COVER STORY But slotting into the family business wasn’t Khushalani’s first thought, and it certainly wasn’t his last. Armed with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and entrepreneurship from the Indiana University — Kelley School of Business, he returned to Dubai and wanted to kick start a new business venture from scratch. “I founded Premier Logistics in 2015 after studying a few different business models. I found my calling in logistics and freight and decided to pursue it as a profession,” Khushalani says. Premier Logistics started off operations with three employees, “we are 55 employees-strong today” Khushalani says indicating that growth is on the cards for the JAFZAbased company. Since its inception, Premier has witnessed a 22% year-on-year growth in revenue annually. “We have three warehouses along with an open yard of 25,000 m2, we have been blessed to have a healthy number of diverse clients,” Khushalani says. Over the last 12 months Premier has looked to strengthen its company from the inside out. Key hires that come with distinct expertise in the field of logistics and freight handling have entered the company that Khushalani hopes will “drive the next two to three years of growth and lead the expansion”. As a leader Khushalani is focused on building a workforce that will steer their departments while establishing and connecting with current and new clients. “Over the last one year we also established various divisions within the organisation namely finished vehicles logistics (FVL); value added services such as co-packing, shrink wrapping, labelling, barcoding and repackaging; and lashing and crating of bulk items,” he reveals. The FVL division, in collaboration with a leading Dubaibased vehicle distributor in the Middle East, is arguably one of the largest in the region. New vehicles occupy a yard that spans 25,000m2 waiting to get to their new owners. Meanwhile the value added services, which forms the basis for business for any logistics services provider, caters to more than 70 companies across the Middle East. Another huge win for Premier was when it was awarded a contract to manage the region’s large tyre distribution centre. “Premier in collaboration with Samsung SDS Global Supply Chain Logistics (SDSAE) put pen to paper on a three-year contract to manage the end-to-end logistics services for a regional distribution centre for one of the world’s top 10 tyre manufacturers,” Khushalani says. As per the agreement, Premier and SDSAE will manage the storage and distribution of the tyre hub in Dubai’s JAFZA within an estimated capacity of 13,000m2 over the next three years. Khushalani says that the handling and logistics of tyres comes with its set of standard operating procedures. Revealing the scale of operations Khushalani says: “From this site we manage the client’s product portfolio of passenger car radial tyres, light truck radial tyres and truck / bus radial tyres. We will handle approximately 800,000 tyres each year for distribution within the Middle East.” Khushalani holds his head up with pride as a partnership the likes of which Premier signed with SDSAE are not handed to a logistics start-up every day. SDSAE, which is part of the global Samsung juggernaut, has a network of 47 global offices and provides supply chain solutions with high-end IT capabilities. Speaking more about the importance of its collaboration with SDSAE, Khushalani adds: “Strategic Partnerships like these represents the changing nature of the Middle East’s logistics industry that’s moving towards a more innovative and sustainable era, one that will bring about major change in how we distribute products.” Assets and warehousing Although Premier owns a few of its Dubai warehouses, the company is looking to move towards an ‘asset light’ approach, which helps the company enter and serve other segments using various new logistics networks that are based on shared assets and that leverage partners and digital tools to foster large-scale agility and responsiveness. “Logistics has traditionally been an asset heavy industry, growth is often measured with the number of warehouses under a company’s belt. But we foresee our growth by leveraging our partners’ strengths. For instance, we are well equipped both physically and personnel-wise with the tyre facility. It 22 | LOGISTICS MIDDLE EAST JULY 2020 www.logisticsmiddleeast.com
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