Ali, it’s great to have you on the EP Team! However, you are not completely new to EP, are you?
It is great to be part of this company officially. No, I am not completely new to the EP brand, I have loved the company and product for quite some time and previously worked for an EP Dealer in the Middle East.
I have worked in the industry since 2005 and since I first came across EP and began to compare it to other Chinese products, I realised that EP really has something different. Back in 2017 I worked with other big material handling brands, but when I found out about EP I realised there is a huge market for such products in the Middle East. Since then I invited EP’s John He to come to an opening ceremony at that time, it was quite, very good opening ceremony and we sold a lot of units in the region.
So what sparked your interest further in EP specifically that made you want to be not only part of the team, but really develop it in the market?
To be honest with you, EP is the only brand that I see. It’s developing in 360 degree in home ranges and you know the fastest. Response that I can get from any team members of any other brand I have worked with… and there are many.
It’s really reliable, and it’s really good to see that EP is focusing on the quality of the products and for developing the products.
Every time I see the new developments on EP products I can see that this is the biggest factor to be successful in a market, and it comes all from the head of EP, It comes from John, his passion and his, you know, enthusiasm to let EP grows as much as possible in every market.
I have not seen this in any other brand comparing with, you know, even top brands, if you want to have something to be changed it will take a minimum of 6 months.
What are the challenges our dealers in the Middle East face in the material handling market?
Back when I first found EP it was not focused on lithium battery products but still and developing the products and back to then people didn’t have good confidence on Chinese products. This was an initial challenge, as previous bad experience have meant that there is a bad perception of Chinese products. But with the support and communication we managed to provide to our network we have built trust in the EP brand and gradually the brand name has become much more popular.
A second challenge is that the market for diesel trucks is so strong. When I really started to focus on EP Units in 2018, and I had a talk with John regarding developing the market in the Middle East the Diesel market was still too strong. At this time the power electric trucks could have been clearer in the European market and look at the growth that has been had!
Back then it was not the right time to put so much focus on the Middle East as it is a complicated market companies are quite rich because of the oil that they have, and the countries are also wealthy meaning huge brand names are a big driver in decisions when purchasing material handling. Now in more recent years we are seeing a shift as the oil price in the Middle East, just like the rest of the world, begins to rise and this is where we can change the market with EP Equipment.
What does increasing fuel costs mean for the material handling market in the Middle East?
This leaves a desire for electric equipment across the market. Sooner or later we will begin to see the pattern that the market in Europe has experienced. The lithium battery will be the next generation of technology, this is the really fast demanding products.
The lithium batteries will be more available and all around the world, if you look at the car industry now, lots of Tesla cars are running through the roads, and it shows that the people mindset are changing from the fossil fuel into lithium and for the Middle East this will be the same way.
The oil price is increasing every day, every year, so the business owners want to save as much as possible, and it’s a good opportunity to focus on lithium battery products.
So how are we moving forward developing in the Middle East now?
So about six months ago, we had identified that a negotiation the Middle East is really ready to accept the new products with new technology.
Then I began presenting how we can develop in the market and I gave presentations, and market studies about the Middle East, and then we reached to the point that it’s the right time.
I threw myself in and went to the UAE to make observations about the market currently, and I found that it’s quite the right time that we can enter to this market because the market is ready to accept EP as a pioneer in lithium products.
We are creating our offices in Dubai currently and developing a warehouse to hold stock to cover our dealer network, and we have started to receive regular order of products which shows the market is accepting and strong.
What product from EP Do you think will be the focus for the market?
Demanded in the market is high for forklifts in the range of 3 tones to 5 tones is high and this will be an exciting development to offer high performance trucks with lithium-batteries that can work and directly replace IC trucks for our end users.
However, in general, the focus is on offering lithium-ion solutions as a whole.
What aspects of lithium-ion material handling equipment interest the Middle East market the most?
Proving to our networks that Lithium trucks can operate in the high heat weather conditions we experience in the Middle East. They have a big question about overheating products because of the high temperatures. Also, it is key to start demonstrating savings that can be had from maintenance free lithium products. This can be one of the most expensive parts of operating IC material handling equipment in the Middle East, and EP Equipment can eliminate these costs.
You know products, this is the advantage that we have to consider, and we have to convince them with a very simple calculation. We can give them that they’re using the lithium battery products will give you a very good cost savings. These products are running extremely well maintenance free, they can operate in a hot weather and direct sunshine that comes to 55 degrees with no issues, and they can operate indoor and outdoor.
Now we can offer something that many others do not have.
Ali, back to you! Where will we find you after work, what hobbies do you have, and how do you spend your weekends?
When I’m not working, I love to listen to music, and I go to the gym every day to lead a healthy lifestyle. I love to learn, so I study I read a lot of books in industry because I have my PhD in marketing, so it is really a passion of mine. Sometimes I also host some free online courses for the people who really interested in sales and marketing.
I really like to give as much as I can, you know, because I want to be a very useful person for the society. Working with EP will keep me growing personally!
And what is your wish to have achieved by the end of your first year working at EP?
For the first year, what I really intend is to settle down EP in the Middle East.
Let the whole region understand that we are here to stay for a long time of business, and we will not let them feel alone. We will not leave them behind and we are here to stay and to do the business and to grow in the market as much as possible.
We don’t, you know, we are very strongly eager to get our market share and with respect with other brands that are operating in the market, I think EP must be one of the top five brands in the Middle East.