Face-to-face: Ritchie Bros' Eduard Faig
Ritchie Bros' new regional sales manager for the Middle East, Africa, and Asia Subcontinent discusses regional relationship building
With more than 55 years’ market experience, Ritchie Bros Auctioneers has established itself as a staple of the used equipment sector. However, a lot has changed at the company during the last 12 months, at both a global and a local level.
Firstly, there was the departure of former chief executive officer, Peter Blake, in mid-2014, and the subsequent arrival of his successor, Ravi Saligram. More recently for Ritchie Bros, there has been a reshuffle in the Middle East, with Eduard Faig taking over as the auctioneer’s regional sales manager.
Faig, who has previous experience managing Ritchie Bros’ operations in the Spain East market, became regional sales manager for the Middle East, Africa, and Asia Subcontinent in the first quarter of this year. During his visit to PMV’s head office, he explained that he’d wasted no time in getting to know his new market.
“My core responsibilities in the Middle East are similar to those that I held in Spain,” he said. “However, when it comes to the local mindset, prices, and brand reputations, there are certain differences between the GCC and Europe. It’s important to become accustomed to these differences, and I’ve found the best way to do this is by travelling around, meeting clients.
“I have iron in my blood; I love machines and I am constantly asking customers which brands they prefer. In the auction business, you have to make it your priority to know the commonly held opinions of your buyers and sellers,” he added.
Nevertheless, Faig is far more than a market barometer. As he explained, Ritchie Bros exists to provide a service to its clients. In turn, he and his team must simultaneously act as procurers, brokers, and consultants.
“A client might ask us for 100 wheel loaders, but we might not have 100 wheel loaders at our next Dubai auction,” said Faig. “If we do, their respective qualities, sizes, years, and hours are likely to differ from one another. But we hold auctions around the world, so maybe we could source 20 units from UAE, 20 from Panama, 15 from Spain, and so on. At the end of the day, Ritchie Bros is a company that provides a service. We connect sellers with buyers.”
At present, Ritchie Bros’ Middle Eastern operations consist of four to five auctions held annually at its facility in Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza). However, as Faig pointed out, the firm would – on a case-by-case basis – consider the possibility of holding off-site auctions in other GCC locations in the future, should demand warrant such action.
“Why not in Oman? Why not in Saudi Arabia? These are big markets. Last year, in countries like Italy and France, we held auctions at many off-site locations, as well as at our permanent sites. In the Gulf, we have only one site at present. It makes sense to grow [this base]. That’s one of our priorities: to grow so that we can better meet the needs of buyers and sellers,” Faig concluded.