Bob Jennings General Manager Kanoo Machinery interview in Gulf Industry Middle East

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Kanoo building market share 


The firm is looking at signing new agency deals with manufacturers as demand for material-handling equipment burgeons across several sectors


With more than four decades as one of the region’s leading materials handling solutions and specialist equipment providers, Kanoo Machinery is spearheading growth across Saudi Arabia and the GCC to meet increasing demand.

Saudi-based Bob Jennings, general manager for Kanoo Machinery for the GCC region, is confident that by 2016 the overall business for Kanoo Machinery in the kingdom will have grown four-fold such is demand from the construction, materials handling, industrial, mining, railways, ports and warehousing sectors. With a vast array of products and services, spare parts availability and technical support, Jennings is focusing on managing his specialist resources across the region by bringing in economies of scale and increasing manpower to meet growing demand and build market share.   

Jennings has been responsible for developing one of the fastest growing markets in the world with business in Saudi Arabia doubling from 2011 to 2012. The UAE and other markets are coming back after the downturn of 2008/9 with Saudi Arabia enjoying the largest upturn.

“Currently, of the total business in the GCC region about 60 per cent is from Saudi Arabia despite a slight slowdown in the first half of 2013. The UAE is about 30 per cent of the total and currently Bahrain and Qatar have less than 10 per cent. Qatar is increasingly important and we can see significant business coming from the major projects now being planned in the years ahead. Abu Dhabi and Sharjah are also encouraging markets from infrastructure to ports handling, industry and warehousing.  Impacting on our ability to meet demand particularly in Saudi Arabia is access to technical and engineering-based manpower as well as drivers and operators,” says Jennings.

Kanoo Machinery has built its business providing a diverse range of equipment and consumables drawn from the world’s leading manufacturers of materials handling, cranes, vehicles and industrial and maintenance products. Through these agreements and partnerships, the machinery portfolio includes Grove, Hitachi, Ausa, Perkins, Hiab, JLG, Hyster, Bobcat and Shantui. Kanoo Machinery is backed by formidable after sales, workshops, parts and mobile service facilities throughout the GCC region.

The product range includes mobile cranes, forklift trucks, warehousing equipment, welding machines, repair and maintenance products, parts and after sales service, rental and leasing of lifting and other equipment. Importantly, not all manufacturers’ agreements for Kanoo Machinery are common for all GCC states.

 Agreement with Shantui

In Saudi Arabia where the procurement cycle includes extraction and mining industries, infrastructure, petrochemical plants, pipelines and large construction projects, Kanoo Machinery is proactively looking at new agreements, agencies and partnerships to meet requirements. Recently, Kanoo Machinery secured an agreement with Shantui, one of the leading Chinese manufacturers and third largest in the world for heavy construction machinery, for its bulldozers and readymix trucks.

This new agreement with Shantui best reflects the Kanoo Machinery long-term relationship approach to all agency agreements.

“This is the value proposition we offer in terms of adding value to the cost of ownership for service, maintenance, reliability and the profitability of any piece of machinery in the field during its life-cycle. Importantly, in the case of the Shantui readymix trucks we are monitoring on site operations for 12 mixers and pumps to ensure the machines are optimally maintained and operated correctly. This involves the use of remote diagnostics to check temperature and oil levels to maximise utilisation,” 
says Jennings.

“Importantly, driver speeds and road safety is vital for heavy readymix trucks when factoring in the forward momentum of the vehicles and Kanoo Machinery is involved in ensuring that operational best practices are met by drivers and maintenance as part of our remit.” 

Kanoo Machinery recently supplied Hyster container handling trucks to Riyadh Dry Port. Jennings further added that 2012 had been a great year for Grove Cranes in the GCC area and he expected good results for 2013.

According to Jennings, whatever the sector, Kanoo Machinery is actively looking to supply in all market sectors including mining, extraction and railway infrastructure.

 Well-equipped for the future

“By the end of 2013, we will have agreements in place that involve training, maintenance and service capabilities with various equipment supplies to complement our current portfolio specifically focusing on extraction industries, mining and railways. This includes a partnership with Terex-Finlay for mobile crushing, screening and recycling equipment. This equipment can be used when literally moving mountains and massive excavations and we are looking at a portfolio of equipment for large-scale excavation work including Hitachi articulated dump trucks and Bell Equipment from South Africa,” he continues.

Bell supplies trucks, haulers, loaders, tractors, backhoes and customised equipment, perfect for large-scale requirements in Saudi Arabia and the GCC region.

Kanoo Machinery now has more than 550 staff across the region managed in a cluster of facilities including Kanoo Machinery, Kanoo Spare Parts, Kanoo Oil and Gas and other facilities close to the first industrial city in Dammam. In Saudi Arabia, Kanoo Machinery has facilities in Riyadh, Jeddah, Yanbu and Jubail. In Jeddah, the company has recently opening a workshop, spare parts and warehousing facility covering 35,000 sq m.

In Jebel Ali, the company has established a ‘centre of excellence’ facility to manage its field services, technical services, spare parts, remote monitoring, critical alerts and diagnostics to inform customers around the clock.

“We carry about 160 separate pieces of equipment and although it is good to sell, it is equally vital to fully support our customers and provide a consolidated self-sufficient solution. We have invested and established across the region a critical mass of consultancy, technical capabilities and core competencies to achieve benchmarked services to customers. Our policy is to be both predictive in operational maintenance and should a problem happen that we are able to diagnose and fix the problem in the shortest possible time,” Jennings says.

Jennings paid tribute to his Saudi employees  who now constitute 46 per cent of his total staffing in the kingdom as he looks to increase his Saudi workforce through further active engagement with the technical colleges across the kingdom to meet manpower demands.

“To manage our predicted expansion with the anticipated four-fold growth, we must meet the manpower challenge, remain competitive and, increasingly, we are looking to employ Saudis fully trained in the technical competencies. It is important to have Saudis engaged in our business to deliver to our customers,” he emphasised.

British-born Jennings is a mechanical engineer by profession having started his career in the coalfields of Derbyshire at Killimarsh in the early 1980s. After the pit closures in the UK, he went to South Africa working for four years at Palabora, a cluster of open cast and underground mines in the north-east Transvaal, then the world’s largest copper mine.

Later, he worked in robotics, and the design of production lines and power generation before working in Dubai with Emerson. Jennings bought the first successfully operating Tower Crane Anti Collision Systems to the region that greatly improved the operational safety and efficiency of tower cranes in 
the UAE.