Saudi Chemical Company’s chief business is manufacturing explosives for applications such as rock blasting for road cuts and foundations, trench blasting for oil and water pipe lines, as well as tunnelling for roads, mining and oil exploration. It has also extended its reach beyond the civil market into supplying Saudi Arabia’s defence force.
Looking to grow the business further, when Mohammed Al-Badr joined the business as CEO in 2010 he decided to diversify. "I wanted to take the business from a local to an international level and I thought this could be achieved best by broadening our offering through subsidiaries," he says.
Those subsidiaries include SITCO Pharma, a pharmaceutical manufacturing and distribution company with factories and sales offices across the kingdom. Saudi Chemical Company also owns Egypt-based Suez International Nitrate Company, one of the leading producers of low-density ammonium nitrate porous prills, which are the basic material for the manufacturing of civil and industrial explosives.
Developed by Motorola, the Six Sigma process (Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, Control) is an improvement system for existing manufacturing processes that are falling outside specification, and subsequently reducing defects to a goal of 3.4 defects per million opportunities.
"We also opened a pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Ha’il, which is in the northern part of Saudi Arabia. And now we have taken the product not only to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries but also to Europe and the United States. We are looking forward to exporting more products," Mohammed explains. "In the next three to five years we will acquire pharmaceutical factories in different parts of the world. And from there we can expand our market share in other countries."
Mohammed knows that his long-range goals won’t be achieved without a strong team. "We will need to improve management and their key performance indicators in order to realise our strategic goals," he says. "We will be providing some training and workshops to go over the milestones that we haven’t accomplished, and to then establish KPIs for each one of them in order to achieve that goal."
Mohammed also stresses the importance of a dedication to quality as an essential ingredient to success.
Mohammed also stresses the importance of a dedication to quality as an essential ingredient to success, saying that the company employs the Six Sigma set of techniques and tools for process improvement to ensure the best possible standards of production are met at the manufacturing facilities.
"We have developed a strong system of standard operating procedures in our warehouses and we have auditors and consultants who continue to improve our facilities. Our agents and principals also perform periodical audits, so we have to make sure that we comply with their requirements."
"They are our major partners so without them we cannot succeed in business."
He focuses on quality when choosing suppliers. "They are our major partners," he says, "so without them we cannot succeed in business. When I was recruited, the first mandate was to enhance our relationship with our principal suppliers and strengthen the communication with them. If there is a complaint or a request, if they face any difficulties, we work together as one unit. We maintain a good relationship with them. We also developed SOPs for dealing with our principals."