Part of the Ali & Sons Group of Companies that has more than 38 years of outstanding history in serving the UAE and GCC market, Ali & Sons Marine Engineering Factory (ASMEF) has developed into one of the largest facilities in the UAE. The company is a strong regional key player due to its strategic location, state of the art facilities and exceptional services. ASMEF’s Managing Director Eng. Shamis Al-Dhaheri gave an exclusive interview to Marasi News about the company’s successful journey in the UAE’s challenging market.
By/ Effat Mostafa
As a young and ambitious leader working within such a challenging market, how have you maintained the company’s robust growth since it was established?
I have always believed that the future belongs to those who can spot and seize the opportunities that arise through change. Adapting to changing situations and market conditions in addition to thinking outside the box are the key factors to success. Every organisation needs talent in order to stay afloat, but attracting the right calibre of people can be a challenge even for well-established companies. That’s why I have always aimed to maintain a high calibre of personnel in our company, and encouraged them to push industry boundaries. This is the key driver for our growth.
Can you provide us with an overview about the progress of Ali & Sons Marine Engineering and how you have reached this leading position?
The support of a holding group of companies that has been in the market for more than 38 years has helped us to gain customer confidence. Ali & Sons has earned a solid reputation for sustained growth across its business operations. In response to a fluctuating economic landscape, we have already undertaken measures to identify and re-examine gaps, whilst bridging them in order to enrich our existing strategy. In turn, these insights have been applied to improve our policies, work procedures, systems, information technology systems and human resources.
In 2017, we carried out a programme to expand our facilities and our yard, as well as enhancing our team in order to become a market leader in every aspect of our business operations. We have always aimed to play a significant role in reinforcing the UAE economy. In the process, we have excelled as a one-stop shop, providing multiple solutions in the manufacturing conversion, repair, reconditioning of ships and rigs. That is in addition to our main focus on the oil and gas industry.
How many vessels, jack-ups and rigs does your company have?
We currently have five vessels, three jack-ups and one drilling rig in our shipyard, and we are working on various projects on them.
What is your company’s strategy to maintain its high quality service offering?
The best way to achieve continued success in a competitive marketplace is to maintain a high-quality service offering to ensure customer satisfaction. This has been our primary focus from day one and has opened up several opportunities for us, because our customers know that we can deliver and exceed their expectations. We also periodically review our existing business model and strategy in order to measure different markets and sectors. We have been able to sustain our primary clients including NMDC, Valentines Marine, ALE, ESNAAD, Zakher Marines and in addition to major oil and gas operating companies .
How does Ali & Sons implement cost effective solutions?
I believe that there is a systematic set of cost management activities and processes utilising modern tools that can be applied across our organisation. At Ali & Sons, cost management is applied to many areas, which enables us to gain significant benefits such as cost benefit to clients, achieved through efficiency savings in a way that maintains the same quality of services.
The UAE offshore market is fluctuating due to the instability of oil & gas prices. What are the current challenges for the company and how did you manage to face them?
We are currently facing two main challenges, which include the major drop in oil & gas prices and aggressive competition in the marketplace. We can face down these challenges through our unique approach to diversifying businesses, by looking for potential market opportunities where others are not able to fill them.
Ali & Sons has a strategic location with access to both onshore and offshore fields in UAE. How does this location serve the progress of the company?
We have 545m of waterfront facility that can serve all offshore and overseas works, which provides us with the flexibility to build oversized, non-land transportable packages. We have diversified business units and work directly with the major EPC contractors like Petrofac, for the UZ 750 project, Tozzi in the ADCO Mender project, with QCon in ADGAS Island Project and Schneider for ZADCO Island Airport upgrade. Our organisation also works alongside many others to build skids, modules, E-houses, and oil and gas related work.
We provide design, engineering, procurement and fabrication/construction based upon the clients’ needs. We also have our jack-ups/rigs business that serve the oil and gas upstream section, where we provide upgrades, refurbishment, cold and warm stacking, and equipment recertification. This is in addition to our ship repair and shipbuilding business with our flagship new build vessels such as Maram, one of the most advanced cable layer ships. This primarily supports oil and gas service providers and the offshore marine and other industrial sectors.
Safety and security are critical issues worldwide. How does your company ensure that safety standards are implemented?
At Ali & Sons, we have always prioritised high safety & security standards for ourselves, our people, our facilities and our clients. We are ISO certified and regularly being reviewed by the relevant authorities for safety and security compliance. Our activities demand the active implementation of comprehensive HSE policies to protect our employees, clients, and assets and minimise the impact of our ecological footprint, and we take our responsibilities in these areas seriously. Our proactive approach to safety has led to the development of rigorous programmes and contributed to our excellent safety record as we have completed 1.5 million man-hours in 2016 without a single Lost Time Injury (LTI) and we are aiming to a ZERO incident goal by 2020.
Can you provide us with an overview of your expansion plans and future projects?
We are planning to expand and grow our business across other GCC countries such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, in addition to providing technical support for major countries across the Middle East and Africa. At the same time, we are currently upgrading our facilities to meet all customer requirements. One of the initiatives that I’m working on is to enhance our activities to further support local businesses, in line with the vision of our UAE leaders.
How do you manage to provide mutual sustainable growth for all of your stakeholders throughout the business lifecycle?
Our work is driven by a belief that ideas can lead greater achievements if approached with creativity and innovation. We constantly identify, improvise and endow ideas that provide mutual sustainable growth and profit for our stakeholders throughout the business lifecycle. This is why we consistently focus upon areas where we believe we not only contribute, but also add value. We value our heritage and maintain an exceptionally strong commitment to it.