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SA22_IN_ALSAFWA Yasser Zayed


Yasser Zayed

CEO, AlSafwa Cement Company


Yasser Zayed has 25 years of experience in the industrial field and is currently the CEO of AlSafwa Cement Company. He holds a master’s degree in international administration (MIBA) from Paris ESLSCA Business School. He was previously CFO of LafargeHolcim.

“AlSafwa has the largest portfolio in the Kingdom in terms of number of products.”
AlSafwa Cement Company has grown over the years to become a pioneer and role model in the heavy industries from an innovation and environmental perspective.
What was the impact on your supply chains with regards to the cement sector?

In the beginning, it was hard on us, having to bring in important raw materials like bauxite, for example, from the eastern province and fuel from Aramco. It took us some time to adapt to the new regulations of those big companies to take back our resources. After a month, our team, contractors, and drivers learned to do whatever is necessary in order to load our materials such that we can operate smoothly afterward. March and April 2020 were the hardest times for us. We also had the support of the government in terms of providing special industrial permissions for our people to travel between places and make the plant operational. Our plant was operational 24/7, and the government provided significant support here. The projects promoted by the Ministry of Housing have a huge impact on demand for cement as well as other building materials. That was one of the big levers that pushed the market to a normal consumption.

What are your priorities in expanding export markets across Africa, the MENA region, and Asia, and what markets are you looking at?

AlSafwa reached markets that have never been reached before by any other Saudi company, like the US. We went to Latin America as well. The typical market here is East Africa, but we have also expanded to West Africa to Cameroon and Ivory Coast. We have a competitive advantage in this area due to not only the price but also quality. We have a special pack of cement that we can sell in different areas. With the export market, we were fortunate enough in this year and previous year because of the lack of clinker worldwide. Turkey, Spain, and North Africa have been experiencing a fall in supply of cement, and that positively affected our export volumes to areas that had never been reached before in 2020.

How has digitalization impacted the Kingdom, AlSafwa, and the cement industry in general?

AlSafwa has been digitalizing its process, which was one of main strategies. Our main strategy is to focus on customer centricity. We have strong partners like Oracle and Microsoft, and we are using their capabilities to serve our customers in a better way. We now have self-ordering machines in the plant to avoid contact between drivers and our employees. Drivers can now load the cement and go out without meeting our people. We have a digital customer platform where customers can order, pay, and communicate through our website without meeting anyone from AlSafwa. It will be the first year that we will have a full B2B cycle implemented through our system. We have three parties here: the customer, AlSafwa, and banks. We had this strategy before the pandemic, as one of our main goals was to make the entire process digital. We started this in 2018 by focusing on our customer needs. AlSafwa has the largest portfolio in the Kingdom in terms of number of products; we have six products, and the seventh, white cement, will be launched in early 2022. You will not find this variety in any other place because we directly asked our customers what they need.

What are your expectations and priorities for the short term?

We are focusing on reaching our targets, though we will focus on gray cement because we have a new technique producing white cement through FLS. We have six products in the market and need to continue to supply them all. With the country’s ambition to reach net zero carbon by 2060, we are fully aligned with this amazing initiative and proven our pioneer position in the heavy industries with three alternative fuel investments in addition to utilizing industrial waste as an alternative raw material. AlSafwa will continue to play a critical role in the carbon circular economy.



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