SAUDI ARABIA - Industry
CEO and Board Member, City Cement Company
Majed A. Al-Osailan has extensive hands-on experience spanning over 19 years, working for large Financial Institutions (FIs), different manufacturing industries, oil and gas, clean and sustainable energy, and service industries. He accumulated experience through work and board membership in several joint-stock companies. He holds an MBA from the UK and is a certified global executive by INSEAD.
How are the projects promoted by Vision 2030 impacting your business cycle?
The Cement industry has passed the growing stage business cycle to a maturity level. It slowed down a bit when the government revised its spending in 2015 for greater precision. The industry is picking up in light of the numerous Giga projects, potential demand, and solid budgets already allocated. Although, the trends of this industry will remain cyclical and secular too. We need to ensure our company’s future sustainable growth.
How do you apply the concept of innovation in your daily activities?
The cement industry is well integrated, especially in Saudi Arabia. We may be slightly different since the cement companies operate their own quarries mining for raw materials, and power plants to generate electricity or thermal energy. It gives massive potential to optimize efficiency throughout the entire supply chain. Moreover, the industry is a great enabler complementing other industries from an environmental point of view. The world is facing a severe climate change issue, and we all must expedite the solutions to deal with the causing factors of this challenge. City Cement treats different types of waste streams by recycling them to produce alternative fuels to generate energy (waste to energy); this contributes to lowering its dependency on fossil fuels and reducing its carbon footprint by emitting fewer greenhouse gases. As it transforms a linear economy into a circular one, creating a diverse range of jobs, and improving the entire value chain, with all the added value, it can be reflected in various aspects of the economy.
How do you use technology to improve the efficiency of your operations?
We peruse innovation leading to business diversification and commit to our sustainable strategy. Tomorrow everything will be sustainable at City Cement. Technology depends on the inventive capacity of individuals, and our real asset is the people we employ. City Cement applies a concept of value creation. We aim to achieve sustainable growth that creates a value balance considering the stakeholder in the broadest sense. Our strategy is to make City Cement a leader in all areas of its responsibility, whether economic, environmental, social, or societal, through clearly defined objectives for 2030. The world is changing toward digitalization, and we at city cement embrace this change and transformation. We set a clear digital transformation strategy to digitalize our processes through implementing advanced trends of artificial intelligence, machine learning, internet of things toward industry 4.0 to optimize our efficiency in general. We also understand the level of urgency regarding the environment and contributing to the country’s vision 2030 as His Royal Highness the Crown Prince announced the Green Saudi objective and defined clear milestones to lower the overall carbon footprint, reviewing the country’s energy mix, introducing more renewable energy resources, reducing hydrocarbon and fossil fuel, and landfill diversion. At City Cement, we managed to substitute high volumes of fossil fuels by generating clean energy from different sources. We are pioneers in recovering energy from several waste heat streams (WHR) concepts as we treat different types of alternative fuels. However, internationally cement companies get intensified to treat waste and produce energy, helping to reduce the quantity of waste going to the landfill. We are proud of all of this as we believe adopting an environmentally friendly practice is part of our responsibility and look at it as a future investment.
How do you shape your advantages in a market characterized by fierce competition?
Cement is a commodity, and the current high installed capacity and supply-demand gap inevitably make it a cutting-throat competition. City Cement believes striving to have future competitive advantages is more crucial than defending existing ones because your competitors will eventually imitate its offerings. The cement industry is responsible for around 8% of the global carbon footprint. Our green initiatives allow us to differentiate our products. Meanwhile, the Giga projects have a critical mandate regarding ESG, and they started to scrutinize their purchased materials’ specs toward eco-friendly. Indeed, this is the market trend. We are keen to differentiate our products. We also consider it from a corporate-level perspective; we have established a specialized company in green energy solutions as vertical integration and continue to pursue diversification to meet our needs as they arise. You must go full blast in heavy industries such as cement to reduce costs and achieve economies of scale. Although, I believe economies of scope are even more crucial to delivering sustainability. Being said can only come with encouraging leadership at the various layers of the company.
What are the short-term priorities and targets of your 2022\2023 agenda?
We will continue addressing market needs and empowering leadership in the company to maximize our shareholder’s returns. As we believe, it is the basic recipe for success and prosperity. We will continue to raise awareness to preserve our environment. We are all responsible for securing a better future for the coming generations and will strive to pursue doing our part.
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