DR. FAHAD ABDULLAH AL DAMER,
CHAIRMAN OF NATIONAL POLYETHYLENE COMPANY (NPC)
GROWING THROUGH R&D
As a result of the ongoing diversification process in Saudi Arabia, the downstream industry is flourishing pushed by secure raw materials at non-fluctuating prices and always available financing. If you add to this already tasty cocktail a good portion of investment in R&D, you will find companies like the National Polyethylene Company (NPC) growing at a thrilling 25 percent by manufacturing world-class products.
With 400 employees, 150,000 square metres of business operation facilities and production capabilities to process 1,500 metric tons of raw materials into plastic products per month, NPC is part of the minority in Saudi Arabia that holds an ISO9000 qualification.
Dr. Fahad Abdullah Al Damer, Chairman of NPC, has it crystal clear and knows that investing in R&D will leverage the company in the long run. He invests 2 percent of its turnout in R&D. “If you consider the saving that comes from investing in R&D, you will see that it is worth it”, he says. “We consider this expense as incentives and it has become the motive of our business. With the information we get from our clients we try to make things easier for them and improve our products. But to translate this into results you need a lot of testing, evaluating and sometimes redesigning and updating it with new technology”
NPC is a leading manufacturer of a wide range of polyethylene products from water storage tanks and road safety products -road barriers, traffic cones- to open top containers for agricultural usage or custom-molded products.
Born as the National Factory For Polyethylene Tanks at the end of 1999 and transformed into NPC seven years later, the company has built its capabilities around the advantages of Saudi Arabia such as competitive prices of raw material available through SABIC, the petrochemical giant company; reasonable utility costs; the quality of transportation and the strategic geographical location of the country for the international plastic market.
“SABIC is positioned among the top five petrochemical industries of the world and among the top three in terms of quality. SABIC guarantees us the inflow of raw materials to the factory so we don’t have too much turbulence with the pricing”, explains Al Damer.
“We brought the best experts in the world in rotomolding processes to change the strategic goal of the company from a water tank manufacturer to a manufacturer of high quality plastic products and to audit the operation vertically and horizontally to improve our efficiency”, comments the Chairman of NPC. “A five year plan was drafted and we started to grow in different market segments mainly because we upgraded our factories with heavy investment in R&D”, he underlines.
In short, NPC came up with a plan to triple the production in five years time and to grow not only in Saudi Arabia but in the region as one the top plastic manufacturers. After the first three years, NPC is showing excellent results and is already expanding regionally.
“We are aiming to be the number one player in plastics in the region”, he assesses. "We know there is a gap and we are filing this gap because we have high quality products”, says Al Damer. For him, NPC´s ultimate goal is to improve its existing plastic branded products and to continue to provide solutions to use plastic materials instead of other conventional materials such as steel, wood, etc…
“We would also like to serve as hosts for those companies willing to come to Saudi Arabia to manufacture their products and have the confidence to do it in our factory. “The location and the infrastructure available in Saudi Arabia from roads to ports will give us a long term competitive edge from our international competitors”.
In this atmosphere “NPC strives to become the supplier of choice developing a high quality management system in order to ensure that we set quality objectives and remain customer focused at all times”, affirms Dr. Fahad Al Damer.
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