­dus­try ex­pe­ri­ence, we have seen that a com­mon mis­take made by com­pa­nies is to seize onto a suc­cess­ful busi­ness idea and attempt to achieve ex­cel­lence in a sin­gu­lar rev­enue stream. How­ever, what we need to un­der­stand is that to­day's in­dus­tries are char­ac­terised by rapid growth and con­stant change and, there­fore, aware­ness of pre­vail­ing mar­ket trends and en­sur­ing com­pany re­spon­sive­ness to con­sumer de­mands is crit­i­cal.

We took heed of this les­son our­selves. Although our flag­ship con­struc­tion busi­ness was launched in the 1960s as the firm's core busi­ness, over the years the com­pany has di­ver­si­fied its ser­vices to of­fer its cus­tomers new and in­no­va­tive so­lu­tions that con­tin­u­ally meet the in­dus­try's evolv­ing needs. We have sought to ex­pand op­er­a­tions across var­i­ous busi­ness streams to now cover trans­porta­tion, travel, elec­tri­cal, fit-out and our newly launched fa­cil­i­ties management and re­new­able en­ergy busi­nesses.

Hav­ing said that, this is not a uni­ver­sal ap­proach and the de­ci­sion to ex­pand can­not be taken lightly. Com­pa­nies need to en­sure po­ten­tial new ser­vices or prod­ucts fit in with the over­all brand story and make busi­ness sense. Fea­si­bil­ity stud­ies and mar­ket re­search is a help­ful tool here.

At the same time as grow­ing a busi­ness, com­pa­nies must take into con­sid­er­a­tion the sus­tain­abil­ity of their ex­ist­ing op­er­a­tions. De­ci­sion-mak­ers need to start ask­ing them­selves will my com­pany sur­vive over the next 60 years? How can we con­tin­u­ously im­prove busi­ness per­for­mance while think­ing about longterm suc­cess? How can I cre­ate a landscape for ex­cel­lence for the fu­ture gen­er­a­tion? As a fam­ily busi­ness, sus­tain­abil­ity is at the heart of our val­ues, and as such we re­cently for­malised our ap­proach to cor­po­rate gov­er­nance and cre­ated a sus­tain­abil­ity frame­work. We have is­sued our sec­ond re­port, in ac­cor­dance with the Global Re­port­ing Ini­tia­tive (GRI) Sus­tain­abil­ity Guide­lines.

This strat­egy over­laps with the re­cent call for com­pa­nies to sup­port na­tional agen­das. As part of the UAE Vi­sion 2021, the pri­vate sec­tor has been af­forded the op­por­tu­nity to sup­port the pub­lic sec­tor in re­al­is­ing the coun­try's am­bi­tions and en­hanc­ing the phys­i­cal and so­cioe­co­nomic landscape of the UAE. This can be done through CSR ef­forts, in­vest­ments in tech­nol­ogy and knowl­edge-cre­ation and even through im­prove­ments to the work­place en­vi­ron­ment.

For Al Na­boodah Group En­ter­prises this has meant sup­port­ing the UAE's shift to a di­ver­si­fied econ­omy and its long-term strat­egy to de­liver eco­nomic and cul­tural so­lu­tions to con­trib­ute to the growth of the na­tion through our vast port­fo­lio and com­mit­ment to our em­ploy­ees. Other UAE com­pa­nies have taken dif­fer­ent routes in­clud­ing ad­vo­cat­ing STEM ed­u­ca­tion, pro­mot­ing the UAE as a trade and tourism hub and de­vel­op­ing home-grown tech­nol­ogy so­lu­tions.

Ex­cel­lence in busi­ness is no longer a simple re­flec­tion of what our num­bers say. As Aris­to­tle elo­quently claimed, ex­cel­lence needs to be main­tained as a habit. Oper­at­ing in the en­vi­ron­ment we do, stay­ing ahead of the com­pe­ti­tion re­quires strong brand aware­ness and a solid rep­u­ta­tion. And this can­not be achieved in a year or two, or even five.

For us, our jour­ney of ex­cel­lence will al­ways need con­stant ef­fort, re-eval­u­a­tion and un­der­stand­ing of our fu­ture. This is why through con­tin­ued di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion, in­no­va­tion and a strong fo­cus on sus­tain­abil­ity, Al Na­boodah Group is work­ing to en­sure another 60 years of suc­cess and more.

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