Hira and Walraven find the perfect fix
Hira Industries and Walraven Group, two fixing systems manufacturers that have been active in the Middle East and Holland since 1980 and 1942 respectively, have combined forces in the UAE. The two firms have established a joint venture called Hira Walraven that plans to greatly expand the fixing systems product offering in the local market.
“Hira Industries has been here in the regional market since 1980, so its very well-known and established. Walraven has been operating in Holland since 1942 and the joining of the two has given Hira a phenomenal product range to offer our clients, while Walraven benefits from our extensive reach in this market,” explains Ravi Wadhwani, general manager of Hira Walraven.
The joint venture was established three years ago when the plans for a central Middle East manufacturing and distribution hub were first laid out. Now, the new facility has been launched in National Industries Park, near the Abu Dhabi border.
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Valued at AED 20 million, the new facility will be easily accessible to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and is located in close proximity to the Al Maktoum Airport and the Expo 2020 site, where Hira Walraven expects to see a lot of demand. “Our products are fixing systems, the main consumers of our products are the mechanical consumers, or MEP contractors,” explains Wadhwani. “We also do some work with civil contractors. These fixing systems are used to fix cameras, plumbing, wiring etc in place. So when a building is constructed the bricks and concrete are the civil works and everything else is the MEP work.”
“We are pleased to open the new facility. Hira Industries LLC has been woven into the fabric of the region, and our joint venture with Walraven has given us with the right technical support and innovative product range which will help us accommodate the growing demand of customers,” he adds. “With the opening of this new facility, we have not just consolidated our presence in the region, but also spearheaded our operations to supply quality products on time.”
That on time delivery is the key strength of having a manufacturing and distribution operation within the same facility, according to Wadhwani. “Having our storage and manufacturing within the same facility is fantastic for control of the entire supply chain operation,” he says. “We have everyone under the same roof, which allows us far better coordination. In our industry it’s quite common because a facility like us needs a lot of space. We need a custom-built warehouse and a custom-built factory. There are very few pre-built facilities, so you have to start from a greenfield site.”
This is important because of the nature of the work and order flows. “A key challenge we face in this logistics operation is that a lot of the orders come at the last minute, so you have peaks and troughs,” says Wadhwani. The facility has therefore been designed to offer better storage and manufacturing services, and is the only dedicated facility for fixing systems in the UAE.
Spread across 6,500 sq. meters, the facility is designed to meet the green building norms, complaint with ISO 9001: 2015, whereas the factories are ISO 14001:2015 and OHSAS 18001:2007 compliant. With an eye on future expansion, Hira Walraven has already acquired an adjacent 10,000 sq. meter plot for development.
“This is phase one of the manufacturing and distribution hub for Hira Walraven. It covers 69,000sqft out of which 25,000sqft is warehousing and the rest is the office and factories. We have two factories here, one is making pipe support clamps and support channels and the other produces rubber support inserts,” explains Wadhwani. “We can stock up to 40 20-foot containers worth of materials in our warehouse. It doesn’t need to be very big because we have a separate store of 10,000sqft where the raw materials for the factory are kept. We store steel coils, rubber compounds and other supplies.”
Wherever possible, Hira Walraven will source its raw materials locally, but Wadhwani says this isn’t always possible because of the ‘last minute’ nature of the orders it receives. “The three priorities we look for in a supplier are quality, availability of supply and then price,” he says. “We try to source as much as we can from within the UAE, because we’re an industrial company and we’d rather deal with suppliers that are present in the country, but we also import a lot from South Korea, from India, from Japan and we also sometimes import directly from the facilities of our joint venture partners in Holland.”
Hira Walraven’s vendors are handpicked and it visits the plants to ensure quality control, because of its strict quality and specification requirements. The new facility will be a central distribution warehouse. “This facility will be for the Middle East region, Southeast Asia and East Africa. Our operations in India are supplied by a separate facility in the country because of the size of the market there,” says Wadhwani.
The other major product lines of Hira Walraven products include light duty and heavy duty channels, anti-vibration products, mechanical and chemical anchors. “We’re three years into the joint venture between Hira and Walraven and we see a lot of demand in the coming years for the products that we’re producing,” says Wadhwani.