Ammar Alul, General Manager of Schüco Middle East, discusses how the company’s digital solutions enable it to remain ahead of the competition...
Founded in north-western Germany in the early 1950s, Schüco has expanded into over 80 countries and become a key figure within the Middle East construction sector. Behind the development of new products and services, Schüco continues to win a number of residential and commercial projects by delivering a complete, integrated system to its customers.
“There are basically two categories of items which we sell: one is profiles and the other is accessories,” explains Ammar Alul, General Manager of Schüco Middle East.
“We insist on selling the integrated system which ensures performance, quality, and reliability. We pride ourselves on the completeness of what we sell, whereas in some cases, others might offer solely profiles, and then a factory fabricator chooses the accessories, or, in some cases, competitors give options for accessories.
“We ensure better installation, increased durability and further reliability, minimising wastage and energy.”
Schüco’s quality, support, and complete ‘one-stop shop’ approach for its customers has seen it gain increased prominence. Key projects in the Middle East are countless, including the Damac Towers by Paramount in Dubai, Kuwait Investment Authority headquarters in Kuwait City and the ongoing King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah. Heading up Schüco Middle East since 2011, Alul has seen the company grow its services and increase its focus on providing ongoing maintenance, replacement and exceptional technical support, leading customers to choose Schüco for future projects.
“We believe in ethical and professional partnerships supported by competitive, top-quality products and superior support to all our stakeholders,” says Alul.
The construction sector continues to grow apace, with new technologies set to reshape the way in which materials are manufactured and projects are delivered. Guaranteeing sufficient cost savings and high quality within its service offering, Schüco’s technology centres have supported its ongoing business growth, alongside the business’s ability to remain competitive across its operations.
“Our technology centre is the largest by miles, and is above anything else in the industry,” reflects Alul. “This gives Schüco the number one brand that everyone recognises in terms of quality and quantity.” The implementation of a new, heavy-duty, digitised factory floor system has also provided increased efficiencies within Schüco’s traditional fabrication processes and allowed for the rotation of 3D images and real-time updates across the board.
Empowering and strengthening relationships
A founding member of the popular Windows, Doors, and Facades show in Dubai since its inception in 2016, Schüco has grown its presence internationally and participated in global construction events. One such example is construction trade show, Bau, held this year in Munich, Germany, at the beginning of 2017. Here, Schüco displayed its continuing efforts within the augmented and virtual reality space.
“Once a user puts a set of goggles on they are able to access a virtual showroom, where they can choose our products and see how they would look when installed in their project,” notes Alul.
“Augmented reality is having the real images of a space, then augmenting that with one of our products to see how it would look. The images are real but then the augmentation would be virtual.”
However, such technological advances would not be possible without an engaged, passionate workforce. Schüco’s nonstop commitment in developing beneficial relationships with its suppliers has seen the need for increased communication and worker engagement within its various operational layers. Consequently, Schüco focuses on guaranteeing positive worker morale, with low turnover rates at both staff and management level seeing it go from strength to strength.
“In many cases we have employees turning down higher paying jobs because they're not willing to jump ship, even for a 20% pay increase,” observes Alul. “Also, empowering the team is critical. The golden rule is to communicate and support each other, as long as that does not affect your own deliverables.”
This outlook is also applied to Schüco’s relationship with its suppliers and customers. Mutual trust has seen the company gain a solid reputation surrounding its service delivery. Alul explains that if one customer convinces Schüco of the need for a lower price on a project, they are given that lower price, but so are the other customers who are competing on the same job without having to ask for it.
"For different jobs, customers might get different prices because of the competitiveness of each job and each project. All the companies on a single job will get the same price. This grants a huge amount of respect for Schüco Middle East because customers recognise the professionalism, fairness, and ethics of our operations,” adds Alul.
“Sometimes a supplier does not want a company to be on the job, so they give that company higher prices than others. We don't do that. We face that company head on and we tell them, ‘we don't believe you should be on this job'. This is of course for professional reasons only, which could be surrounding pricing, capability, or any another reason of concern.
“The bottom line is ethics, fairness, communication, and a true sense of partnership.”
This attitude even extends to current challenges, such as payment delays from customers, as well as the issue of demand, which is currently lower than supply, driving down prices for the industry.
However, the company continues to remain competitive in its pricing and continues to strengthen its market leadership.
Giving back to local communities, Schüco’s strong corporate social responsibility focus will see the company work with the University of Sharjah team in the UAE within the upcoming solar decathlon competition. Set to be held in Dubai, competing university teams are challenged to build an energy efficient house, with a zero-carbon footprint. Schüco has donated a scope of its works not only to promote projects that highlight the importance of sustainability within construction and design, but also to signify a growing demand for energy efficient buildings, in line with the Paris Agreement.
“We have a plan for the next three years to take the company above and beyond the percentages that we have been growing at,” concludes Alul. With plans for further investment in its staff and facilities, Schüco will increasingly work to support its customers through competitive pricing. This, in alignment with its high-quality services and delivery of a complete, integrated system, will see the business go from strength to strength.