In an interview with Window & Façade magazine, Ammar shares the success story of Schuco and their further plans for the Middle East market.
Please brief us on the history and objective behind the formation of your company?
Schuco was established in early 2000s with Alico, Sharjah. The company commenced independent operation in 2004 as a JV with Gibca Group with the explicit agreement that the setup would end by 31/12/18. The JV setup ended amicably as planned on 15/10/18. The objective has always been and will continue to be the achievement of Schuco’s potential in the region through providing excellent support to all the stakeholders.
At Schuco, we arguably have the largest portfolio of architectural aluminum system in the industry. Our core products, are, of course, windows, doors, sliding doors and façades; however, within each product family there are numerous options depending on the required performance, such as air, wind, water, thermal, size, weight, etc., to meet almost any project requirements. On top of that we also have many specialist products such as skylights, folding sliding doors, tilt and slide doors and security systems which have been tested to the highest standards for fire, burglar, and bullet and blast resistance.
Where are your products manufactured?
Schuco accessories are purchased from our head office in Germany and manufactured in Germany and Western Europe. Schuco profiles are produced at selected extruders in the Gulf in compliance with the strictest industry standards and quality assurance, the Schuco norms.
Could you please tell us about a few of your latest prestigious projects and the innovations you made?
We are privileged to be involved in prestigious projects on a regular basis; Damac Towers in Business Bay, Rixos Hotel in JBR and Marina Gate in Dubai Marina to name but a few. It is common practice for us to develop bespoke solutions on a project basis to match the project budget and demands, and on these projects this is exactly what was required. On each of the aforementioned projects custom unitised curtain wall systems were developed and tested specifically for those projects.
This is not to mention standard products which we have developed specifically for the Middle East region, such as our ASE 70 PD.ME panorama design sliding door. Such systems have become the trend in this region and due to our local innovations we are enjoying notable success with many satisfied end users being able to implement the sliding system they desire at an affordable price! We have a large presence with projects across the region since many years.
What are the advantages Schuco have over its competitors?
Schuco thrives on quality and reliability, the extensive product range, team support, local support, the global experience, technology center in Germany, the R&D and innovation centre, Schuco digital tools and the Schuco norms and quality assurance; strictest in the industry.
Please elaborate on the new legal set up and what it means to Schuco in the Middle East?
Our new legal set up is 100% Schuco-owned and controlled. The same facilitates more investment in the region in terms of field staff, back-office systems, and other enhancements for increased customer and market support.
What strategies Schuco is implementing to ensure continuous product development?
Schuco is balancing market price pressures with an uncompromising focus on quality and professionalism. We believe in new product development in conjunction with Germany to address an expanded target market. We work with a larger and highly skilled world-class talent to achieve our objectives.
What are your views on the future façade and fenestration technologies as well as materials?
We strongly believe in more efficient quality products with the improved price and great performance positioning. Superior material at the very high-end of the product range for top-level performance and esthetics is essential for building any façade. Increased convergence of technologies with digital tools supporting the full spectrum of the façade industry at every stage like never before, including enhancing field performance and efficiency is a must for implementing any project.
What are Schuco’s expansion plans?
We plan on increasing our presence in the field across the region to be closer to our business partners. Furthermore, we will boost our investments in office, warehousing, training, and showroom facilities starting in 2019. These key actions will enhance our support for the benefit of all parties involved.
What do you see as the main challenges faced by your industry?
The main challenges faced are cash flow cycle/ liquidity crunch/delayed payments. Compromised specifications, ethics and avoidable delays followed by unreasonable rushing to compensate.
What were the biggest milestones for 2018?
The milestones were: our transition from the JV into 100% Schueco, we achieved number one growth amongst the major affiliates of Schuco worldwide. Also, we increased field presence with increased market support.
Where do you see your company in 2020?
Our vision is to have a larger top-talent team, more complete market coverage, increased number one market share amongst international systems and larger and better facilities to serve the market.
Ammar Alul is currently the Managing Director of Schuco Middle East (SME) - the regional headquarters of Schüco International KG, which is responsible for 11 countries across the region. He is a member of a world class team that has led Schüco to the number one market share position amongst international systems in the region. In 2018, SME was the fastest growing major Schüco subsidiary in the world. More importantly, SME achieved superior results on a global scale in an independently-conducted customer satisfaction survey. Ammar’s past positions in the UAE included General Manager of Alico Industries, Director of Canon Middle East, and General Manager of Ricoh Europe Middle East branch. While at Canon, Ammar helped oversee the expansion of Canon Middle East’s area of responsibility to include French Africa, and the establishment of Canon’s first joint venture in the region. Prior to Canon, Ammar was the first head of Ricoh’s regional office and oversaw its establishment and support to Ricoh’s business partners across the Middle East and North Africa.