There is a traditional Omani dish named Shuwa, reserved for very special occasions and festivities. Eid al-Fitr, a festival that marks the end of Ramadan, is one of those occasions. The Shuwa is usually made with a leg of lamb covered in a paste of spices, herbs and oil. Every Omani family have their own special blend but they usually include earthy flavors coming from cinnamon, coriander, cumin, chili powder mixed in syrup of dates vinegar. The meat and spices are then wrapped in banana leaves and tucked into a palm frond, forming a bundle. This bundle is then placed in a special Shuwa pit. A Shuwa pit is essentially a hole in the ground which is prepared with hot embers. The pit is then backfilled and the bundle remains on the embers for 24 hours.
Epiroc have well established network of Customer Centers in almost all corners of the world. The men and women of these Customer Centers are at the frontline of our business. They make deals, manage territories and meet customers on a daily basis. Although this setup is the core for developing customer relationships and make transactions, in some markets, other solutions are necessary. One example is when the Customer Center of one country can manage the business in a neighboring country. Another example is when there is already an established partner present in a specific market. A partner that can distribute, service and sell Epiroc equipment.
A prime example of such market is the Sultanate of Oman in the Middle East. The country is bordered by Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The two coasts are facing the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea. The mines in Oman are mainly extracting copper and quarries are focused on limestone, marble, gabbro and gypsum.
The capital of Oman is the city of Muscat and here we also find the headquarters of Bin Salim Enterprises LLC. Established in 1973, during the early years of the country’s renaissance era, the aim was to take advantage of the new opportunities presented in the Sultanate. Since then, Bin Salim Enterprises has grown rapidly and today it is a well-established and well-managed company. With a spotless reputation thanks to very high standards in company ethics and customer relations, the partnership between Bin Salim Enterprises and Epiroc is a perfect match.
This fruitful relationship goes back some 46 years when Atlas Copco and Bin Salim started to do business together. In 1997, the first ever drill rig in Oman was sold to a customer through Bin Salim. It was a ROC 848 HC. Nowadays, the company distributes equipment from the entire Epiroc portfolio except hydraulic attachment tools. For the Surface and Exploration Drilling division, the most popular equipment in Oman are the PowerROC T35 and FlexiROC T35 drill rigs. These are mainly sold to construction companies and quarries. Other examples of equipment sold in the country includes PowerROC T25 DC, Boyles C5C and SpeedCut.
Sheikh Is-haq H.S. Al Rawahy is the Managing Director of Bin Salim Enterprises LLC. He shares his view on the two companies and the relationship between them.
“We work on a clear basis. Transparency, long-term vision, to take good care of the aftermarket and we believe in win-win-win. What I mean by that is we’re not happy until the deal is a win for Bin Salim, a win for Epiroc and most importantly – a win for the customer.”
Sheikh Is-haq highlights the shared company values as one of the most important ingredients for the partnership. “This is a relationship based on trust.” he says.
Another factor is the setup with a dedicated Epiroc team in Oman, based in the Bin Salim headquarters. This is the result of an idea that Sheikh Is-haq had in 2007 to second an Epiroc executive in Bin Salim and since this was put in place, sales have gone way up.
Nasser Mardani, Business Development Manager at Epiroc is leading the team.
“Bin Salim and Epiroc empowers each other. We make each other stronger and we learn from one another. The global experience of Epiroc, mixed with the local knowledge of Bin Salim, makes this work.” he says.
Nasser sees many upsides to the partnership solution in Oman and to have a dedicated Epiroc team in place. This way, Epiroc has transparency on sales margins and market share. In his experience, customers like to meet with an Epiroc person as well as a representative from Bin Salim. Another important benefit is the reach, presence and reputation that Bin Salim has earned in Oman.
“We can copy this partnership arrangement in other markets. We can really learn from this.” Nasser says.
Sheikh Is-haq provides the perfect summary on the topic. “We don’t use the word ‘dealer’, we are a partner. It’s essential to have a long-term vision when entering a partnership like the one we have with Epiroc. When we go to the market, we go as Bin Salim Enterprises and Epiroc.”
Remember the Shuwa? It is usually retrieved from the pit in the ground on the second or third day of Eid al-Fitr. By then, the smoky flavors have permeated the meat and a crust around it have been formed by the spices.
It is the opposite of fast-food. It takes long-term thinking and patience to prepare. But just as with a successful partnership – it is worth it many times over.