“Our philosophy has always been simple: we put the customer first”
BITEC Managing Director Amit Mathur is a passionate leader who values respect and trust above all. He talks listening, life lessons and longevity – and tells us why BITEC will never stop learning.
After a career spanning some 27 years with the same company, one can be sure of two things: that Amit Mathur knows his stuff, and BITEC is a pretty special employer. Part of the Albwardy Group, BITEC was founded in 1984 and specialises in surface preparation equipment. Amit joined the group in 1991 and BITEC in 2010. A passionate leader, it’s clear that his employer has made a huge impact on his career, in particular, his boss.
Amit says: “Albwardy is an amazing company. Modern and progressive, the group is also extremely diverse, comprising food wholesale and marine repair, to engineering and more. It is led by a very interesting and impressive man called Mr. Ali Bwardy.”
Highly educated, polo-loving Mr. Bwardy encourages ownership and autonomy among the top-level management of the company, a direction that inspired Amit from the start.
“I decided to grow my career here thanks to this man’s vision of working very closely with his team, while giving them ultimate freedom. For example, managing directors or general managers are encouraged to use their own skills here to steer the company in the right direction. Whenever I had a meeting with Mr. Bwardy he would always tell me the same thing: “I hired you not to tell you what to do, but to listen to what you have to say. Why? Because if I knew what to do then I wouldn’t have hired you.”
This sage advice has clearly paid off. Today, BITEC is the largest stockiest of ‘surface preparation equipment’ in the Gulf, representing some of the world’s leading companies and brands in this specialised field. Committed to safety, quality and environmental protection, BITEC is an ISO 9001 – 2015 Registered Company with locations across the Middle East and a roster of top clients that includes Emirates, Etihad Airways, DP World and Dubai Police.
“Mr. Bwardy taught me that when you give responsibility to people you have to trust them. This has really affected my leadership style; the mantra I uphold is to listen to my people, trust them, respect them and work as a team.”
The BITEC philosophy is also very simple, says Amit Mathur. “We always put the customer first. Over the years we’ve been able to establish tremendous credibility, synonymous to us. When someone says engine oil, most people automatically think of shell. In our industry when anybody talks of any blasting, painting or similar, it will always be us.”
Despite such a glowing reputation, over nearly three decades in any industry, there will be highs and lows.
“Of course, we’ve had many challenges,” says Amit Mathur. “We’ve had issues with all sorts, from financial situations to upset customers and technical issues. But the critical point is how we resolve problems. We are always on call to our customers and stood by them through thick and thin rather than just passing the buck.”
A pioneer from the outset, when BITEC launched in 1984 it was amongst the first to sell paint spray blasting equipment and the company continues this legacy of innovation today.
“Back then there was hardly anybody else doing the same thing,” says Amit. “It was easy in those days. But markets have changed, and we have had to adapt. What with the decline in oil prices in the region, we are looking at more creative ways of stabilization. Long term we definitely would like to add to our territory or product line, or perhaps even look at acquisition of a larger company or manufacturing a joint venture.”
The company is also expanding into Oman and has a small sales force in place and is also poised to move into Saudi Arabia.
According to Amit, “Having a sales team in Oman brings us closer to our growing customer base. Saudi Arabia is another market ripe with potential. The Kingdom is on the verge of a major change, and with this comes opportunity.”
Despite a significant level of evolution and opportunity over the years, there is one thing that remains constant: a company culture based on integrity. From team dynamics to supply chain policy, honesty and transparency is king here. BITEC has never defaulted from agreements of equipment and has an impeccable supply chain record.
“We have created a culture of being an honest, truthful and respectful supplier. It’s really a 360-degree ecosystem, whether you’re a supplier, a customer or an employee. Integrity is everything.” Clemco, another link in the supply chain, echoes this sentiment. “We are proud to have a successful and enduring cooperation with BITEC and look forward to continuing intensive cooperation in the areas of general manufacturing, automatic cabinets and major industrial projects in abrasive blasting.”
In terms of any issues faced by the company, it’s the classic human resources conundrum that can prove problematic.
“The way we do business has changed exponentially over the years,” says Amit Mathur, “and this is reflected in the youth of today. It used to be easy for people to stick with one company, but the mentality of the younger generation is different. We are proud to offer excellent opportunities in a credible company. Just as we support our customers, we support each other.”