INTERVIEW: Five minutes with Mustapha Kawam

Mustapha Kawam, MD-Gulf States, Globe Express Services.
Mustapha Kawam, GES.
Mustapha Kawam, GES.

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Mustapha Kawam is the managing director-Gulf States, Globe Express Services.

What are the main challenges GES is facing?
Competition is a key challenge, as is keeping up with new technology; you have to keep on investing. For example, we opened our logistics centre in Jebel Ali, Dubai, two years back, so we have to make sure our technology is keeping up with advancements.

What are the company's main goals?
Our main goal is customer retention in addition to bringing new customers on board in order to increase our revenue. We want to train our employees better in customer service and as part of this we held a workshop earlier this year, concentrating on reacting verses responding, how to meet customer requirements and operational excellence. We run this large scale workshop every two years but on a monthly basis we hold a business review meeting with the operational team to ensure that we are meeting our KPIs.

We want zero percent complaints from customers, which is why we focus on employee professionalism and responsiveness. Retaining employees runs in parallel to retaining customers, so we invest a great deal in our staff and we are proud that 80 percent of our employees have been with us for more than five years. I myself have been at the company nearly 20 years.

Do you find it challenging to recruit the right talent?
We want people who are self-motivated. It’s very difficult to find the right talent. We know within one or two years of recruiting people whether they will achieve highly. We like to see what people can do and study their capabilities, sometimes moving people to other departments [to help them achieve their potential]. We are always hiring more people because we are developing the business and having the right people in place ensures we exceed customers’ service level expectations. This is our main objective.

What sets you apart and how woud you describe the market?
We differentiate ourselves through our customer service; the customer is not a number and we care a lot about each client, whether the company has one shipment a month or shipments every day. The market is becoming more competitive and it will remain this way – it’s the same for every industry, not just logistics.

Customers expect more and want to pay less; this is part of the job. It is more competitive than before the recession because only the strongest companies, with financial support, survived. The smaller players could not afford it, so they left, however many are coming back to the market now.

Customers are happy to be with a freight forwarding company based in the UAE. Dubai has built up a reputation as a logistics centre in the Middle East and in the world as well, which gives us an advantage in bidding for big projects.

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