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Bashar Abou-Mayaleh on CIC’s plans for 2018

by CW Staff on Jan 27, 2018

Bashar Abou-Mayaleh, managing director of Concrete Industries Complex.
Bashar Abou-Mayaleh, managing director of Concrete Industries Complex.

Bashar Abou-Mayaleh, managing director of Concrete Industries Complex (CIC), is a happy man – and rightly so.

In the last quarter of 2017, Emirates Beton (EB) and Hard Precast Building Systems (HPBS) – two of the three companies under CIC – respectively increased their production capacities by 20-25% and 15%, respectively. Abou-Mayaleh says this was driven by market demand, adding that 2018 appears to be another busy year for the multi-product concrete specialist.

“We are highly satisfied with our results in 2017, both in terms of turnover and margins,” he tells Construction Week.

“Market challenges are always there, but we are always adapting, with a lot of new practices and planning expansions. We had a period of high activity last year,  so we expanded HPBS and EB in order to satisfy our customers with larger capacities. In general, 2017’s was our best [performance] in the last five years.”

A key business component that CIC focussed on last year was technology. Abou-Mayaleh says HPBS was “the first precast provider to bring automated lines” to the industry in the Middle East. As a result, today HPBS can produce and install four units of four-bedroom villas in a day, and according to the managing director, more tech investments are expected in the year to come.

He explains: “We are really focussing on more optimisation. The market is competitive, which means that you have to be much more optimised in each and every part of your operation.

“Automation is very important to us, as are a lot of technologies that can be deployed in the concrete itself. For example, we are now using steel fibres in many of our products as an alternative solution to normal steel reinforcement, which typically consumes a lot of workers. But if you start using steel fibres, it will encourage much more efficiency than using steel reinforcement would have.”

He adds: “Meanwhile, in the ready-mix segment, we are using the latest and most advanced concrete pumps and transit mixers, and we are trying to get the best key performance indicator (KPI) figures from those machines. It’s not about having very advanced machines – you also have to monitor your KPIs while you’re operating those machines.”

The good news, according to Abou-Mayaleh’s feedback, is that clients are now more conscious of the benefits related to implementing technology in their operations: “When you have a reliable brand, people will listen to you much more and they will understand the value added to their projects by technology.”

He continues: “It isn’t only about finalising the price – price is just one parameter of the total service you are providing. More importantly, it is about implementing the right information technology (IT), not just automating the machine.

“CIC is the first company to provide  access to its customers that would allow them to control their orders, measure the performance of their projects, and track their deliveries. For example, in the ready-mix segment, every customer could monitor the transit mixers while they are going back and forth between the batching plant and their sites, control the performance of their concrete pumps, or place an order from their mobile while they are at the project site. This is very important to us.”