Yemen’s Young Entrepreneurs: LEADING THE WAY TO THE NEW MILLENNIUM [Archives:1999/13/Business & Economy]

March 29 1999

That is the spirit that drives a new crop of Yemeni entrepreneurs. These are young people who have studied in the West, and are today in the driver’s seat for part of our economy.
Here is the story as seen by one of these young businessmen.
No mountain is too high to climb, and no dream can be beyond reach as long as there is a “defined goal”, “a well thought out strategy”, “clearly established objectives”, “effective implementation”, “exceptional dedication”, “intense long hours”, “unwavering determination”, and most of all, “one must believe”. Looking around me today, a euphoric emotion runs through me as I see other newly established “service conscious” Yemeni establishments on the path of development and growth, founded by sound practical business principles.
The growth of small businesses goes hand in hand with the growth of the economy and plays a vital role in decreasing the unemployment rate. Equal opportunity and fair competition are essential in the development of a healthy and prosperous market place. It is for this that young motivated entrepreneurs have come to realize that to compete against the other larger organizations, they must not solely depend on “Price” and “Quality” as their determining factor. They rather need to utilize all the current sales and marketing tools already available, in addition to constantly probing the latest concepts/ideas/mechanisms made available to date.
The acknowledgement of Service” as the critical third elements has tipped the scale in favor of those whom clearly understand that, in this fast pace time we are living in, end-users are demanding quality service and are willing to pay a marginal percent more if necessary.
Having said this, it would be appropriate at this time to elaborate on the connotation of “Service conscious.” For example, a service conscious trading firm, simply stated, is a firm that is conscious/aware that “optimal customer satisfaction” is only derived if the customer is satisfied with the purchase price, the quality of goods received and most significantly, the service quality rendered (initiating from date quote request is received by seller until final receipt of goods by end-user).
To many “none service oriented” traders, the process of buying and selling may seem like a piece of cake. However, in reality this is far-fetched from the truth and even further where commodity trader is made available via international sources. In essence, so much can go wrong during the transaction of the trading process. For example, seller could delay goods for reason of neglect to follow-up, products supplied incorrect, quantities supplied incorrect.
Now you have a very dissatisfied “customer” as he/she is confronted with anxiety and stress involved with the big question; “What do I do now”? The headache is compounded exponentially, if for example, a wrong part (critical for operations) is received and as a result the customer’s plant is now in a situation where it may have to stop operations. This is the time when your customer had wished his/her lucky stars that purchase was transacted via a reliable “Service conscious” company.
So, what do “Service Conscious” organizations have to offer? For one, they cut buyers Aspirin consumption expenditures to the absolute minimum. Although, you and I know that, the real cost savings is not tied-up in Aspirin as much as it is tied-up with the loss that would have been associated with the shut-down of a factory, electricity blackouts or the reduction in the flow of crude oil.
In general, there are several fundamental elements for which enables ?Trading “Service Conscious” companies to become efficient, effective, and reliable.
1. The Service Concept must be clearly established, integrated and given top priority in the Company’s overall strategic objectives.
2. Maintain very close communication with their customers and suppliers at all times.
3.Give special consideration and attention to the expediting and material control Functions.
4.Must capitalize very heavily on all available Communication Systems/Networks, information systems in addition to other resourceful tools.
a) Should have more than one telephone line and fax line
b) E-mail address (es).
c) Utilize the Internet to its fullest capability. To cite some examples of Internet services available today:
1.On-line purchasing.
2.Generating export documentation for new shipments.
3.Managing your logistics process via different types of tracking systems (i.e., Airfreight, Ocean freight, U.S. Domestic freight, custom brokerageÉ etc.)
4.Quickly determining accurate duty information and receiving immediate answers to worldwide duty and tax questions.
5.Scan regularly updated news and information that effects your international business.
6.Simplifies processes by making products/services and information easy and conveniently accessible.
7.On the spot production information as to discontinued items, replacement items, etc.
5.It is imperative that there is an outlined clearly defined procedural workflow for which all company staff must strictly adhere to.
In lieu of the above fundamental Service elements, a Trading Company must still prove itself worth of what it preaches, but this can only be achieved by the test of time. It is only after numerous successful transactions that a buyer begins to gain confidence and reassurance in the supplier’s ability to perform to the standard service level required. At this time a bond is established between the buyer and supplier leading to a long-term business relationship reinforced by the supplier’s continuous, consistent reliable service rendered.
It is very clear by now that “service”, as a third element, is fundamental in the progress of Yemeni establishments on the avenue of sound astute business practice. It is only recently that Yemen witnessed a trend of newly established service-conscious organizations, which have given a new enhanced addition to business community in general. As a result, this has allowed many private and public establishments on the demand side of the Yemeni market to apply and take advantage of the quality service that is now being offered by young, inspired, energetic Yemeni businessmen and businesswomen.
There is a number of firms which have seized the opportunity and are now capitalizing heavily in employing the services of credible Yemeni organization, in addition to working very closely with them to further develop and strengthen the “customer/supplier relationship”. At first, I would like to thank Canadian Occidental Petroleum-Yemen management for their relentless efforts and significant progress made in their “Vendor Development Program”. The success of said program is highly attributed to the continued and undeviating efforts exerted by Samir Zewar and the many others at CanOxy’s procurement team. I would also like to thank Yemen Hunt Oil Company, Jannah Hunt Oil Company, Mr. Andre Ducelier and Ms. Leila Al-Hayouti of Total Yemen and the many others whom are now utilizing the Services to the Yemeni Vendors and for which, I am certain, have found to be mutually rewarding.
It is critical that we, as a society, adapt ourselves to meet the challenges of the changing times. We must not impose ourselves out of weakness byt rather out of strength. Strength only comes about by confronting the endeavors inherent in a free market and upgrading ourselves to meet the coming of the new millennium.
I salute the many young businessmen and businesswomen who are working relentlessly around the clock to make a momentous change in the maturing Yemeni business dealings. I also encourage everyone out there to pursue their dreams and, most of all, to “BELIEVE”.
By: Osama Sallam,
Managing Director, ALLISI CO. LTD.