The GCC’s Trusted Food Partner
Writer: Emily Jarvis
Project Manager: Sammy Wilkinson
Adapting to the growing regional demand for a more extensive range of value-add food products, Saudi Arabian-based Transveritas has benefitted from a diversification strategy which has seen the Company expand its basket of products to remain competitive in an increasingly saturated market.
Managing Director, KRC Menon recalls: “When I took interest in the bulk commodity trading of food & drink goods in the late 1980s, the processing industry was beginning to show huge scope for future development. Monitoring the growth in mechanical and technical expertise coming from the food industry in Europe, combined with the rapid economic and infrastructural growth of the GCC region, Transveritas was borne from precognitive thinking and a desire to grow the local economy.”
Since securing a reputation as a reliable long-term business partner – not only to its customers, but also suppliers – Transveritas has been able to take stock of its skills and market expertise to create a sustainable business that represents some of the biggest names in the region’s food industry today.
“We have an internal policy where we represent only one company for one product,” explains Menon. “This refinement is so that we become more focused in what we do and avoid any conflict of interests. We are proud to deliver not only a high quality product range, but also to be associated with the majority of our principals for more than a decade. This reaffirms that we must be conducting business in the right way.”
Common taste pattern
After an initial move into the trading of ketchup and tomato paste, adding to its previous mainstay of beverage products, the turn of the century marked a new era for Transveritas. “We realised we had obtained considerable market share and were in a position to expand our basket of products further; as well as serving a whole host of new exclusive customers across the dairy, bakery, meat and confectionery industries,” Menon highlights.
The Company now supplies a wide range of juices, dairy, ice-cream, biscuits, chocolates, confectionery, marmalades, snacks, sauces, edible oils, flours, meats, poultry, seafood, cereals and some pharmaceutical products into the GCC region, Sudan and some parts of India.
Citing that each market is different in its own unique way, Menon says that monitoring industry and cultural trends plays a crucial part in deciding common taste patterns and with this in mind, a high level of innovation is required on an ongoing basis to remain competitive.
He says: “The region we handle is very interesting as it is almost like a cocktail of the world market to a large extent, due to the ethnically diverse population we serve. While the weather and what is naturally available does invariably influence the common regional taste pattern. All kinds of taste concepts can still be experimented with in order to capitalise on new or emerging food and beverage trends.
“Our main focus is to try and create innovative concepts by working closely with our customers, focusing on global trends, local taste and convenience.”
Significant internal investments have been made in this regard which contribute to Transveritas’ value-add service offerings. “We are in the constant process of evolving from a purely sales-driven base, to a more specialised service-oriented marketing Company,” explains Menon.
Currently making big improvements to its technical ground presence while also increasing research and development (R&D) capabilities in-house, the Company hopes to bolster its internal knowledge base to help clients develop new product ideas suitable for the region’s changing demands.
He summarises: “We have invested in qualified staff from the food industry, which gives us the advantage to not only propose new ideas to the client, but actually conduct the physical trials with them and provide technical support; thereby enabling us to be valued and trusted partners right from the conceptual stage with the ultimate aim of securing this relationship for the long-term, from product sales through to a complete after sales service.”
Investment in staff and production processes is an ongoing process and key continuous improvement pillar for Transveritas today, designed to convert a concept to a sale at a much more efficient rate that is mutually beneficial.
The Company’s attitude towards maintaining an extremely professional relationship with its customers is a consequence of a committed, teamwork-orientated training strategy.
Menon explains: “We see ourselves as more of a family than a workforce. As a result of such an attitude, our staff turnover rate is relatively low; we have people that have been with us for the past 20 years. Our operations team, who are the backbone of the organisation, have all been with us for more than six years.”
Complemented by a healthy mix of old and new staff in technical sales, due in-part to the Company’s ongoing efforts to strengthen this team, Transveritas is “totally committed to hiring the best around and doing the utmost to keep the team motivated”; regularly sending staff to its principal companies for onsite training and also encouraging them to take part in international exhibitions in order to broaden their knowledge base when it comes to learning about global food trends.
“We try hiring as much as possible from the local market, with a keen eye on identifying those who have firsthand experience in production. I have received great support from the General Manager, Antony Joseph for 18-odd years and together, we made this Company into an organisation,” he proudly states. “My son, Arjun Menon has moved into the business now and I am slowly showing him the ropes, allowing him to grow naturally in the organisation. He has been with the Company for almost seven years now and my hopes are that when he does take full control of the business one day, the core values of the Company will remain and the organisation will continue evolving, taking our people with it.”
Emphasis to grow
Menon says the immense pride he feels for the Company today - particularly the achievement of quick response times and an extensive value-add service – is only possible thanks to the backing of a committed and “wonderfully coordinated” team of individuals.
“This is what I consider to be our X factor. For us, the customer comes first and we will be available to the customer for any after sales issues that may arise, making us - and in the process, our principals - an extremely reliable source,” he cites.
Transveritas’ future now looks set to become even brighter moving forward. By working closely with its current suppliers, the Company is keen to identify new markets that would be mutually beneficial for both parties.
Menon concludes: “As we represent companies on exclusivity, we must move with them. If we can mutually decide with our principals on a new geography to supply, then you can be sure we will look to move on this aggressively.
“Of course, there is always an emphasis to grow and the planned expansion of our R&D resources will only serve to further strengthen and add more value to our client-centric proposition.”