Hussein Bin Saleem
Chief Executive Officer
As a result of intense market competition, limited religious pilgrim and school activity, and an abundance of offers and promotions, the year was notable for its challenging sales environment.
In response to a reduction in overseas factory capacity because of government regulations around Covid-19, we changed the planning process with suppliers, pre-built additional safety stock, and prioritized the high demand and faster moving products in our portfolio that yield the majority of sales volume.
Early bookings and factoring additional lead-time into planning helped to deal with the shortage of shipping containers. We also took steps to optimize outsourcing costs and reduce showroom operating costs.
In common with all retailers, there was gradual recovery compared to 2020. However, we faced a decline in demand compared to 2019, with Covid-19 continuing the closure of schools and limiting Hajj and Umrah activity. This impacted the sale of thobes, so we focused instead on new fashion trends and offered more variety to customers with a range of new products.
These initiatives contributed to a recovery in revenue in those regions not impacted by seasonal or regulatory factors – pilgrims being a prime example. We also opened new stores in Riyadh’s Al Shifa district and our first mall store in Dammam’s Nakheel Mall.
The IT department embarked on two major initiatives in 2021: implementing Oracle ERP and launching a new ecommerce platform to increase sales via digital channels.
Alshiaka products are synonymous with the Saudi national identity and will continue to enrich our culture. In the year ahead, we plan to open new stores in attractive areas and restructure certain functions to adapt to the new post-pandemic business environment.
Dr. Suheel Ahmed
Chief Executive Officer
The year proved highly eventful, with logistical issues affecting supply chains and a 20% hike in commodity prices. But there was also a slow return to normality after the crisis management of 2020. Restaurants reopened and hotel occupancy improved, helping to stabilize egg and chicken consumption, with a slight shift towards healthier and fresher local produce.
We established a strong operational foundation for our newly commissioned broiler business, sourcing suppliers and developing partnerships, recruiting and creating a distribution network. We maintained our position as market leader in the Dubai egg business and developed a new strategy to transition our Saudi business model from wholesale to retail.
The company created a holding structure and migrated top executives from Arabian Farms Dubai to the holding company to increase productivity. Arabian Farms Dubai became our head office for the operational control of finance, procurement, HR and sales.
At Al Kharj, we reopened the farm, increased production by 15% over the previous normal year (2019) and revived our presence in the retail sector. By listing our products in Panda, Carrefour, Lulu, Othaim, Danube, Tamimi, Noon and Aramco, we grew retail sales by 400% over 2019.
Our entry into the retail markets of Dammam, Al Gassim and Jeddah brought the introduction of new product lines (Omega3, lutein, selenium-enriched premium eggs) – a first for the Kingdom – and achieved 1,000% growth in premium egg sales over 2019. We also commenced exports to Kuwait and Bahrain.
As one of the UAE’s leading producers, Arabian Farms Al Ain played a key role in convincing the government to raise the pricing caps for chicken and eggs.
Having scaled-up operations at the hatcheries, broiler farms and slaughterhouse, we commissioned the feed mill (making it 100% self-sufficient), and launched 37 product lines in the UAE. We also activated 17 distribution routes and partnered with several ecommerce platforms. The new IT structure implemented in 2020 started to generate real benefits, saving time and energy.
In community support, we continued food distribution to the underprivileged, in close collaboration with the UAE Food Bank. As a result of Covid-19, we were unable to maintain our school campaigns to promote healthy eating and the nutritional value of eggs. We plan to resume this activity in due course.
As part of our integrated broiler project, we established rendering and wastewater treatment plants to manage our by-products and waste, and so protect the environment more effectively.
In 2022, we will continue to build our retail brand in Saudi Arabia. By extending our operations to Jeddah and Dammam, we hope to further boost sales of premium eggs.
While Covid-19 did cause global logistics issues over the supply chains of essential and critical items, we ended the year positively and enter 2022 with greater optimism.
Acting Chief Executive Officer
The automotive sector proved active during the year. With our diversified client base, we noted growth in sectors such as logistics and F&B, but this should be put in the context of a general shortage in vehicle supply.
We closed significant new business with key players in the public and private sectors, despite fluctuations in the automotive industry supply-chain globally, and a shortage of microchips with a resulting impact on commitments and pricing.
In a bid to distinguish AutoWorld as a market leader in mobility solutions and address emerging trends (such as usership instead of ownership) we launched a new operational lease service tailored to individuals.
We completed the location, design and licensing of three new workshops in Dammam, Riyadh and Jeddah; celebrated our 40th anniversary with dealers, clients and employees under the theme #Better_Together; and signed an agreement with Mazadak, the leading Saudi digital auction platform, offering great potential to broaden AutoWorld’s target segments and revenue streams.
We also focused on further developing our operational excellence, establishing CRM and Internal Audit departments to support our mission to enhance service standards and manage increasing customer demand.
Project SWITCH – the new ERP system launched in partnership with Infor Consulting Services – marked a further step towards digitization under our business strategy, Shift 2025. Infor awarded us Cloud Project of the Year at Gitex, Dubai in October. We began the journey towards ISO certification (9001:2015 Quality Management System) to deliver quality services to our clients.
Our employment focus was on acquiring talent and it is pleasing to report an increase in female workforce numbers during the year.
AutoWorld was certified a ‘Great Place to Work’ and ranked 12 out of the top 30 companies in the Kingdom, and fifth in the GCC region for best retail company. In the McKinsey Organizational Health Index (OHI) survey, we reached the top decile with a score of 84 (versus 72 in 2019).
The year ahead promises great opportunities, as we broaden our marketing outreach to offer corporates and individuals innovative leasing solutions. We will make greater use of digitization to strengthen our processes and enhance client touch points, including service centers, and offer more mobility solutions in line with Vision 2030’s quality of life initiative.