Mar. 25, 2015


Alan Frederick Hinder

Qatar

Alan Frederick Hinder

CEO, Voith Industrial Services Qatar

BIO

Alan Frederick Hinder has been CEO of Voith Industrial Services Qatar since May 2013. After qualifying as a Mechanical Trade Technician, He joined the British Merchant Navy in 1979 before becoming Mechanical Field Superintendent for the Arabian Pipeline and Industrial Services Co. in Saudi Arabia. In 2002, he became Area Manager for the Oil and Gas Division of Almana Trading Co in Qatar and went on to work as Area Manager in the UAE for Arabian Pipeline and Services Co. in Abu Dhabi.

How are you working to build your reputation and establish a name here in the extremely competitive Qatari market?

Voith Industrial Services supports energy and petroleum petrochemical producing plants throughout their entire life cycle. Our expertise includes specialized maintenance, including but not limited to heat exchanger overhauling, valves and pumps, tank design and construction, piping and steel fabrication, as well as minor EPC projects. Just like our European mother company, we focus on excellence so we make sure that all our projects are completed to the highest standard of quality and safety. We have entered a competitive market and the only way to really expand our market share in Qatar is to be competitive. We consider three prime movers to maintain interest among our clients: cost, reliability, and safety.

Having entered the country in 2010, how do you assess the inaugural years, and how do you proceed in winning contracts?

Voith decided to enter the Qatari market four years ago, and we consider ourselves to be in set-up mode. The recent business year has in fact set down foundation stones for our future development. Year one of practical operations was a tester and we have achieved some milestones. Having closely examined year two, we see improvements in market share and other essential areas. It hasn't been easy but we are focused and we understand that we are not the only people in the industry. Breaking into this market is very complicated as clients have a tendency to look at well-established suppliers who have track records and have in fact been there before. In order to get into a market like this, you have to be competitive. The lowest price normally gets the job, and we feel that if we win a job at the lowest price we gain the local experience to apply it to similar jobs in the future. Internationally, we have 150 years of experience, and we have never made a loss during that time. We are trying to break into this market by using our European knowledge and expertise in engineering, marketing, and sales strategies. It is a difficult road, but we are making progress.

Voith chose Qatar as its first Middle Eastern destination. What were the specific reasons behind entering this market as opposed to others?

Voith is a solutions expert and we decided to move here as European markets were declining and Middle Eastern energy and petrochemical markets were expanding. This paved the way for major developments in plant construction, and, thus, future repair and maintenance contracts. Voith identified this as a potential platform for the establishment and build-up of our energy and petrochemicals sector for the Middle East. Here we chose to focus on Qatar as a primary hub with intentions to observe other GCC markets and strategies for expanding into other countries. Having set up as an industrial services provider, we will look at growth patterns and decide on future expansions cautiously.

How do you see the petrochemicals industry developing in Qatar?

We are working with the petrochemicals sector and this is where most of our projects are. I expect that this sector will see more development than the oil sector since world demands are changing to renewable energy. We currently have contracts with several large customers, such as QVC, Q-Chem, and Qatar Petroleum. We were recently awarded the building of a new tank for one of these clients and various projects for other clients. Overall, you can say that we are very focused on the petrochemicals sector but observe all challenges and opportunities.

Looking ahead, what is your strategy for moving Voith forward?

We have to attract customers and price is a major interface here. This industry is a competitive world and we are infringing on markets that are saturated. Still, we strive to deliver perfection, based on performance and reliability, and with keeping cost in mind we believe that Voith has a solid foundation. Our focus is on the best solutions that the clients expect. We strive for perfection and we intend to further develop our technologies. We have overcome the startup challenges and are now gaining a position in the market. With the opening of our new workshop and the enlargement of our workforce, we are in a position to be more competitive and absorb more market share while still delivering high value projects to our esteemed clients. We are solutions people who are always aware of our customers' needs and we want to be the market leader.

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