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Agility and speed in exploring new markets is the key to success
November 6, 2018 | 1:09 PM
by Times News Service
S. Gopalan, CEO of Reem Batteries & Power Appliances.
 
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S. Gopalan, CEO of Reem Batteries & Power Appliances and workshop presenter at Oman Export Week, to be held at the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre from December 2-6 2018, talks about manufacturing, export strategies, foreign clients, international markets and running a marathon rather than the 100-metre dash.

Why are events like Oman Export Week so important?

Such events are extremely important for Oman to develop into a major product-exporting nation. With a small domestic market, it is vital that our manufacturing sector export to reach global scale of operations.

How healthy is manufacturing at present?



Oman has a vibrant and diversified non-oil manufacturing base. There are challenges, but the sector is definitely reasonably healthy and needs to scale up, and reskill in order to become successful in exporting.

What are the new export territories for Omani exporters?

The traditional exporting territories are the GCC countries, but Oman can easily extend the same to the entire Middle East and also East Africa, which will be the focus in the future. The GAFTA (Greater Arab Free Trade Area) also offers huge export potential to Omani manufacturers.

How have international markets changed since 2008 and what changes do you anticipate in the near future?

International markets have become fiercely competitive. Agility and speed in exploring and exploiting new markets and opportunities is the key to success. In the future, these markets will demand more value added products. The requirement will be for high quality at low price, which will require Omani manufacturers to become more cost efficient and innovative.

Is it difficult to win the trust of a foreign client?

It is always difficult to win the trust of any foreign client, especially when the exporter is from a country like Oman, which may not necessarily be known for its manufacturing sector. However, if a manufacturer is focused and has a long-term approach, then it is definitely possible. Remember, this is a marathon not the 100-metre dash.

What makes your company so successful? What assets help you win international customers?

We became a successful exporter mainly because we built export strategies into the company’s DNA. From day one, the aim was to grow through exports — currently 85% of our production is exported. This was achieved by sticking to our commitments, avoiding any temptation to drop quality for the sake of reducing costs, and constantly developing products that squarely met the needs of our international clients.

Which of your products is the most successful internationally and why?

We only manufacture automotive batteries and the entire range is popular in over 50 countries where they are available today.

In which international direction do you want your business to go?

We want to consolidate our position in the MEA region while continuing to be a respected player in Europe.

What is the strategic potential of your business and its key to success?

As I mentioned earlier, our major strategy is “do what we say and say what we do” and provide value for money to our large customer base.

What is your company most proud of?

We are proud of the fact that we not only overcame fierce domestic competition, but also became a trusted supplier to key markets in Europe and supply products to some of the world’s leading defence forces including the British Army.

What was the journey like to get your company where it is today?

A tough but enjoyable journey. More importantly, it has been highly satisfying.

What is the main thing you hope participants take away from Oman Export Week?

In fact, there are four things I hope participants take away from Oman Export Week: appreciate the need to export; adopt the right approach to exporting; develop a high-level of self-confidence in their ability to compete internationally; and finally, understand the various ingredients required to develop and execute a successful exporting strategy.

(Oman Export Week workshops are open to existing as well as potential exporters. All sessions are free-of-charge. To register log on to: events.ithraa.om)

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