Corporate Icons Harish Tahiliani for web
Harish Tahiliani

Q: Share a brief history of your firm and its service portfolio.

Established in the year 1986, Arab India Spices LLC has the unique distinction of being one of the first millers of various varieties of pulses and spices in the Middle East. This journey has since transformed us into one of the world’s most diversified manufacturers and producers of spices, pulses and condiments. As one of the global leaders in the pulses and spices industry and home to leading flagship brand, 777, it’s not just our size that sets us apart. What makes us different is our approach to business.

Arab India Spices uses state-of-the-art technology to expand and improve the quality of its products. Our large-scale primary processing facility in the UAE has 17 processing lines operating simultaneously under a massive 352,000 sq. ft high-end premises, equipped with fully computerised ISO 22000-certified production and storage facilities. The processing plants currently produce more than 15,000 MT a month, making us the second largest manufacturer / processor of pulses in the world.

Our aim has been to successfully exceed customer expectations by focusing on innovation, quality and commitment. Through my aspirations for my company, I have tried to instill the same sense of vigour and purpose into each and every member of my spirited team of 70 management professionals, who in turn lead more than 700 dedicated employees, and who together understand and satisfy the vision of our customers.

Arab India Spices prides itself in having one of the largest distribution chains in the UAE. With a fleet consisting of more than 100 vehicles, we make sure our clients’ specific needs are accurately undertaken and efficiently executed. This has facilitated us to penetrate every tier of the organised distribution network, from wholesalers, semi-wholesalers and the hypermarket chain, to flour mills and even our grocers. Our flexible delivery options, competitive pricing, and exceptional methods towards domestic and international exports ensure smooth and highly efficient shipping processes each time.

Since inception, our company has made a prominent mark globally. Today, Arab India Spices has evolved into a bona fide global leader within international food marketing, with a supply chain covering the Far East, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, the US, Canada and Australia. Having built a worldwide clientele, we also maintain well-established operational hubs in the UAE, Oman, KSA and Turkey.

Working directly with international markets, and trading and delivering to every corner of the world gives us the honour of having created a trust network all over the globe.

Serving demanding markets worldwide, we understand that all customer needs are different. With over 30 years of expertise in the industry we are dedicated to providing customised solutions to all sorts of requirements.

We are the first company in this region to build a Silo Storage Complex for pulses that can hold 52,000 metric tons of produce at once.

Q: As a corporate leader, how much in your view has the business in your vertical changed in these last two years and how has your brand evolved to stay in step?

The last couple of years have been an eye-opener and a new experience for everyone in this world. The pandemic took everyone by surprise and initially created chaos across all walks of life. However, I knew that panicking would only worsen the scenario and it was time to take swift and decisive action, and that is exactly what we did.

I also knew that in a couple of years, life and industry would change in tune with the requirements of the new normal, and I have been aligning my moves in relation to being aware of the ground realities, and my initial thoughts have been validated to a great extent by what I observe today. I believe staying calm, having a vision and working hard towards achieving it is key to success.

Q: Provide a bird’s eye perspective on how you see your sector evolving over the next decade and the part your organisation will play in this evolution?

I must say that even though the last couple of years were difficult, they were also exciting in terms of the growth of our sector. Due to the logistical chaos and disruption in supply and demand, we have seen unprecedented growth in demand from countries that were not regular buyers from the UAE, and we were able to cater to most demands. We are also finding out that these clients are slowly shifting their loyalties to the UAE. We have an upper hand because we have an enormous storage facility and regular programme for replenishing our stock, which allows us to maintain continuous supply. We are now planning to further add to our storage so that we can be more efficient and tap potential clients from more nations.

Another major factor that we are observing after the pandemic are the changes in lifestyles. Many people are now switching from animal protein to plant-based protein, as pulses are among the major sources of non-animal protein, and we are seeing a surge in demand from new industries. We have already initiated a pilot programme wherein we collaborated with a company that specialises in the extraction of proteins from non-animal-based sources. Our next step would be to do this ourselves so that we can be the forerunner to cater to this new segment.

Q: How critical is R&D to the evolution of a firm, and how much of a role does it play in the success of your organisation?

In my opinion, R&D forms the backbone of any organisation and all its departments. We have robust R&D teams for various departments such as IT, production, packaging, and warehousing and logistics. Keeping abreast with latest technologies will help in not only saving costs but also dramatically increase the throughput and overall efficiency.

Q: What are your major contributions been to the growth of Arab India Spices?

When it comes to a brand you have to treat it like a baby, nurture it and look after its upbringing every step of the way. Consistency in quality and customer satisfaction play major roles in the growth of any brand.

Q: How are you helping mentor your staff to be a leader like you? As a regional corporate icon, what advice do you have for those interested in making inroads into your sector, as well as for entrepreneurs in general?

I always advice everyone to be passionate about their work, If you don’t have the heart and ability to work hard it would be difficult to be efficient at what you do. Doing things for the sake of doing will not suffice, you have to run behind your every goal and for that I believe passion is necessary.

To make inroads into any sector one must first have an in-depth knowledge of that sector, and to excel you need to have vision and dedication to make the vision possible.