National Aluminium Products Company’s mission is to be among the top five extrusion companies in the GCC by 2016. The company intends to double its aluminium production capacity and quadruple the capacity in powder coating, says Robert Holtkamp, CEO, in an interview with Oommen John P.
Could you give us a brief about your stint in the Aluminium Extrusion industry?
I have over 15 year’s industry experience in Europe, Middle East, Morocco, Africa and South East Asia. I assumed charge of National Aluminium Products Company (NAPCO) in April 2014.
What prompted you to take up the “NAPCO turnaround project”?
NAPCO has been operating for close to 30 years and its name has always been synonymous with quality. The company has been a bit of a sleeping giant in the past couple of years so when the call came to me I took the opportunity.
What was the status of the company when you assumed charge in April 2014?
When I assumed responsibility, the operational management of NAPCO was not aware of the market opportunities. Furthermore, they were not aware of the potential strength, threats or weakness either. There was neither a bankable strategy nor roadmap for the company. The new board stepped in and gave the nod to ring in changes for the overall growth and development of the company.
What were the major obstacles that halted NAPCO’s growth before you assumed office?
You cannot change the company if people have the same mindset. You need to find qualified people, who have the same focus as you do. There was disbelief in growth. A huge number seemed to be satisfied with what they were doing. There was need for a change in mentality. In principle, I came here as a change management person. Firstly, I had to convince the department heads, supervisors and foremen that things could be done to deliver higher output. We formulated a policy of ‘If you do your job right, you get the rewards with career advancement, if you don’t do your job right, there are no rewards.’
Which were the departments that needed an overhaul? What specific changes did you bring in these departments?
Many departments such as sales, marketing, production, maintenance, procurement needed a complete overhaul. I revamped the organisational structure and brought in qualified departmental heads. Additionally, I changed policies and gave increased thrust to Omanisation. Being the only industry of its kind in Oman, we are facing the challenge of finding qualified local staff. Currently, the Omanisation level is 35 per cent. But we are committed to further increase the Omanisation percentage. There are a lot of resources that go into training programmes in order to get the local Omanis to a level of efficiency needed for our industry.
Your business vision and how has it percolated down to the employees in the organisation?
Surround yourself with those on the same mission as you. It’s a question of changing people’s mindset. I needed to get them to an optimal level of performance and in most cases, seeing success is believing success. In my case, I showed them, they saw and now it’s the norm. Everything in 2015 is based on performance. We have made a prestigious incentive plan. We made several improvements to labour camps, employee of the month awards programme, celebration of national day, annual day for employees and families. These are to show appreciation for the employees.
Can you give us a brief on NAPCO’s current and future projects? What are the challenges that NAPCO faces in addressing its commitments?
NAPCO is currently working on several projects including Muscat International Airport- MC (Main Contract) 3 in Extension Area 316. Other projects that the company is working on include the National Bank of Oman headquarters, Nizwa Mall, the Wave Homes, InterContinental Hotel Oman and Clubhouse and a general hospital of Royal Oman Police. NAPCO is also working on the second package of Oman Convention Centre and a hotel project of Saraya Bandar. Our main challenges include supplier material delays and machinery maintenance scheduling as we have to stop production at that point. We do our best to minimise this effect but some things are unavoidable.
Where do you see the company in the next three years?
Our mission is to be among the top five extrusion companies in the GCC by the second quarter of 2016. Currently, we are in the top 25. Our priorities are living up to the expectations of the shareholders and the 275 staff and their families. We have a responsibility to make the company profitable. We are going to double our capacity in aluminium production and quadruple our capacity in powder coating. NAPCO’s main market is Oman and the company plans to have 70 to 80 per cent share of the Oman market by the end of the year with the support of the government of the Sultanate. And while we are growing, we want to increase Omanisation levels. Our strategic expansion plans will create employment for locals.