FAST-PACED TRANSFORMATION

NAPCO has implemented policy amendments and many more changes to spur its corporate goals, says Sayyid Wasfi, Chairman, in an interview to Oommen John P.

What were the major challenges NAPCO was facing when you assumed the chairmanship?

I was voted to the chairmanship by the board in 2014, having served as a board member and member of the executive committee of the board since 2010. Honestly, my work has been made far easier having had the pleasure to have served under and taken on the chairmanship from Sheikh Rashid Al Sadi, who is among the most sophisticated and respected investment professionals and corporate leaders in the country. He led a talented and committed board of directors and achieved a great level of success at NAPCO. He knew that in order to survive in an increasingly intense and sophisticated competitive environment, NAPCO had to completely transform. The new board, which I have the great honour to lead, is charged with implementing this transformation.

The new board has retained three members from the previous board of directors comprising Abdul Hakeem, Raffy Korzadjian, deputy chairman, and myself. Both Raffy and Abdul Hakeem are seasoned professionals and experts in project development and management among several other areas of expertise. The rest of the board-Rashad Ali Abdullah Al Musafir, Sultan, Mohammed Al Husseini, Fawzi Al Harrasi are each tremendously successful and knowledgeable professionals in their own right. Each member of the board makes an invaluable contribution to NAPCO and I, as well as the company, are very fortunate to be able to count on their expert advice and guidance and full commitment to NAPCO’s transformation.

The biggest initial challenge was to find and recruit the right calibre of leadership to execute the transformation strategy the board had resolved to pursue. That challenge was decidedly overcome with the hiring of Robert Holtkamp to the position of NAPCO CEO. He possesses all the right qualities to succeed and is clearly a driven leader who is able to align and galvanise people. The board has been very pleased with the progress thus far in the short time he has been at the helm of NAPCO.

How has NAPCO transformed since you took charge?

Truly successful and sustainable organisational transformation must be energised from top down and bottom-up. Everyone from top management all the way to the people on the plant floor have to be synchronised with the corporate game plan. Equally important, the corporate game plan, at least on a tactical level initially, must be influenced and crafted with unencumbered input from lower levels in the organisation. This is what has happened and we are happy with this achievement. Every division was analysed and tuned to achieve optimal levels of performance. We now have newer, more attractive incentives in place for staff. We have increased our production capability by around 40-50 per cent, which quantifies a boost from roughly 12,000 to around 18,000 metric tonnes for the year, with the existing capacity of the plant and we are on track to double our capacity over the next few quarters. We have implemented policy amendments and many more changes to spur our corporate goals. This is an exciting time to be associated with NAPCO and I am honoured to be tasked with overseeing the transformation.

Why was Robert Holtkamp specifically brought in as CEO?

Robert has over 15 years of industry experience in Europe, Middle East, Africa and South East Asia. He was brought in as a change agent. Robert has the ability, as shown in his past undertakings, to revamp organisations in a short time frame. We saw major changes taking effect in just a matter of months at NAPCO so we know we have the right man for the job.

What are your thoughts on the expansion?

I think the expansion is a great initiative not only for NAPCO but for what it means for Oman. Once the expansion is completed and fully operational within first quarter 2016, NAPCO will be within the top five of GCC aluminium extruders with regard to production capacity. This is a great achievement for an Omani company. NAPCO will double its extrusion capacity from 18,000 to approximately 36,000 metric tonnes and we will quadruple our powder coating services. As 2016 commences, we will have a total of four extrusion presses, vertical and horizontal powder coating lines, one anodizing line, two wood-finish lines, a thermal crimping facility and a bending facility. With this expansion, we will be able to create more jobs for Omanis and give back to the community in a bigger way through our CSR initiatives.

How is NAPCO gearing itself to face competition?

NAPCO has always been synonymous with quality production. This is why our customers come back to us time and again. We are proud of this reputation and thrive on it. There have been occasions in the past where we had to, albeit regrettably, turn away customers due to our machinery producing at optimal levels so we believe our market share will grow in accordance to our capacity growth. Our aim is to always maintain a good working partnership with our customers.

Has the public listing tag spurred NAPCO’s growth?

In some respects, yes it has. Being a public listed company means we are stringently governed by the Capital Market Authority (CMA) and that we have to abide by the procedures and policies set out which translates to good business practices throughout our divisions. This can only mean a positive for our clients and potential clients alike. I believe a higher level of trust is perceived to be given to a company with a public listing tag than a privately held one. On the other hand, our competitors are all privately owned and not listed on any public exchange. This has the potential to create competitive challenges but overall our transparency, quality and customer focus are NAPCO’s core competencies and competitive differentiators. The transformation will relentlessly leverage upon these strengths to the benefit of our customers, employees and shareholders.

What are your personal Omanisation goals for NAPCO?

With 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. However we are committed to further increase the Omanisation percentage well beyond the minimum requirement. 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 and we are 100 per cent committed to helping Omani nationals achieve their full potential so that they are able to make the maximum contribution to Napco, their colleagues, their communities and their families. We are working closely with the Ministry of Manpower and have thus far selected 30 Omanis from Mohsin Haider Darwish (MHD) Training Institute to join our team in the coming months. We want each NAPCO employee, whether Omani or non- Omani and each stakeholder, to be proud of being associated with the company. NAPCO is a true child of the Blessed Renaissance and a direct beneficiary for over 20 years of the wisdom with which His Majesty has led our wonderful country. We are inspired by his vision and motivated by the promise of an exciting and fruitful future for NAPCO shaped and driven by talented, ambitious and committed Omani nationals. Omanisation is not just a number at NAPCO. It runs far deeper than that.

Where do you see NAPCO in three years?

Currently, we are in the top 25 of aluminium extruders in the GCC and our aim is to be in the top 5 by next year. Our priorities are living up to the expectations of the shareholders and the staff. We plan to increase our market share in the rest of the GCC and also to tap into newer territories mainly in the African continent.

However, NAPCO’s main market is Oman and the company plans to attain a very significant increase in its market share in Oman going forward. NAPCO is an Omani company which produces among the best quality products in the market at competitive prices. There is absolutely no reason for Omani customers to look elsewhere. We should have supremacy in this market on pure merit. We have set about sending that message out with a far greater focus on our home market than before. We had taken our eye off our own backyard but the management is viewing this as an opportunity. We are seeing some good results but the opportunity that remains in very substantial which is exciting.

I am hugely optimistic regarding NAPCO’s future over the next three, five and 10 years. The board and the management are building the foundations for a transformation which will benefit all stakeholders for many years to come.


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