Nothing prepared the world for what it was about to face in the year 2020. With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, life, as everyone knows, had changed almost instantly. While the resulting global crisis affected all sectors across the globe, the industry that sustained one of the heaviest impacts is the business arena.
As a notable Industry Leader, Dr. Hisham Elseddik, CEO of Porcellan Tiles Co. in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, knows the trials and obstacles that most business owners and companies had to overcome to recover from the adverse effects of the ongoing pandemic.
With more than twenty years of exceptional track record in driving business growth, Dr. Hisham is widely acknowledged as a Certified Crisis and Risk Manager. On top of that, he is also a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP), an Assistant Professor of Strategic Management, and a holder of a Doctorate Degree in Business Administration.
During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Hisham served the community of U.A.E and joined the volunteering program initiated by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crowne Prince of Dubai, U.A.E, to contribute in the efforts to fight this global epidemic.
Armed with sound exposure in all areas of business operations in various industries, he emerged as the CEO of Porcellan Tiles, one of the largest porcelain companies in the United Arab Emirates, specializing in designing and manufacturing of high-quality porcelain tiles and distributing its products to more than 35 countries.
On a mission to become one of the top companies in the tile industry, Porcellan Tiles is heavily committed to achieve operational excellence. The Company aims to maximize its production capacity and utilize advanced technology to transform value for developers, distributors, homeowners, and customers through quality, competitive pricing, product customization, flexibility, on-time delivery, and reliability.
In an interview, Dr. Hisham talked about how his company dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic and the global crisis that came along with it. “When signs of the crisis emerged at the beginning of 2020, Porcellan Tiles ultimately worked as a family and as an integrated team,” the CEO revealed. The first message that he relayed to his workforce was: “They had to take care of each other, regardless of where they were currently in the world.” The Porcellan Tiles CEO added, “Working remotely during the global pandemic has been possible. With technology, we were able to reach and communicate with our workforce wherever they are in this critical time”.
According to Dr. Hisham, his primary goal has always been to help others overcome the crisis with the least possible losses. “Therefore, none of the employees and workers will be laid off, and salaries will not be reduced for those assigned in the production departments.” Dr. Hisham added, “The Company’s number one priority is the health and safety of the entire employees. I made a Crisis and Risk Committee from different departments, and it was not necessary that they should be one of the department heads. What mattered was that they were responsible for the health, safety, security, human resources, and sales. This was to monitor the situation first-hand, speed up the decision-making processes and follow up the progress of implementation,” the Porcellan Tiles CEO explained.
“One of the most important things that I applied in cases of underachievement during this period was that we created different strategies of paying salaries. First, we paid salaries from the lowest to the highest hierarchy, then made a different strategy wherein we paid everyone’s salary in two parts. Thus, we established a principle of social justice within the company, as the application of justice is higher than the application of equality,” he added.
He also mentioned that during the crisis, the U.A.E Government had been compassionate towards the investors in many ways. They had given relaxation on payment of utilities such as electricity, water, gas and rent, which helped in reducing monthly expenses and gave the opportunity to continue paying salaries and to cover the costs of obtaining raw materials to ensure the continuation of production operations.
Commenting on the current crisis related to the tense situation between Russia and Ukraine, Dr. Hisham said that “The conflict between these Countries has made the global economic situation highly unstable, especially in the supply chain, wherein it has affected the supply of Ukrainian Clay, which is one of the most important raw materials we use in our production. When the crisis erupted, I instructed the Research and Development Department to work on finding alternatives for Ukrainian Clay. Also, to deal with the rise in shipping prices around the world, we started searching for resources from nearby countries to reduce shipping costs,” he left off.
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