What has been your greatest challenge during the pandemic era when leading your firm and how do you feel you have overcome this?
Our greatest challenge with so many mobility restrictions during the lockdown as well as with clients trying to avoid contact with other people, was to be able to provide the proper service and care for their TEKA appliances when they needed it. But we did it.
We did not stop the activity of our Care & Service Centre even for a single day and we have implemented our Unconventional Care service methodology so that all our clients have felt comfortable receiving our technicians in their homes.
How has the outlook changed for your sector over the past couple of years, how is your business model evolving to keep pace with new requirements?
25 years ago in this part of the world the retail business model was not very developed. The main business model was the starting of the construction business and of small traditional cluster shops.
Over the years the business model has changed and retail has evolved, starting with more professional traditional stores such as Kitchen Studios, expanding in recent years to modern distribution channels as hypermarkets, DIY, and of course e-commerce.
Markets have opened up and it seems business as usual. However, there is an increasing call for maintaining remote access options from several sectoral brands. Is remote access the way forward for companies in a post-COVID-19 world?
The development of the big cities is almost complete and it can be said with great vision and great success in every way. From my point of view, it is now necessary to develop and promote other smaller cities and remote areas so that there is homogeneity in development and opportunities throughout the entire country. This will allow all brands to continue growing and, without a doubt,e-commerce will be a key factor for this.
How has your brand positively impacted the sector since you took over the reins of the company?
When we started here 20 years ago there was mainly interest in free-standing appliances. Today and 20 years since we established our first office in the UAE, we have equipped more than 500 construction projects ( buildings and villas) with thousands of our built-in appliances. Today, there is a clear growing demand for built-in European kitchen appliances, and I believe that we have had a significant impact on the trend and demand that exists today for these kind of products.
Government incentives and initiatives that are pro-entrepreneurship go a long way for businesses to hit the growth path and achieve success. How supportive has the UAE Government been in furthering the cause for your brand?
With regard to products, the UAE Government has always been very sensitive to the care and safety of citizens and has been attentive in applying similar or equivalent standards and regulations developed in other countries such as CE, so that products that are marketed in the UAE meet the necessary requirements. That is in fact a great help for manufacturers, importers and traders since we are not required to carry out unnecessary tests or have to specify and adapt products unnecessarily, as is the case in other countries with the great economic cost that this entails.
What are your expansion plans over the next couple of years? Which are the areas of growth regionally in your view, and how are you planning to capitalise on the same?
As I have commented previously, I think it is time to bet on the development of the other Emirates and as for the region, Saudi Arabia, India and Iran are definitely some of the markets that will experience the most development in the coming years for our kind of products.
In closing, and in keeping with the theme of this report, how would you define leadership in the context of a post-COVID-19 world?
For us here at TEKA, our leadership in the built-in appliances segment is not based solely on our numbers or our innovative products. Our leadership is also based on our values, the unconventional care we are providing to our clients and creating meaningful moments in their homes when they are using our products.