Providing the logistics industry with a range of mobile computing solutions, Psion Teklogix has forecast a prosperous future in the Middle East, explains Bart Deleu, managing director of Psion Teklogix in Central & Eastern Europe, Mediterranean and North Africa.
Psion Teklogix has established a global presence with its mobile computing solutions for the logistics industry. How important is the Middle East market compared to other parts of the world?
The Middle East has emerged as a strong regional market for Psion Teklogix. In fact, the growth rates being experienced over here are probably the fastest in the world and we have developed our regional presence to meet growing demand from various different sectors.
In particular, the growth of the Middle East logistics industry has created an exceptional level of demand for our mobile computing solutions and we expect this situation to continue developing over the coming years.
When did Psion Teklogix actually commence its operations in the Middle East?
We entered the Middle East back in 1995, although our proper operations started around three years ago when we launched a dedicated subsidiary to serve this region. And that's exactly what the market needs.
Customers get frustrated when they order from a country such as China and wait over a month for the products to finally arrive. Through our regional subsidiary, we can deliver the products in a much faster, more efficient manner.
Our relative youth in the Middle East means we are still developing our market share and we have already forged strong links with heavyweights such as DHL and DP World.
Are you confident about future growth in the Middle East?
I actually updated the CEO of Psion Teklogix about the Middle East market very recently and told him the future is so bright in this region that you need to wear shades. We generally have a market share of 25% to 35% in key international markets, depending on various factors.
For example, we compete with US companies in many locations and we have to remain very strong in those regions. However, from a political point of view, they find it difficult to operate in the Middle East, so we can target as much as 50% of the market here.
I expect our subsidiary will probably become two or three times bigger in the next few years, with 25 to 30 employees.
What factors will drive this growth in the long term?
In terms of Psion's development in the Middle East, the main drivers are growth within existing markets, such as Dubai, in addition to new market entries within the region.
As a rough estimate, our market seems to be growing at between 15% to 20% a year, fuelled by developments in warehousing, airports and seaports.
If you look at Dubai alone, we have a huge number of projects that are currently under construction, such as Dubai Logistics City, Dubai Maritime City and the expansion at Jebel Ali Free Zone.
Even the population growth has resulted in unprecedented demand for retail products, which are brought to the consumers through warehousing
and distribution services. All of these operations need the type of products that are being provided by Psion Teklogix.
Are companies in the Middle East willing to invest in state-of-the-art technology such as handheld computers and barcode readers?
Yes definitely, companies will struggle to achieve high standards in their supply chain without these solutions. In fact, the solutions are already commonplace in this region, especially with the growing number of international companies which are present in the Middle East.
These companies have been implementing warehouse solutions throughout Europe and other developed markets over the past 25 years and they are now leveraging their experience over here.
How strong is the Psion Teklogix business model in terms of expanding the company within the Middle East?
Our operations in the Middle East are slightly different to regions such as Europe, where each country has its own office that deals exclusively with that country's business.
At the moment, Dubai is our central hub for the Middle East, while we have individual business partners in other countries. It's very encouraging that our business partners are practically operating Psion Teklogix offices, but without the Psion Teklogix investment.
It's basically a collection of regional partners, which are private investors in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt that contribute towards a very effective business model for Psion Teklogix in this region.