EMBRACING THE FUTURE

Abu Dhabi 2019 | URBAN PLANNING, REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Felix Moral, CEO of Exeed Industries, on the modern industrial revolution, keeping up with technological advances, and potential export markets.

Felix Moral
BIOGRAPHY
Felix Moral is CEO of Exeed Industries Group and an experienced senior executive with more than 25 years of experience. He joined the group in 2016 and is also Board Member of Knauf Exeed Insulation and Chairman of NIIC, one of the biggest manufacturers of white goods in the region, which is based in Jordan and belongs to the Exeed Group. He is an industrial engineer and holds a degree in general management from IESE Business School in Spain.

How is Exeed Industries redefining its business model to increase efficiency in its used material and ensure a sustainable line of business?

Industry in general is going through an important transformation, and the construction industry is not insulated from this revolution. Today, there are countless new building materials, or reinterpretations of existing materials that are bringing dramatic improvements in manufacturing processes, transportation or installation costs, and quality. At Exeed Industries, we understand that we need to take advantage of these changes. We will continue using cement, steel, and chemical admixtures, but modern technology such as nano-materials present innovative possibilities in terms of design and performance. One interesting example is graphene, a nano-material from graphite whose supply is controlled by China, its biggest producer. We are in a country that is rich with oil; therefore, if we can collaborate with and control the downstream areas of this industry, we have a major opportunity to produce innovative materials at a competitive price.

How do you expect the supply chain of the industry to adapt to technologies such as 3D printing?

Although it seems surprising, 3D printing has been around for 25 years, and a relevant number of important industrial companies around the world are already employing it to manufacture spare parts and consumables. It might have come a little late to the UAE, but recently there has been a serious political push to keep these technologies at the fore. However, for 3D printing to have an impact, it must support operations and reduce costs in a sustainable way. For example, if we talk about the building materials industry, 3D-printed concrete is an interesting new technology but its effectiveness is yet to be proven. Undoubtedly, these technologies will dramatically reduce the amount of labor input required to produce concrete, but there is a great deal of trial and error left to work through. At present, there is a need to invest in the technology as well as people in order to change the mindset. At the same time, businesses should get used to think laterally in order to transform in pace with technological advances.

What are your thoughts on how economies should adjust to the trends you mentioned in industrial construction?

The public and private sectors have to shift from thinking about only efficiency to considering effectiveness as one of the main drivers of the future. The coordination and communication between the government and corporate stakeholders is essential to making sure that change is effectively implemented. Education is another important area that requires much better coordination. Universities and institutes are a precious source of talent, and we have to ensure that they are an active part in affecting change on the ground.

How do you expect demand to evolve in Abu Dhabi and the UAE?

By using indicators such as market size and expected development, some reports are predicting around 5% growth in the construction industry over the next five years. However, according to our analysis, the target market will remain largely the same in the next few years, but the number of completed projects will rise. This means that even if the economy grows well, we must change our operations and focus, which is why we are looking at exports. There are good potential markets for our products in Africa, for example, and we have plans to carry out field studies there in the near future. Since Africa is a vast continent, we are eyeing opportunities in East, West, and Central Africa. These are challenging yet exciting times to be in our business line. Whilst we look to the export markets, we also note that the UAE construction industry continues to surprise the world with new and innovative solutions and designs. Exeed Industries is proud to be part of the UAE's industry ,and we remain confident that the UAE will continue to provide growth opportunities as more new developments are announced.