Face to face: Roohullah Ramzan, CEO, MJB Group
From humble beginnings in 2012, MJG Group has managed to etch its name besides some of Dubai's larger FM service providers. In a market that's believed to be "big enough for everyone" by its CEO Roohullah Ramzan.
Integrated facilities management provider MJB Group’s growth has been steady ever since the company began operations in 2012. The last 12 months in particular has seen the IFM provider grow rapidly, in the case of some of its subsectors it has registered more than a 100% growth, under the stewardship of its CEO Roohullah Ramzan.
“In the last 12 months we witnessed tremendous growth, especially in the MEP sector. We recently won a contract to do 90 ADNOC villas. We are also a sub-contractor in many cases for companies which includes the likes of Meraas,” Ramzan tells fmME.
Amongst the latest contract wins, Ramzan is particularly satisfied having signed with UAE-based logistics giant, Aramex, a deal which was in the works for several months before the two companies agreed to put pen to paper, Ramzan says. MJB Group has nine sister-companies under its banner ranging from facilities management, cleaning services, business services, security, real estate and even a travel and tourism business.
Ramzan says: “I started my career with the security business, I then moved on to cleaning, followed by MEP, real estate, so on and so forth. We have a specialised and strong focus on MEP with a separate team now.”
He gives an insight into the clients MJB has been working with successfully. “With security we work with a few luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Bvlgari, Rixos and few more. We also work with Al Fattan, Sobha Group’s Mohammed Bin Rashid City, along with all the Elite Towers in Dubai Sports City and Dubai Marina. We also work with owners associations such as Strata Global,” he says.
Speaking of the company’s prowess in the security space Ramzan says: “When it comes to security we can challenge anyone — with regards to the standard, quality and the number of security personnel we employ. Seven of our security managers hold a license from the Dubai Government. And that’s because we don’t keep a manager to control the whole company, our clients manage our managers independently.”
Ramzan notes that pricing is a “make or break” factor when signing new contracts or negotiating existing ones. He is upfront and admits MJB Group does not always comply to the prices offered by some of the other players in the market. “Our price is different from the other 300 companies in the UAE offering security services, without doubt. It’s a little bit higher [than the competition] because our services help the management. I would not say their [the competition’s] quality is low because at the end of the day we are dealing with a strong human quotient. However, the difference between MJB and our competition is we put more effort in training and look after our staff. We have to remember we were a small company not too long ago, we started with two employees. Today, we have about 2,300 employees. And they are still treated in the same manner as we did then.”
However, Ramzan says the focus on hiring has slowed down as the group consolidates its existing clientele and improves its services. “We are evaluating what we currently have and maintaining the quality of our offerings. It’s not just about getting in new business, we want to strive to offer quality services,” he says.
Dubai-founded MJB Group has set its sights on growing within the UAE before it considers growing into the rest of the Gulf. He says Dubai and the UAE has set the precedent when it comes to facilities management, which has set several benchmarks. “FM is one of the main needs in this country at the moment. In other countries, the FM sector is not as well defined and is quite different [to how it is run in the UAE]. For me to come in to facilities management was to fulfil the needs of the people, with the right quality. If you look at us in the last five years, I can proudly say no one has such numbers like us while holding the kind of list of clients we do.
“Dubai itself is a huge market, and no single company can cover it alone. That’s the reason our focus currently is only on the UAE. If we get successful and cover at least 10%-15% of the market, it’s more than enough. In the entire segment, I don’t think we account for 3% to 4% of the entire market share. Even the biggest player is not more than 10%-15%,” he tells fmME.
Ramzan adds: “The difference with the UAE compared to many other countries is that its roads, bridges and buildings are always well maintained. This is key, as we see a structured approach by the UAE, and that’s why FM is successful here. I don’t see myself going out of the UAE in the coming few years, I want to achieve a sizeable share in the UAE first.”
Ramzan enjoys the prospect of competition and challenges. He says: “Sure there are a lot of challenges in the market, but I never consider them as roadblocks. Payment collections are a bit of a challenge but that’s not something I get too worried about. MJB operates as a family, our people are committed to the cause because we do not hire them on a short-term basis. I don’t get stressed out, I’m a very positive person.”
MJB flexes its muscles thanks to its ancillary services offered within the umbrella group of companies. “Competition is going to be there in all businesses, it’s constant. Hence, it all depends on how you maintain your relationship with the client. Secondly, clients look at pricing as well and that’s an area where we are more or less sorted because we have most ancillary services in-house; we own our own real estate, uniforms are procured from our own trading business, we have our transportation and rent-a-car outfit, we also have a travel and tourism part of our business which takes care of employee travels. We can, hence, compete with anyone,” he explains.
Ramzan does not always approach business with a hard-line P&L approach, and in turn takes a philanthropic approach. He says: “We are one of those companies that offers its employee accommodation in Dubai, and we own the real estate. So we charge the client based on the quality of service we provide. Besides, having staff accommodation based two hours away from their work site is not good for any party. I have to be able to provide the right kind of service to my own employees first before we can think of satisfying our clients.
“The accommodation we took over was formerly occupied by executives in the hospitality industry. We never discriminate when it comes to accommodation — everyone is at the same level,” Ramzan says.
MJB also takes a slightly different approach to recruitment, Ramzan says, with a common examination made compulsory for all. “In addition our training team operates independant from the rest of operations, and within our accommodation itself we have different training and rehabilitation rooms located in huge compounds at the property. We not only provide training that helps employees in their work, but also helps them to learn more about the culture, people and localities they work in. Most of our employees have a huge task at hand — they constantly face the customer.”
Ramzan gives insights into how MJB has managed to scale its business and operations ever since it began operations in 2012.
He explains. “In the last five years, we have invested all our profits back in the company because I want to ensure we can grow MJB’s status in the market. I do not approach the business with a calculative frame of mind. I believe my success comes from keeping my employees happy.”
As for the future, Ramzan is looking at strengthening the different facets offered by the company. “Our focus for the future is to develop the integrated facilities management side of our business,” he concludes.