The initiative is the first-of-its-kind as it is the only ‘online’ store to offer hydraulic and industrial products in addition to power transmission products in the region
In a unique initiative aimed at reaching out to a wider target audience, Alaa for Industry (AFI), a leading industrial supplies company in the Middle East, has marked its Web presence by opening an online store. According to the Saudi-Arabia-based company, the online store is the first-of-its-kind as it is the only such store to offer hydraulic and industrial products in addition to power transmission products `online’, in the region.
“This is the first hydraulic and industrial online store in the Middle East. Our main objective of offering our products online is to reach more potential clients not only in the GCC region but throughout the world,” said Matio P Morales, commercial marketing manager, AFI.
AFI was established in 1984 in Dammam, Saudi Arabia as a company engaged in the manufacture of hydraulic seals and trading of industrial products. Although the focus was on the manufacturing of seals and the transportation industry, AFI soon successfully expanded into related businesses by establishing international partnerships with leading industrial brands.
Today, AFI supplies high-quality engineering products and services for hydraulics, pneumatics, transportation, power transmission and industrial equipment. With its expanding distribution network, broad product line and delivery options, the company helps customers save time and money.
“We work with customers to drive results for their businesses, from keeping operations running efficiently today to continuously rethinking, retooling and optimising for a more productive tomorrow,” said Morales.
Giving details about the investments and efforts made at the back-end to support the online initiative, Morales said that the company hired a professional online store developer to develop the site according to its requirements and according to online customer’s preference.
“We see to it that our customers find it user-friendly, easy to search with exceptional speed while searching the products. It suggests the word every time you type as long as it is available in our database. Basically, it’s like a Google search engine,” said Morales.
Initially the store has more than 13,000 line items, products representing leading brands like Parker, SKF, Enerpac and Legris. In the future, the company plans to add more products like Hyva a well-known brand in the transportation industry, and other offerings as well.
“For now, the store serves as an enquiry portal, and our commitment is to reply to our customers with the quotation within one to two working days,” Morales said.
AFI has also beefed up its infrastructure adequately to support the online marketing initiative for physical distribution and supply of its products and services. The company has more than 18 branches equipped with individual warehouses in addition to its distribution offices in Dammam in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
“If the customer is close to any of our branches then those will support the distribution. Otherwise our distribution offices in Dammam and Bahrain will deliver products for our online store,” explained he.
Morales said it’s too early to assess the projected sales through the online store. “This is the first time we established an online store and we need to study the traffic of the business generated through online. If the online store can contribute initially at least 5 to 10 per cent of our total sales revenue, then that would be a good start,” he commented.
Among other significant developments at AFI in recent months, Morales said the company has got contract from Yasref for Marine Loading Arms refurbishment in Yanbu.
According to him in 2016, the majority of AFI’s revenue was generated from construction and MRO in oil and gas industry. Product segment wise, Foundation Equipment, Hydraulics and Pneumatics, Power Transmission and Industrial Equipment were the major contributors while Manufacturing and fabrication got 40 per cent share.
In imports, the best sellers for the company in 2016 were hydraulics, pneumatics, and power transmission products.
Registered under Ibrahim Ali Al Rashoodi & Partners Holding Company (LLC), today AFI is one of the largest and most diverse industrial companies in the Middle East which has various subsidiary companies with diverse business interests.