Saudi Arabia Review

Raghavan ... making strategy work

Raghavan ... making strategy work

3M targets Saudi Arabia with substantial investments

The company’s new office in Jeddah will serve as a scientific arm key for its operations in the Western Province, 3M area leader for strategic planning, marketing excellence and mergers and acquisitions MANOHAR RAGHAVAN tells K S SREEKUMAR

DIVERSIFIED technology company, 3M says that sustained growth that it has been registering across the Middle East and Africa region is a reflection of the increasing acceptance of its technologies that is reinforcing its overall presence in the region.

“Saudi Arabia is one of the fastest emerging markets for 3M globally and the country has been given the same status as has been attributed to the BRIC countries both in terms of investments and local resource development,” Manohar Raghavan, 3M area leader – Middle East and Africa strategic planning, marketing excellence and mergers and acquisitions, tells OGN in an exclusive interview.

“We have a regional office for Saudi in Riyadh and have opened an office in Jeddah recently to increase our coverage in the Western Region of the kingdom. We will continue to increase our footprint in Saudi Arabia and look at providing further investment when the time is right,” he says.

The Saudi government’s ever increasing focus and investments in developing world-class infrastructure across transport, healthcare, aviation, civic amenities and manufacturing has opened a world of opportunities for 3M’s diverse business units, which possess unmatched expertise in supporting diverse projects around the globe, he says.

3M facility in Saudi Arabia

“Keeping in view these growth avenues in Saudi Arabia, at 3M, we have been heavily investing in creating new front-end resources, building technical capability and professional services and physical presence across key locations in the country,” says Raghavan.

Excerpts from the interview:

What are 3M’s strategic growth objectives for the Middle East and North Africa? Where all in the region does 3M have presence?
With our diversified product portfolio and 46 core technology platforms we have achieved significant milestones in the Middle East and Africa region in the primary segments of the markets.

Our strategy for the region is focused on geographical expansion, building local capability, business model innovation and local leadership development.

As part of the geographical expansion, we would look at expanding our presence in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and some of the African countries, in addition to elevating our capability to serve our customers more efficiently.

We are also very focused on following the emerging mega trends in the region which include renewable energy projects, civic infrastructure and future transportation, emerging healthcare, development retail evolution etc.

All these mega trends bring in significant opportunities for growth and as a diversified technology company and we are very well positioned to address the unique needs of our customers in every segment.

Over the past few years, we have also witnessed increased revenue in our core business units such as healthcare, consumer and safety to name a few. Our focus is on leveraging the growth opportunities across multiple segments by bringing in more innovative products and solutions at a faster pace to meet and exceed customer expectations.

In the Middle East and Africa, 3M has presence across locations including Algeria, Bahrain, Botswana, Egypt, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Namibia, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Tunisia, Turkey, UAE and Yemen.

How much have you invested in the region so far?
3M has made significant investment in developing local capability in UAE and Saudi Arabia. We opened our Innovation Centre in Dubai early 2011 and a local manufacturing in Saif Zone, Sharjah. We are currently making additional investment in Saudi Arabia to enhance our local capability for the market, both on innovation and front-end resources.

We have also made significant investments in the front-end resources in our key countries and will continue to focus on specialisation on key markets/industries when the time is right.

3M Cubitron II Roloc

How much of your business targets the oil and gas sector? Which are the key areas that you are active? Please elaborate giving examples of projects.
3M supplies thousands of products to the global oil and gas Industry. From everyday essentials such as respirators, abrasives and electrical connectors to advanced materials for preventing corrosion and reducing the density of downhole cements, 3M technologies offers a wealth of ingenious solutions to many of today’s toughest challenges whether it is in downstream, upstream or mid-stream operations.

Our products are extensively used in many of the leading oil and gas sectors in the region either directly or through a service provider, depending on the type of business, products and solutions.

How much have you invested in Saudi Arabia so far? Do you have a manufacturing facility there?
The sustained growth that we have been registering across the Middle East and Africa region is a reflection of the increasing acceptance of 3M technologies that is reinforcing our overall presence in the region.

Saudi Arabia is one of the fastest emerging markets for 3M globally and the country has been given the same status as has been attributed to the BRIC countries; both in terms of investments and local resource development. We have a regional office for Saudi in Riyadh and have opened an office in Jeddah recently to increase our coverage in the Western Region of the kingdom. We will continue to increase our footprint in Saudi Arabia and look at providing further investment when the time is right.

What are the sectors that you are targeting in Saudi Arabia with what all products?
The Saudi government’s ever increasing focus and investments in developing world class infrastructure across transport, healthcare, aviation, civic amenities and manufacturing has opened a world of opportunities for 3M’s diverse business units, which possess unmatched expertise in supporting diverse projects around the globe.

Keeping in view these growth avenues in Saudi Arabia, at 3M, we have been heavily investing in creating new front-end resources, building technical capability and professional services and physical presence across key locations in the country.

We have recently inaugurated our new office in Jeddah that will serve as a scientific arm key for our operations in the Western Province of Saudi Arabia and will complement the diverse requirements of our business units.

3M is committed to delivering the required technical and scientific training and support to our customers in Saudi Arabia, and the establishment of our office in Jeddah is an effort to establish a local presence in the Western Region, which represents a key growth opportunity for us and meet our objective of being closer to the customers.

How do you see your business prospects in Bahrain? In which all sectors are you active there?
We are already doing business in Bahrain in multiple segments, such as healthcare, facility management, construction and transportation for over 15 years and have a very strong presence through the local channels that represents us.

What are the significant milestones achieved by 3M, with its diversified product portfolio and 46 technology platforms, in the Middle East and Africa region, during 2012?
There are many innovative products that were successfully launched in the MEA region. Silicone tapes for the skin and wound, micro-projectors, Littmann style range, Cavilon range of products for skin protection, advanced personal safety solutions to name a few. In terms of the other milestones, opening of the subsidiaries in Nigeria, Kenya and Saudi Arabia and a branch operation in Qatar were significant milestones for us in the region.

What prospects do you see for the present year? Do you plan to expand elsewhere in the region?
We are seeing increased opportunities in many areas in the region, whether it is for geographical expansion or increasing footprint in some of the existing markets or bringing in innovative products and solutions for our core markets and untapped opportunities in the many verticals/adjacencies.

What are the latest ‘imaginative products’ introduced by you in the region?
3M launched of the MP410 mobile projector in the UAE as part of the ongoing development of its award winning mobile projection technology.

The palm-sized projector, which measures just four inches in width and length, and stands just one inch tall, is the strongest AC-powered mobile projector for its size. The palm-sized projector outputs a crystal-clear, 300-lumen, HD-image of up-to -100-inches diagonally despite its 400 cubic centimetre footprint and weight of less than 375 grams.

The 3M MP410 model boasts an impressive 20,000-hour LED life, which drastically reduces maintenance costs and regular replacement of expensive bulbs. The MP410 Mobile Projector arrives equipped with a VGA cable for quick and easy connection to laptops, as well as a USB cable for file transfer to utilize the 1GB on-board memory.

With a simple-to-use control menu and extensive user settings (including eco-mode and keystone correction), the MP410 is a portable powerhouse suitable for impressive big-screen presentations and media viewing (straight out of its own pint-sized carry case, also included)

In addition to the impressive projection performance, the MP410 can also be purchased with an optional USB Wi-Fi dongle. Once connected to the dongle, the MP410 can wirelessly project documents, photo slideshows or videos from any smartphone or tablet device capable of running the ‘MobiShow’ App (available on Android, Blackberry or iOS).

3M also recently launch its exclusive lifestyle stationery in the UAE, which includes the trendy “Pebble Collection” that has been designed for the iconic Post-It and Scotch products by globally noted designer, Karim Rashid.

Colourful, fashionable and with an unmistakable appeal, the Pebble collection features beautifully designed Post-It and Scotch dispensers which true to the title of the collection reflect the smooth and natural geometrics of pebbles and stones. Marking a major shift from contemporary stationery patterns, 3M’s Pebble Collection breaks the utility object notion and presents itself as a lifestyle product that makes a statement while blending easily into the work environment.

Could you explain in detail the 3M Cubitron II Roloc Disc launched at Steelfab, its nature and specification and applications?
With decades of experience in ceramic, abrasive and micro replication technologies, 3M has launched an enhanced Cubitron II Roloc product, which is one of the longest-lasting Roloc discs available in the industry today.

3M Cubitron II Roloc Discs run cooler and longer due to durable edge backing for extended edge retention, with the aid of precision- shaped grain and grinding. The precision-shaped grain self-sharpens for consistent and continuous cutting power with minimum pressure as compared to any other industrial ceramic abrasive product. It has high quality 3M Roloc buttons which provides an easy on/off attachment that stays in place.

3M Abrasive Solutions offer a comprehensive range of proprietary technologies that provide strong abrasive properties. These solutions enhance productivity, operational efficiency and workforce welfare to deliver output that is a cut-above competition. The abrasive products from 3M are available in a wide range of sizes, backing weights, mineral choices and grades that comprises of cutting and grinding discs, power tools, Scotchbrite surface conditioning abrasives and super abrasives.

3M Gulf is now introducing these products for its customers across the Middle East region.

What is the market for ‘abrasives’ in the region? What part of it are you targeting for 2013?
The market is quite attractive considering the increased investments in construction and oil and gas segments in the region.




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