HIGH NETWORK INDIVIDUALS

Kuwait 2016 | TRANSPORT & LOGISTICS | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Fares Barqawi, Chairman & CEO of Posta Plus, on achieving quick success as a newcomer, leveraging new technology, and the state of Kuwait's logistics infrastructure.

Fares Barqawi
BIOGRAPHY
Fares Barqawi, a Palestinian-Jordanian national holding a Bachelor’s degree in Accountancy from Applied Science University in Jordan, began his professional career in 2004 as a Finance Manager with Near East Media. In 2008, he joined Posta Plus Group in Kuwait. After being appointed Regional Manager in 2012, the company expanded to neighboring countries such as Syria, Bahrain, and the UAE in addition to new offices in the US, UK, and China. In 2014, Fares Barqawi became Group CEO of National Express Company and Gazal Logistics and in 2015 he was chosen as Group CEO of Posta Plus Group.

What differentiates Posta Plus from its competitors?

Posta Plus is not just a traditional logistics firm; we are different. Our approach is selling ideas that make an impact on the customer experience. Today, we provide customized services that complement a company's quality and consumer targets. We help our customers with exactly what they need. We are currently educating the market and creating a new demand for a project called Mailroom Management. The idea came about when we started this project KUFPEC during 2013 and it was a success. Eventually, we took over their facility for the purpose of full mailroom management, managing all external and even internal correspondences for the company. Another idea called domestic delivery operation was derived from a previous big project we had called EZ Post with Jebel Ali Authority, which involved handling all their mail for three years. Their response to the project was fantastic—they loved it. If one employee wants to get in contact with another, they can send a message that will go to a dispatcher in the mailroom. Then, the dispatcher can send out a messenger, making the process more efficient.

What are some challenges that you encountered at Posta Plus as a relatively new logistics company?

Having presence in several countries made us conclude that understanding a country's geography is quite essential. Around 80% of our resources are navigating forces on the ground, which reflects a high cause and effect relationship between delivery, customer experience, and operating costs. Secondly, human capital in our industry is quite essential. While hiring, it is crucial to bring on board qualified, dynamic, and compassionate people that have a relationship with the goods being delivered to the customers' doorstep. Being present in developing countries and one of the fastest moving and evolving industries, finding the right qualified people is challenging. Finally, industry and government regulations impose high operational risk on the logistics industry. Unless the company enjoys a strong financial position, it will suffer from barriers to entry that exist into the courier space.

How does Posta Plus use technology as a competitive advantage when focusing on specific industries?

We develop our software in-house and we have well dedicated team with the IT department for three elements: software, hardware, and developers. Our website, the coming mobile application, and all the operational and accounting systems were developed in-house and these have been a huge contribution to our success. These have given us a competitive advantage because we can customize solutions without third parties and depending solely on our internal resources. Posta Plus is focusing on the e-commerce industry. As a time-sensitive service, the main obstacle for these companies is logistics. We work to cut down the time. MarkaVIP is one of our biggest customers when it comes to e-commerce. We are serving them in Dubai, Kuwait, and soon in other countries. Also we have a company called “Student Center,” which is completely owned by Posta Plus. It is a business concept similar to FedEx Kinkos. We are trying to have more efficient integration between the three. If a company can provide a one-stop shop, the customer will choose you.

How has Kuwait's logistics infrastructure contributed to your success?

The Public Authority for Civil Information (PACI) has invested great efforts in building a logistics infrastructure. All facilities have designated codes within Kuwait making the delivery value chain effective. We integrated our systems with PACI's systems and linked them to a GPD network that assists in speedy delivery and tracking shipments. We are able to plan appropriately. We understand the regulations of the GCC and the market demands in Kuwait. We have a clear vision and understanding of the customers' needs. We provide our customers with customized services, we understand the country's geography, and we know how to use our resources. We partnered with the right people at the right time.