“As a company we recognised that you cannot manage the customers in a region like Africa and the Middle East from a few thousand kilometres away, you have to be within the region,” says Maurice Faber, Regional Managing Director, Middle East Africa, Olympus MEA FZ-LLC, a subsidiary of Olympus Europa SE & CO. KG.
For any company, particularly one with customers, end-users and clients all over the world, the importance of having a base in the regions it serves cannot be understated.
Being closer to the market makes a company closer to the customer and being closer to the customer enables a far greater level of service delivery.
This was certainly the driving force behind Olympus’ decision to open up a new base of operation in Dubai in 2017, one that would cover the company’s operations across the Middle East, Africa and Turkey. The regional headquarters also includes a training centre and a high-tech repair workshop.
“This allows us to be close to our distributors and our end users,” says Faber. “But it also allows us to have our own sales force within the region and have specialists all over the region.”
As an international company supplying reliable, economical technology systems including innovative test, measurement, and imaging instruments to markets all over the world, being closer to the customer and end user proves crucial in delivering unrivalled service and solutions.
This becomes no more apparent than in the supply of technological equipment.
“You really need to be close to the end customer to really support them and you have to be able to supply after sale service in each country,” says Faber.
“You can’t just supply high technology equipment to a remote area. It has to be calibrated at least once a year. As we are now in the local region, we can do that in a much shorter timeframe as opposed to sending it back to Europe.”
Olympus MEA has a vision, one that extends beyond providing innovative technology solutions and enabling efficiencies to its client base. The company is a firm believer in being more than just a company and becoming a key contributor and driving force of economic growth of a region.
This role as a contributor to economic growth is something that Faber is extremely passionate about and it’s a passion that radiates across the company’s staff.
Heading up the new regional headquarters as General Manager is Albert Alterjman, who shares that vision and drive not only of Faber, but Olympus MEA.
“We are all aligned to the same vision,” says Alterjman. “It’s about supporting and building a strong and solid region and I feel we don’t see challenges or hurdles, we see opportunities.
“Part of our vision is to grow the business, but, we can only achieve that by being closer to customers through providing the best training, transferring technologies and knowledge to all of our regions.”
Everything that Olympus MEA does is geared towards, ultimately, better serving the customer and end-user. But, in order to do so, it must first ensure that it can better serve its staff, its distributors and its partners. In moving closer to the market, Faber believes that this will only enable greater communication and greater relationships.
“The message is, we are here,” says Faber. “Whereas before when we wanted to communicate with our people on the ground and in the regions, it would be phone calls, emails and in some cases flights out to see them.
“So now we have as much face to face contact as we can, regular meetings and catch ups. But where it’s still not viable, we work with conference calls to ensure that we are all aligned to the same vision, the same goal and the same strategy for Olympus MEA.”
As with many companies that provide solutions to a wide number of industries across the world, Olympus MEA’s business model centres around a strong distributor network and strategic partnerships.
Being an international business, Olympus MEA already had a footprint in the region with a number of local distributors, but for Faber it wasn’t enough.
“There were several areas where we did not have the level of market coverage that we wanted and with the level of variety of equipment that we provide, each piece needs its own partner specialist,” he says.
“And so that means we must look and partner with the right partners and that’s not always easy. But we have some really good people on the ground, we’ve partnered with some really strong partners but we continue to look out for more.”
Working across relatively large markets and smaller markets, having the right partner is important not only in the delivery of market leading solutions, but important in pushing the company beyond its capabilities and driving growth and true value.
“Where we concentrate is getting the right partner, with the right visions, the same mentality and the same goals as Olympus MEA,” says Faber, “and that boils down to innovation, integrity and market coverage.”
Being closer to the customer is one thing, understanding the customer is another and as Olympus MEA serves customers in industries such as aviation, health and oil and gas, understanding the specific needs of each sector is crucial.
“With so many customers, it’s very difficult to understand and realise their needs here when you’re sitting in Europe,” says Faber. “Each customer works in a complicated environment, one that you need to see up close and only then can you get the full picture. Only then can you provide complete solutions to your end customer. This is what we are doing at Olympus MEA.”
With the inauguration of the regional headquarters finalising in early 2017, Olympus’s journey of expansion and move closer to the market is still ongoing. As the company looks to the future and explores future growth opportunities, strip it all down and Faber is keen to stress that it has been and always will be the customer that drives the company forward.
“My perfect vision is for every end-user and customer considers us as preferred partner,” says Faber. “No matter what industry, we want to serve those end users in the best possible way and that they can trust us as partners.”
This is a feeling shared by Alterjman.
“It’s about working with the key decision makers in our industries and collaborating to fit their needs,” he says.
“To support them with our technologies, support their operations and their visions. I'm very proud to be a part of this great organisation I'm very proud that I have an opportunity to serve my region, to serve my people and to serve the customers.”