Technical Trading Company, a subsidiary of Al Sulaimi Group Holding, is in the cusp of a transformation, having shifted its focus from trading to technical services and project-oriented solutions. OER speaks to General Manager, Ibrahim Al Sulaimi, about the company’s business strategy and future outlook
Can you give us a brief on TTC and its operations in Oman?
Technical Trading Company (TTC) was established in the year 1970 by Sheikh Mansoor Ali Al Sulaimi. TTC is a leading provider of technical products and services. The company’s growth has paralleled that of the Sultanate; the company has flourished, keeping pace with the development of the nation.
We had commenced our operations as a trading company, providing fire safety equipment such as fire extinguishers and spare parts etc. During that period, Civil Defense was one of our major clients.
Later, TTC’s vision and business strategy has been transformed; the company has systematically sought to deliver solutions in more areas that cater to the emerging new market requirements. We had diversified into various divisions:
- Automotive & Industrial Equipment Division (formerly Garage Division) provides one-stop solution for all automotive needs, such as supply of world-renowned brands, after-sales services, developing modern, medium-to-large-size garages, air compressors and material handling needs, including reciprocating air compressors, electric motor driven screw-type air compressors, and diesel engine driven screw-type air compressors and generators.
- Fire, Safety & Security Division is one of the oldest divisions of Oman and we are proud to say we have been protecting the properties of Oman since 1970 by supplying all fire related items. We have invested on training and development of our employees as the industry is changing rapidly and new innovative products and solutions are being introduced. We take great pride in successfully doing some prestigious projects last year in oil and gas sectors which helped us build trust and confidence with our clients. TTC has always been frontrunners, and set standards in the market. We are specialist fire protection contractor in the market and our key assets and strengths are doing in-house design and engineering.
- Advanced Technical Solution Division(formerly Welding Division) caters to the pipeline industry, steel fabrication and maintenance companies dealing in welding, cutting, surface preparation products, machine and hydraulic tools. The division represents several reputed brands like Lincoln Electric, Hypertherm, EH Wachs, Graco, Ajax etc. and serves the industry to fight wear and tear problems and establish friendly metal fusion processes/systems.
- Power Solution Division(formerly Rental Division) was initially established to cater to our customers’ short term rental needs and to help our customers achieve their objectives by delivering and supporting quick, practical and cost-effective solutions to their requirements.This division provides rental services of the various products such as generators, compressors with accessories, welding machines, tower lights, load testing services, API standard double bunded fuel tanks besides additional turnkey solutions like installation and commissioning, fuel management and overhauling and maintenance services for all brands of diesel generators.
- Our country has sufficient amounts of sunlight available throughout the year; hence, we aim to tap into this valuable and abundantly available resources which will give us clean energy and reduce CO2 emissions. PSD has emerged to equip with the capabilities and expertise to provide different Solar power solutions providing design, supply and installation of solar energy solutions.
- Presently, PSD is nearing to complete the prestigious installation of a 50-100KW roof-top Solar Power System project at our new headquarters building in Ghala Industrial Area. This will be one of the first commercial buildings in the Sultanate to have a roof-top solar system. For this, we have collaborated with a German company, who have expertise in this. They are providing us with the technical knowhow and have trained our team members.
- Specialised Projects Division was established to fulfill and meet the market demand for high end requirements, with a vision to provide “energy efficient” special heating, ventilation air-conditioning solution (HVAC) and world-class service experience to commercial, residential and industrial sector. It caters to several sectors such as medical, industrial, commercials, telecommunication, and environmental control.
- Facilities Management Division. For the past few years, Facilities Management Division of TTC has combined traditional values and experience, with an advanced innovative approach, and prides itself of delivering quality facilities management projects. We work in various sectors including health, education, industrial, retail, sporting venues, transport infrastructure, offshore, energy, commercial, and leisure.
The division’s mission is to invest in people and technology to guarantee an integrated and innovative management of services.
- Elevators & Escalators Division undertakes installations, AMCs for all types of elevators and escalators for residential and commercial needs, providing world-class brands like Toshiba Elevators, Fuji HD Elevators, Infra Elevators etc.
- Welding Repair, Maintenance & Services Division was established to provide solutions for all wear and fusion problems. The division is well equipped with all types of welding services solutions and also takes up on-site repair services to serve the industry better.
Can you elaborate on how TTC has evolved over the last five years?
Since the inception of TTC, the core verticals of its business concentrated only on trading. The evolution started five years ago, when we gradually executed a focused strategic vision, amended our business strategies, and adapted to cater the needs of evolving market conditions, as we believed to foray into the services and project-oriented solutions.
Our company has flourished significantly over the years. Today, we have eight divisions with over 1,000 employees working across its operations in Muscat, Salalah and Sohar. We have also established our own technical team of design, supply, installation and services at most of our divisions.
We endeavor towards excellence by delivering innovative value-added solutions to diverse businesses in Oman. Our goal is to be a leader in providing technical solutions through our various divisions.
How did the shift of strategy reflect in your performance in 2018?
The shift of strategy from trading and products to services and project- oriented solutions boded well for the company. In the year 2018, we did very well compared to 2017, despite the various challenges in the market, ably supported by our strong team with expertise and cutting-edge knowhow across our divisions.
The shift of strategy started to reap the harvest in 2018, when we had achieved what we started off five years ago. The new plans were implemented in phases, during the last five years. We built it on a solid foundation, which will enable us to expand our businesses further and helps us to reach new heights.
How was the order book of the company in 2018?
We are delighted and proud to convey you that some of the major orders we bagged in 2018 include Nizwa University project, Ministry of Health project and some major power contracts for a period of three to five years and also pipe welding projects as well. We are also executing an important fire and safety project for PDO.
In short, the order book of TTC has raised up to 50 per cent in 2018, compared to the year 2017, which I believe is a remarkable achievement.
We did not have a crisis in terms of getting and executing the projects. The market is hungry, despite the tough competitions and challenges.The biggest edge we have over our competitors is that we have an expert team of technicians and professionals who are doing an incredible job for us.
Facility Management has been a new focus area for the company. Can you tell us about the business, its potential and some important strides taken by it?
Facility management was established in 2011 as a trading division, focused mainly on selling air conditioning units. During the year 2014, we have introduced Facility Management Services with a precise focus and vision to provide vital expertise support services to our customers and clients, both large and small. We managed it to build on a very strong foundation before entering the market. In the very first year itself, we secured a major maintenance project, in addition to stadium projects from the Ministry of Sports. Now, the division is stable, with a good number of workforce handling electro-mechanical, civil, mechanical and electrical projects.
We are empowered by strong fundamentals and highly skilled workforces. We are all set to win some good contracts in 2019.
Please talk about your expansion plans?
It was in 2018 that TTC has completed its transformation to a full-fledged project-oriented company. Now, we are more focused on consolidation. Therefore, in 2019 we are not looking for a major expansion. Also in line with our marketing strategy, we are foraying into international markets in 2020.
What is your future outlook for 2019 and beyond?
Prospects are bright for Oman’s economy and we have a very positive outlook for 2019. The Government continues to invest in vital sectors, despite the economic challenges. This bodes well for all economic sectors. Subsequently, I would like to say that the outlook of our company is also very positive.
The private sector needs to stand by the government policies at this stage and all should function together as one body. Economic diversification should be implanted in a planned way. We have to foresee the long-term impact and challenges in terms of resources, manpower and financials.