Eagle Eyes: John Taylor on Trimble in the Gulf
John Taylor discusses Sitech Gulf‘s progress in the delivery of Trimble in the GCC just four short years since its incorporation by Mohamed Abdulrahman Al-Bahar
Sitech Gulf was incorporated in 2012 as a subsidiary of Mohamed Abdulrahman Al-Bahar as the regional representative for Trimble’s global positioning systems across the GCC.
Four years on, John Taylor, chief operations officer of Sitech Gulf, discusses the company’s latest plans, which involve its differentiation into three separate companies, as well as the establishment of a new base of operations.
Since 2012, how has the business grown and developed in the GCC markets?
In 2012 there were just a small handful of companies using machine control technology. Sitech Gulf has put an enormous effort into educating the contractor and it is becoming more and more accepted. Sitech Gulf’s CEO Khalifa Al Ghanim spent 2010 and 2011 travelling to several countries and interviewing existing Sitech’s in order to understand the business. I was then hired as COO in April 2012 to begin operations.
We began hiring, starting with an initial headcount of five. Today we have 25 employees, and we are in the process of expanding again — during 2017 we plan to expand to 50 people. In 2016, we were also awarded the Trimble Geospatial Solutions dealership and formed Gulf Positioning Services to better serve our customers with advanced LiDAR and photogrammetry technology on a hire basis.
What have been the main divisions or product groups during that time?
For the construction segments, we have mainly been involved in the delivery of machine control, site positioning systems (GNSS and optical), marine systems and drone systems for construction sites and quarries.
For the surveyor and municipalities, our efforts have focused on GNSS (using GPS and other constellations of satellite constellations), advanced optical instruments, LiDAR and the delivering of mobile mapping, drones and photogrammetry technologies.
Sitech Gulf is now splitting its activities across three companies — what are they?
The first is of course Sitech Gulf, which will be a distributor of Trimble machine control systems, site positioning systems, software, Loadrite scales, and fleet management solutions for the construction market.
The second is AllTerra Gulf — which will be a dedicated distributor of geospatial technology. Trimble is the worldwide leader in land surveying technology for construction, surveying and government entities. It also has advanced scanning and mapping solutions, such as Spectra Precision and Nikon Survey instruments. This segment also includes a very wide portfolio of products including GPS/GNSS products, total stations, geographic information systems (GIS), scanners, drones and software for processing all this data. Lastly, there is Gulf Positioning Services, which is a service and lease provider of scanning and mobile mapping technology, including LiDAR and photogrammetry.
What is the purpose of the new facility that Sitech Gulf is establishing, and how will it benefit the customer?
The new facility will incorporate all our divisions under one roof and provide state-of-the-art repair and service facilities as well as a dedicated training centre that we will use to educate the market in the latest technologies. The facility is located in the Dubai Industrial City just off the new 311 extension to Abu Dhabi — making it very convenient for customers in both emirates.
Are both these developments tied into a broadening of Sitech Gulf’s strategy?
Our strategy is to be a “one-stop shop” for companies using positioning technology, offering the complete Trimble product line up and backing it up with experts that can assist in making sure our customers achieve maximum savings that can be achieved implementing this technology.
Are these developments taking place in reaction to changes in the market?
The distribution system in the Gulf region was very fragmented and inconsistent with multiple dealership changes occurring that caused market confusion. Consolidating these dealerships with a company as well-known and as stable as Al-Bahar will build confidence in the market for our brands.
What immediate, mid-term and long-term changes can customers expect to arise from these various developments?
The intermediate changes will be determined by the region: in some regions we will make the initial transition with minimal changes that the customers will be aware of; in other regions there will be immediate changes to the existing sales organisation. In the mid- and long-term, customers can expect to be presented with a solution that works best for their applications and not a solution that the sales person wishes to sell. For example, the Sitech sales representative will also be aware of scanning solutions that are not Sitech products, and they will be able to bring our experts from the other organisations to discuss that technology.