First visiting Dubai in 1988 while on a job search, Irfan Mulla was lucky enough to land himself a job on the day his visa was to expire, and for a princely salary of Dh3,000 per month no less.
Today, more than three decades later, Irfan is CEO and Chairman of Taj Al Mulook (TAM), a leading UAE-based chemicals distribution company that he founded more than 30 years ago.
Established in 1989, TAM started off as a small office with a single employee, a pick-up truck and without any warehousing facility. However, as time progressed, things started to change dramatically.
“My background as a chemical engineer and work experience in the field of selling and distribution of chemical raw materials for the paint industry, provided me with the opportunity to build a valuable, reliable and professional company, which today boasts a global reputation and history of over 30 successful years,” says Irfan.
Customer centric approach
Today, TAM has grown to rank among the top 10 chemical distributors in the Middle East. By catering to various industries such as polyurethane, paints, construction chemicals, lubricants, oil and gas, food ingredients and plastic, the focus of TAM is to provide customers with tailor-made solutions and products to fulfil their requirement and help them achieve growth.
TAM is not just in the domain of supplying raw material but also takes pride in providing customised technical solutions and support to its wide customer base across the globe.
In recent times the brand has engaged with suppliers and clients to add value across each stage of its client’s production process. For polyurethane and lubricant industries it offers technical guidance to customers to upscale their operation in a cost-effective manner.
Its experience and techno-commercial knowledge enables TAM to guide clients as to which products are suitable and how to time their purchases in order to minimise inventory and reduce storage costs. Its technical team assists clients with formulations and production to ensure that consistent quality is delivered to them on a regular basis.
TAM also assists those who wish to enter the industry. Potential clients are provided with a clear blueprint from start to finish, including assistance in machine selection, installation and maintenance. TAM is with the client at every stage of the process to ensure minimum setbacks and maximum progress.
People centric approach
TAM is fortunate to have access to top quality individuals from various industries in order to cultivate different types of products over the years. It always believed in taking care of its employees by providing a relaxed and productive atmosphere, flexibility, positive values, open and honest communication, sense of humour and emphasis on health and family, quick decision making, etc.
It has already installed a standing desk for many of its employees, so they have an option to be more active while working, resulting in higher productivity. Soon it’s going to have a separate place for exercise and games, which is currently under construction.
In the early years TAM enjoyed great success in the field of paints and coating raw materials through distribution/agency agreements from its principals such as Dow, BASF- Germany and Bayer.
Its role as a chemical distributor has been evolving over the past three decades, adding to the value chain within the industry.
In the past, manufacturers typically viewed distributors as a necessity; a means to reach small customers or those difficult to serve economically. Today, TAM has become a vital component of manufacturers’ channel strategies. Over the years, it established in-depth market insights and created the capability to add real value, both for manufacturers and customers.
Because of its vast experience in the region, strong financial position and technical know-how in the chemical and industrial raw material sector, TAM works with various multinational manufacturers globally. Over the years the list of its key principals has grown significantly, varying from Asia to Europe and beyond.
TAM has developed state-of-the-art infrastructure to support its sales and distribution network. It currently has seven storage facilities in the GCC, specifically designed and built to store chemical raw materials.
This enables it to ship full container loads across the globe and customise the product portfolio as per the clients’ requirements.
Jebel Ali is the world's ninth busiest port, the largest man-made harbour, and the biggest and by far the busiest port in the Middle East. It helps exporters to ship material to multiple ports across Africa and the Middle East.
TAM’s main branch office is located in Saudi Arabia, started 19 years ago, and it turned out to be one of the best decisions, helping the brand create a fully functional operation to cater to the local KSA market, including 4 warehouses and an office. It’s also present in Pakistan and has partnerships in Tunisia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Algeria. In 2020, new branches will be started in South Africa, Nigeria and the Netherlands.
Its financial strength has helped TAM attract various manufacturers across the globe including the top 10 largest chemical manufacturers in the world. Over the years TAM made sure to pay its suppliers on time and if required, even sometimes before the due date.
It also paid its bankers, service providers and most importantly the employees always on or before time, a practice it hopes to continue for ever.
As a distributor it is essential for TAM to stock the material for the different industries it works in to ensure timely delivery of materials to customers. TAM’s financial strength always enables it to keep adequate buffer stocks for customers so their production is not affected and they rely on the brand in case of any unexpected situation.
We have been awarded highest in class rating from Dun & Bradstreet, Coface and Euler Hermes.
TAM is also an ISO 9001:2015 Certified company.
Besides, in August 2016, TAM received the highest exporter award from the Dubai Economic Department. This was an official recognition from the Government of Dubai for the levels of excellence the brand achieved.
Future growth strategy
As a company TAM has evolved over the years, never looking back, and continuing to add new product lines to its portfolio.
Recently it added Food & Feed Ingredients and Plastic Raw Materials.
In the last several years, the company has focused on developing green technology and integrating an environment friendly approach as part of its CSR initiative. It is also about to set up its own bulk storage facility (terminal) within a free zone in the UAE.
Currently developing solutions to reduce its carbon footprint in the chemical industry, TAM tied up with an extremely environment conscious company called Ergofito for the Middle East & Africa. Ergofito ia a world-famous company for tackling environmental pollution resulting from seepage of toxic material into ground water or sea water.
Ergofito chose to work with TAM after thoroughly evaluating various companies within the Middle East & Africa.
“I attribute the success of my company to the leadership of this country, particularly the Dubai Government, as they have achieved a vision of creating an environment with endless opportunities and where businesses can flourish,” says Irfan.
“The people of the UAE have a lot of gratitude and offer heartfelt thanks for the success in providing amazing infrastructure, access to finance, and a luxurious and safe lifestyle for themselves and their families.”
Sharing his vision for TAM, Irfan says, “I have a vision to make this company a leader in the worldwide chemical distribution industry and a pioneer in providing customised solutions to manufacturers.
“This has become possible with our wide product range, technical expertise, expanding customer base and unique service offerings across the globe.”