‘Saudis are the future exporter of technology’
— The steps that have been taken by the Kingdom to further digital transformation are fast-paced and crucial. Recently, there has been strong participation from the private sector as well, which has seen major players launch initiatives in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. One example of this is the partnership General Electric has signed with Obeikan Investment Group that aims at enhancing the digital transformation of the Kingdom and encourages Saudis to become future technology exporters.
To shed some light on this, Saudi Gazette met with William Ruh, CEO for GE Digital as well as Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Officer (CDO) for GE, and Eng. Abdallah Obeikan, CEO of the Obeikan Investment Group (OIG), to talk more on the partnership and potential outcomes.
Ruh began by saying “our partnership with Obeikan is unique. We both share a vision about the next generation of manufacturing which is based on the use of digital technology that connects machines, analyzes data from the machines to contribute to artificial intelligence and advanced analytics, and allows organizations to deeply shift and improve the efficiency of their teams. The world is changing from one where people manage machines to one where machines, data, and analytics are helping people do better in their manufacturing processes. As a result, you are seeing productivity gains of from 10-20% which is huge for any manufacturer.”
He added “the agreement has a number of very important aspects. First, Obeikan is a customer of GE technology in their own manufacturing applications so they are using it themselves, just like GE uses it for ourselves. Second, we both share the idea that we can take this technology to other manufacturers in the region and globally, together exporting digital solutions out of the Kingdom. Finally, we are working with Obeikan to establish Obeikan Digital Solutions, which is a practice within the Group that is creating technology that we plan to use together as a further extension. We want create a solid market that is able to advance manufacturing, especially in the food and beverage industry, on a global basis.”
GE and Obeikan started their partnership more than eight months ago. Obeikan said “we have already started to implement digitization, getting connected and optimized, and training our staff on digital solutions and using the data. Today we have more than 200 great opportunities for data scientists and analysts to improve productivity within operations. It is a journey of continuous improvement and optimization. We are happy as Saudis to share our experience and plans. We have digitalized two of our plants, and the plan is to have all 20 of our plants digitized in the very near future. The objectives of our journey are numerous – most importantly, digitization will improve competitiveness for exports from the Kingdom, and will create new added-value jobs like data scientists and data analysts for young Saudis.”
This strategy is in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Plan 2020. “We need to contribute to the GDP of the economy by being competitive in the region and creating jobs for Saudis. We also want to enhance both the employee and the customer experience. This is the heart of the country’s and the economy’s transformation,” Obeikan said.
Ruh remarked: “We’re bringing our application platform for the Industrial Internet of Things, Predix to the market together. One thing about Predix is that it is extendable. Obeikan is a visionary company, and has programmers and data scientists who are building applications on Predix, which can be extended to their customers in the region and globally.”
He noted that it’s important for GE to be a partner in Saudi Arabia’s digital transformation story. He added, “We are committed to the Kingdom, from our all-female Business Processing Center, where we have more than 30 female developers who are building applications on Predix, to our work with various private and government entities. In the coming weeks, we will host a hackathon focused on the Industrial Internet of Things in partnership with Obeikan, challenging local developers to create applications for industry. These new talents will help to create application ecosystems from Saudis to Saudis, and then from Saudis to the world.”
OBEIKAN DIGITAL SOLUTIONS
Since 1982, Obeikan Investment group has been striving to provide the best services and quality to customers, and to be the “supplier of choice” whenever big market players are looking for long term partnership.
Obeikan was always a “smart player” in the market, mixing between short term wins, and also the strategic investments needed to enable the group to be part of the future of manufacturing in the kingdom, and across the globe.
Obeikan understand very well that the only way to survive and grow in the market is to focus aggressively on productivity, TDC, service, and quality. And none of them can be have continuous improvement and sustainability without applying the best available manufacturing excellency methods globally, while minimizing the judgmental human intervention, and that’s where Obeikan decided to start their….
OIG welcomed Senior Diplomatic delegation from Germany
OIG had the pleasure to welcome Senior Diplomatic German delegation. Delegation was warmly recepted by our CEO Engr. Abdallah Obeikan, MARCOM Director Mamoon Al-Saudi, VP Paper & Board Andre Rosenstock, CFO Andreas Boy. Delegation members were, His Excellency Dr. Peter Ramsauer, Chairman of Economic Committee at Parliament Minister of Transportation, German Ambassador Mr. Michael Ohnmacht, Mr. Felix Neugart, German Industry Association, Mr. Andreas Hergenroether, German Saudi Liaison Office, Commercial Counsellor Mr. Peter Hofmann. Our corporate documentary film was played then CEO gave detailed explanation about OIG successful historical business partnership with German private sectors through various industries and technologies starting in 1982 where we installed our first printing lines from ManRoland passing through significant joint venture with SIG Combibloc in 2001 with solid continuity with Krones, Zippe, Grenzbach and Isra Vision at our Glass company in Yanbu.
CEO urged delegation to give more priority to Saudi market due to its unique and booming economical position, volume and vast opportunities.
Later on, delegation took long tour at our Combibloc production plant and witnessed state of the art facilities to convert more than 4 billion sleeves and produce more than 2.5 billion caps.
German Minister and entire delegation expressed sincere admiration in such ideal and systematic operations and promised to play significant role at German Chamber of Commerce to follow and apply such soundful Saudi-German partnership practiced and exercised at Obeikan company.
Before leaving, delegation stated wonderful sentences in our visitors honor book about impressive operational modulers they witnessed.
Ambassador from Lebanon visited OIG
His Excellency Abdul Sattar Issa, Ambassador of Lebanon visited Obeikan Investment Group (OIG) at Industrial City. His Excellency and accompanying delegates were greeted and welcomed at Obeikan Knowledge Academy (OKA) by Mr. Omran Al-Obeikan, Vice President of Liquid Packaging Division and by Mr. Mamoon Al-Saudi, Director of Marketing & Communication.
Then a documentary film was presented to them regarding the economic activity carried out by the Group and a brief introduction to packaging solutions exported to more than 70 countries.
The delegation headed by the Ambassador also took a quick tour at Obeikan Rigid Plastic and Folding Carton, were briefed on the plant sections, different production lines and all their production activities. Plastic division has significant production plant in Lebanon to produce flexible packaging material and provide flexible packaging solutions to more than 40 customers. Moreover, ORP export to Lebanese markets the preforms and HDPE bottles as one of its flagship product.
The Lebanese Ambassador visit was to strengthen business relationship with Obeikan. Both parties exchanged views on the best practices to facilitate any barriers to export more products and reaching more customers and prospects in Lebanon. In addition to that, Mr. Omran Al-Obeikan illustrated OIG future plans to expand more about the Group’s investment opportunities outside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Spanish Ambassador and its delegates visited OIG
The Spanish Ambassador, Mr. Joaquin Perez Villanueva and Economic & Commercial Counselor, Mr. Juan Burdiel along with its accompanying delegates visited OIG at Riyadh City. They were greeted by Chairman, Dr. Fahad Al-Obeikan, and Mr. Mamoon Al-Saudi, Director of Marketing & Communication. Corporate presentation and documentary film were delivered followed by illustration of gallery at OKA. Afterward, plant tours were taken at Folding Carton and Rigid Plastic.
OIG invested in Obeikan MDF, possessing a vast experience in designing, producing and distributing medium-density fiberboard (MDF) boxes used in packaging. Obeikan MDF proudly owns and operates one of the world’s largest capacity laser-cutting installation in the world. This plant exports packaging solutions to nearly 30 countries.
The visit of the Spanish Ambassador to OIG is to strengthen its relationship and at the same time to witness the leadership of OIG in its good service to national economy of the Saudi Arabia as well as its investment opportunities by expanding business activities outside Saudi Arabia.
Economic Affairs Counsellor of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany Visited OIG
His Excellency, the Counsellor for the Economics Affairs of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Riyadh, Mr. Peter Hofmann visited OIG at Riyadh Industrial City. His Excellency and accompanying delegates was greeted and welcomed there by Mr. Andre Rosenstock, VP Paper & Board and Mr. Mamoon Al-Saudi, Director of Marketing then a documentary film about the activity of OIG was presented to all.
The delegation then visited SIG Combibloc Obeikan factory, one ofthe leading companies worldwide specializing in producing carton packs as well as complete aseptic filling line for reserving long-life juices, milk, beverages and otherfoodstuffs. SIG Combibloc Obeikan factory in Riyadh has an area of 45,000 square meters and production capacity exceeding 8 billion carton packs per year. Furthermore, the delegation’s purpose of visit is to witness the state-of-the-art aseptic beverage carton system including filling machine and downstream, packaging material and technical services.
After visiting SIG Combibloc, the delegation then proceeded to visit Obeikan Plastic Factory, one of the leading companies in the field of plastics products for high quality packaging processes. Obeikan Plastic produces bottles, bottles lids and caps, and packaging tubing (Tube) from material such as HDPE, PET, LDPE, and holds many international certificates due to its manufacturing capabilities and technical expertise, the company has acquired over the years.
The visit of the German Embassy delegation to Obeikan group is a continuation of the historical relationship between the two countries in all fields as well as to strengthen the joint venture of the two reputable companies.
Obeikan Education, the platinum sponsor of Taleem 4
Obeikan Education, the platinum sponsor of Taleem 4, has been one the major participants for the fourth year so far in the International Exhibition and Forum for Education (Taleem 4) in Riyadh, which was held from 3 -6 Feb 2014. Undoubtedly, the exhibition is viewed as one of the most important educational gatherings in the Arab world in general, and the the largest on the Gulf scale in particular. Obeikan Education, the sole platinum sponsor of Taleem4, built on their previous strengths and participations, and worked hard to increase and promote the interaction between the private and the public sectors organizations achieve as one of the company’s strategic goals; with much more eagerness to introduce the participants and visitors to the educational services provided by the company.
As planned, the exhibition was a good opportunity to have some important strategic meetings held with the local and global organizations that attended and participated in the aforementioned event. In addition to the local companies that visited OE’s booth to have a closer look at the company’s products and services, and discuss the potential opportunities of cooperation, it was a great chance for several meetings held as well with the world class educational services providers such as the Finnish and the UK companies who discussed with our team of expertise that was led by Obeikan Education’s Managing Director, Mr. David Pottinger, the future cooperation between Obeikan Education and those leading companies.
In general, the exhibition was a good opportunity to showcase Obeikan Education’s offerings and solutions that cover all educational levels starting from the kindergarten to the public education, and finally the higher education. Some of those products were the Math and Science 3D cartoon short stories that received a good perception by the attendees and the kids in particular.
It is worth mentioning that Obeikan Education (OE), a subsidiary of Obeikan Investment Group (OIG), is an integrated education solutions provider. Obeikan Education well known in the development of teaching and learning content and methods, professional development, as well as the provision of educational technology. Obeikan Education’s benchmark is the best practice and the quality that meets the international standards. We localise and deploy international expertise to suit the cultural and religious context of the Arab and Muslim communities; providing leading curricula for local delivery, in the local language.
Obeikan welcome Algerian Minister of Industry and members of the Algerian embassy
Obeikan Investment Group had received a High-Level Economic Delegation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Algeria under the Chairmanship of His Excellency the Minister of Industry, SMEs and Investment Promotion Mr. Sherif Rahmani, accompanied by His Excellency the Algerian Ambassador in Riyadh Mr. Abdul Wahab Derbal, and members of the embassy.
In the beginning of the meeting, the Chief Executive Officer, Engr. Abdullah Al Obeikan greets His Excellency the Minister Mr. Sherif Rahmani and his accompanying delegations, then he gave a presentation of Obeikan Investment Group and plans to expand the Industry in the markets of North Africa, and noted the size of the economic activity between Obeikan and Algerian businessmen. Where, Obeikan export huge volume of Packaging Products of milk and Juice for food factories, and Ten Thousand tons of Paper, Cardboard from its Duplex Mill.
During the discussion, they exchanged views on the prospects for the development of joint work between Obeikan and Economic delegations and suggested the best ways to facilitate the export of Obeikan Packaging and Paper Products to the Algerian Market.
The delegation also visited our factory Obeikan Paper Industries, which is one of the largest paperboard mills in the Middle East and reaches the production capacity of 180,000 tons and exports its products to 40 countries around the world.
The visit of the delegation of Economic Algerian to Obeikan group is the continuation of the relationship historic between the two countries in all fields, and to promote and increase investment opportunities for the private sector in Saudi Arabia in the region of North Africa, where Algeria is the most important and most active markets due to widening customer base in the region and increase the volume of investments, industrial renaissance continued taking place in Algeria.