At Metworld DMCC, Nitesh Gupta, Director (Manufacturing) and his sibling Ankit, Director (Trading) hope to capitalise on a new wave of interest that the region and the world are showing in their specialised field of recycling ferrous metals
What drove you to set up Metworld DMCC with your brother?
Nitesh Gupta (NG): Growing up in a family business, we always aspired to build something together. After finishing our education from the UK, young and fiery, as you can imagine, we were ready to conquer the world. There couldn’t have been a better place to start than Dubai as it offers an ease of business and understands the need of a new establishment. We kicked off with trading initially and after a few years, we set up a manufacturing facility in West Africa. Dubai provides an excellent platform for companies like ours, which operates in multicommodities globally.
Briefly share Metworld’s service portfolio.
NG: Metworld Group has two main divisions — trading and manufacturing. In its trading division our core is ferrous and non-ferrous metals, apart from agro commodities (which is growing quite substantially now). We have our warehousing facilities across West Africa, where heavy machines and equipment are installed to handle end- of-life metal products. These metals are sourced locally from Africa and supplied globally to our long-time buyers (industries) who recycle them and produce different kinds of metal products such as household copper wire and automotive batteries to name a few. This kind of sustainable activity surely reduces our dependency on the earth’s natural resources such as minerals and ores. Under agro commodities trade we meet the demands of various food commodities such as cashew, soya beans and sesame seeds to name a few by processing them in order for them to be exported to various countries across the globe.
On the manufacturing side, bringing our ethos from sustainability, we have been proudly recycling the end-of-life steel and producing the Steel Re bars in West Africa, which is consumed within the region. As we know steel re bars are used in the construction industry. We have also ventured into manufacturing automotive and industrial lubricants in Africa.
With sustainability deeply rooted in our culture, we recycle the waste automotive and industrial oils that were previously discarded in water bodies, causing heavy pollution.
How are you contributing towards making Metworld a valuable and recognisable UAE brand in its chosen space?
Ankit Gupta (AG): Keeping your clients and other stakeholders satisfied is key while sticking to your ethics and values. We are grateful to be able to succeed in that. We are also very thankful to the leadership of the UAE for providing us with such an open and safe environment to work. Adhering to our values even during tough times is what defines Metworld as a brand.
How developed is the non-ferrous and ferrous metals industry in the UAE and the region, and what is the scope for growth for the brand in this regard?
NG: We have seen that the UAE market is getting matured since the last decade and industrial activities are increasing here, reducing the dependency on imported metals. This is a great sign for the growth of any economy. There are a lot of steel companies as well as the cabling industry that are doing quite well here. We are positive about the Gulf region and plan to set up an industry here in future.
Could you elaborate on your agro vertical and how you plan to grow this business in the short and long term?
AG: We have witnessed a consistent growth in our agro business in the last few years. It is a promising sector as demand of agro commodities will only increase due to increase in population. We have plans to increase the volumes and add more products to our basket in the short term such as various spices, pulses etc. We are also exploring new markets now that will help us in adding the volumes up. In the long run we have plans to set up the agro processing units in the UAE and in Africa. Due to increasing competition in the market it is quite challenging but we are preparing ourselves for this challenge.
Which markets are potential growth areas for the brand?
NG: With our base in the UAE, we see Africa as holding high potential for our group. Though it has its own risks, there’s no reward unless there is risk involved. Africa is a big continent and we are yet to explore many other opportunities there.
As someone who values team building, how much of this do you feel is reflected in the ethos of Metworld as a brand?
AG: To win any battle you need a dedicated and trustworthy army. Thankfully we understood this saying from the beginning of our journey. Metworld couldn’t have been what it is today without its dedicated teams. We all need to contribute from our sides — it’s a joint effort to be able to walk that extra mile. Our organisation is like a family where everyone is treated equally and appreciated. The shine is only sustainable when the light comes from within.
How important is a team leader’s ability to take risks in an exigency, would you be able to elaborate this with some experiences of your own?
AG: To accelerate growth it is important to make the right choices. However, few choices backfire. This happened to us many a times. Few years back there was an urgent demand from the market with prices soaring and looking at that we piled up the stocks. However, we then had a sudden market crash resulting in losses. We learn from the mistakes we make. Now, we adhere to our principle of back-to-back trading and to not build stocks to be speculated.
Quality control goes a long way in defining a brand’s standing. What role does QC play in Metworld’s mission to be a benchmark in its area of operation?
AG: Across our group of companies quality control is taken very seriously. You cannot have happy customers if quality is not taken care of. We put in that extra effort to make sure that from the start we have quality inspectors in place. Cutting corners might save you some money in the short term but you will lose your valuable customers and their trust, without which no organisation can sustain itself. Our aim is to build Metworld as a trusted global brand and to achieve that we make sure that we stick to the ethics of business. In all our manufacturing and trading facilities we pay attention on the quality of all the goods before they leave the premises. This has helped Metworld in becoming one of the most trusted partners among its stakeholders.
Leading a growing business conglomerate, how do you define business excellence and how do you promote this within your staff and the firm?
NG: Business excellence is like a delicacy well prepared, with some key ingredients like vision, perseverance, grit, employee welfare, empowerment and trust. It is a feeling others get from your organisation. It comes from within the organisation and doesn’t depend on any single factor such as profitability or anything else. It takes some time to deeply root the values and ethics to all levels of the organisation. As business owners we cannot deal with all customers directly so it’s very important that the culture and values are embedded in each employee. I firmly believe no company can ever succeed unless it has a team which believes in you as an owner.
It’s easy to get distracted from your path every now and then. It is a continuous process to be carried out with utter patience.