Al Ruqee Group has gained a prestigious reputation in the Middle East as the leading pre-sales and after sales support operations for industrial goods, and now enjoys multiple long-term contracts ranging from €300,000 to €5 million.
Founded in 1949 as a general trading business by late Chair Salamat Alikhan, he witnessed the rapid transformation of Saudi Arabia from desert kingdom to modern nation. Since then, technology specialisation has been the basis of the company’s success. This derives from its close cooperation with the world leaders in designing and manufacturing of the state-of-the-art industrial products, machinery and equipment reinforced by highly trained staff with specialised skills and industry experience, coupled with professional support facilities and capability.
The family run business is made up of seven different business units which contribute to income: Alruqee Industrial Marketing, Alruqee Machine Tools, Alruqee Oil and Gas (ROG), Alruqee Technical Services (Teknoserv), Alruqee Down Steam, Alruqee Tooling (UniTools) and Alruqee Projects. There is also the M-TEK Training Centre which provides Computer Numerical Control (CNC) programming and CAD/CAM software training.
Fouad Alikhan, Group Executive Manager at Al Ruqee, said: “We provide the necessary pre-sales technical support to ensure the correct selection of technology and specifications of a machine so that the expected production design, quality, accuracy, and capacity can be achieved, and we also provide the after sales services for all the machines and equipment supplied in the whole Arabian Gulf Region.
“We offer solutions that transform factories, workshops, and laboratories into rapid automation centres. Harnessing technology and technical staff offers enormous opportunities to enhance efficiency and productivity. This is a quantum leap from providing the traditional ‘trading concept’ in the Kingdom and the Arabian Gulf to going beyond this and offering customised solutions and meeting the changing needs of our customers.”
From its headquarters in Al Khobar in Saudi Arabia and several office branch offices throughout the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Al Ruqee has fostered several successful business relationships with a number of international firms.
Perhaps the most prominent example of this is multi-trillion dollar group Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco); ROG has been successfully registered with Aramco for more than 35 years as an approved supplier of a wide range of their material and equipment requirements. This includes drilling and workover equipment and services, chemicals and lubricants, pipes and tubes for oil and gas, instrumentation and lab equipment, electrical products, safety equipment, welding and cutting systems and welding consumables, machine tools, power tools, material handling and lifting equipment.
ROG supplies directly to Saudi Aramco and also indirectly to its megaprojects through Aramco’s approved contractors. In terms of downstream Oil and Gas, Al Ruqee also handles petrochemicals and fertiliser for Sabic and set up its workshop; Alruqee Downstream handles another key industry.
Moreover, the Alruqee Machine Tools represents Danobat Group from Spain by offering turnkey solutions for the Oil and Gas equipment manufacturer, which requires a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility to produce carbon steel seamless pipes, both API and premium threads and forged valves.
Alikhan said: “After many years of experience working with worldwide leading manufacturers we can provide complete solutions to all our customers. We’re offering turnkey solutions from design to supply of complete production lines. We also offer good aftersales, maintenance contracts and technical support.
“The M-TEK Training Centre was established in 2008 to provide our local and regional customers the necessary technical training for the high-tech industrial machines we install. We are offering the CNC programming training and operator training for the most advanced machine tools manufacturers in the world such as Trumpf and Hermle, as well as Hyundai WIA. Today, we are offering the programming training for the most advanced CAD/CAM software worldwide in both English and Arabic, with the same quality and value offered regardless of location.”
With regard to location, Alikhan believes Al Ruqee is perfectly situated to proliferate into other GCC markets. The company already serves the UAE and Oman and then from its Dammam facilities it serves Bahrain which is just thirty minutes away by road. It is a similar scenario slightly further afield, with Kuwait and Qatar only three and four hours’ drive away respectively.
World renowned logisticians such as DHL, FedEx and TNT handle the company’s day to day shipments to ensure they reaches all Al Ruqee customers across the GCC in time. For bigger cargo shipments (capital machinery,) the materials are imported by sea in large containers through freight forwarders who then deliver these goods to the central warehouse.
Going forward the group wants to get closer to the end user by shortening the supply chain even more. Alikhan said: “We will further strengthen our position in the GCC; firstly in Saudi Arabia, as you need to have a stronger focus in your home country. We also cover Bahrain from here, but we’ve expanded as a business and hopefully in the next few years we will establish our international outpost offices in the different countries we already have interests in.
“In the past year we have taken on an extra 50 people to bring us up to 300 staff members. This has given us the flexibility to go as far as Ethiopia for machine installation work, so it is really pleasing to see our network grow in this fashion.
“Whether it is government or private industry, from workshop to manufacturing factory, or facility to training centres and so on, due our growth we can now assist with all of these and ensure a smooth operation. We’re not planning to stop there though, and feel there is good reason to be optimistic about the group going into the next five years.”
In 2008, Al Ruqee Technical Services was established as a dedicated department to provide the necessary after sales service for all the machines and equipment sold by the group. This has been another fruitful development for the group, where major organisations from a range of industries now rely on Al Ruqee to offer turnkey solutions.
For example, the German company Hermle specialises in high speed milling machines and high precision, complex parts for use in the mould and die industries, and Al Ruqee has been particularly successful in working with not only Hermle, but many other high calibre firms.
By supplying machinery to such diverse range of service providers, Al Ruqee is safe in the knowledge that there will be regular income streams from a variety of sources. This is especially true when working with the likes of GE Oil & Gas, which is servicing the oil and gas industry, meaning pipelines will need constant maintenance and repair work. A dedicated team of 60 service engineers and technicians scattered around the Gulf region provide not only the supply, installation and commissioning of machines but there is also comprehensive after sales support and training for any customer who requires it, and this number is set to grow in the coming years.
Alikhan concluded: “The continuous improvement starts with management and under their leadership works down through the organisation. All employees must work together to identify the steps needed to improve working practices. The underlying theme is that everyone is responsible and has a part to play in making improvements to ensure Al Ruqee continues to thrive.”