The Business Year

Arjun Subramanian

OMAN - Agriculture

Arjun Subramanian

CEO, Mazoon Dairy

Bio

Arjun Subramanian is a dairy professional with 27 years of experience in project management, execution, and commercial operations of integrated projects throughout the region and beyond. Before joining Mazoon Dairy Company, he worked on integrated dairy projects with Dubai Investment’s Marmum Dairy Farm (UAE), FDPI India’s project, UAE-based IFFCO’s projects in Malaysia and Turkey, and OADC in Oman.

An integrated dairy initiative, Mazoon Dairy Company plays an important role in the achievement of Oman's national food security program.

What have been some of the major developments across your operations over the past year?

Since its launch of operations in Oct 2019, Mazoon Dairy started the distribution of its products across Oman within the first 100 days. The onset of COVID-19, however, had an impact on phased commissioning of its factory. This was offset by connecting many of its machines and equipment online and doing commissioning from distant parts of the world. The sales and distribution teams ensured continuity of deliveries of milk and other products, upholding hygiene and quality. With uncertainties prevailing on many fronts due to the ongoing pandemic, Mazoon Dairy was able to grow its total market share to almost 24%, within its first year of operations. With an employee base growing to 1,000 within a year, and as a greenfield start-up company, Mazoon Dairy was able to overcome many of the operational barriers through its committed workforce, ensuring minimal deviation from its strategic goals.

How are you incorporating new technologies into your production process, and how is that helping your efficiency?

Mazoon Dairy has incorporated many new technologies in the production process to improve efficiency. The dairy farm includes smart monitoring of the cows, which have radio collars that transmit data about the health of the animal. IoT devices in many of the equipment provide us live data on milk production, cow feeding, and cow cooling. Intelligent cow cooling systems ensure the microenvironment of the dairy herd is kept comfortable even during the height of summers. The factory has excellent robotics for packaging, and the entire processing plant is automated and controlled from a centralized control room. Sales and distribution are automated with handheld devices that send real-time information on sales and demand. Mazoon Dairy also has a unique, automated demand forecasting that works with AI.

Where do you see the role of the government in the long term when it comes to the sector?

The government has been playing a crucial role in promoting the sector, reforming the regulations, supporting training and upskilling nationals, and resolving many issues we have faced in the past. However, this supportive contribution needs to continue through working closely with the manufacturers, especially when it comes to promoting Omani exports. Further encouragement of private investors, SMEs, and building a value chain ecosystem around industries would immensely contribute to boosting the sector.

How do you assess the level of competition in the sector, and where do you see the biggest potential for new investments?

Industry analysis is a market assessment tool used in our businesses to understand the competitive dynamics of an industry. It helps us get a sense of what is happening in an industry, for example, demand and supply statistics, the degree of competition within the industry, the state of competition in the industry with other emerging industries, the future prospects of the industry taking into account technological changes, the credit system within the industry, and the influence of external factors on the industry. Investments in biodegradable packaging and solar energy are also some of the fields that can be explored immediately.

What are your main growth objectives for the next 12 months, and what challenges do you expect?

Within the first year of operations, we ensured brand positioning and visibility at the highest level. This started paying dividends, through an increase in demand for our high-quality products. We now aim for a wider reach and better serviceability of our customers in the emerging post-COVID-19 phase. The launch of new and exciting product ranges will continue to remain our priority. Our unprecedented growth in market share will see us emerging as a leader among many of the launched product categories and a leading socially responsible brand that will set a trend in terms of the circular economy, skilling locals, encouraging SMEs, and the overall contribution to the macroeconomic indicators within the country.

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