Insights into the secret of success in Middle East
On the 16th of August 2011, TRILUX Middle East officially received its trade license, which allowed TRILUX to expand its business in the Middle East, Turkey and the APAC market. During the past ten years, the TRILUX Middle East team has achieved many successes, which have been festively celebrated on the 19th of August 2021.
In the context of the ten years of success, we asked ten questions to Sheik Azaz (Commercial Director Middle East, Turkey & APAC at TRILUX Vertrieb).
When did you start working for TRILUX Middle East?
Sheik Azaz: “I started working for TRILUX in July 2011. This was my official joining, and I spent my first weeks in Arnsberg (Germany) at the TRILUX head office. I travelled back and forth between Arnsberg and Dubai on a regular basis to look for a suitable office in Dubai, to work on obtaining a license, and to dig through lots of paperwork.
After a month, we were finally able to officially register ourselves on the 16th of August 2011. I was the first official employee for TRILUX at the Dubai Airport Free Zone, and in the following years I formed a multi-disciplined and solid team around me.”
What is your job position at TRILUX Middle East?
Sheik Azaz: “After fulfilling several positions at different lighting companies in Dubai and India, I became Commercial Director at TRILUX, looking after the markets in the Middle East, Turkey and APAC. It has been a period full of challenges, but it was never boring. I enjoy working in the field of new technologies and following trends, and I am grateful I got the chance to set up and run this part of the TRILUX branch.”
What have been the greatest successes or accomplishments of the TRILUX Middle East team in the past decade?
Sheik Azaz: “Our greatest achievement - and also the biggest challenge - of the last ten years, was building the brand in the region and in the relevant market segment. In the past, we followed Germany’s product-oriented market strategy. But nowadays, in everting we do, we are applying a customer-oriented approach: we are focusing on our customer’s wishes first, and then we are offering a solution accordingly.” He adds: “In 2012, we held a comprehensive survey. The results showed that customers associate TRILUX solely with car park lighting solutions. They thought we are a high-end brand, and categorized TRILUX as ‘best luminaire for car park’ and ‘really expensive’.
Customers had no idea that TRILUX also offers smart lighting solutions for offices, industry, logistics, education, etc. It was a great challenge to create a solid brand awareness in the right segments. Not only in the high-end segment, because we also provide solutions and services in the mid-end market. Our biggest accomplishments are that we managed to present our TRILUX portfolio in a clear way, and that we are now able to act in line with the customers’ expectations and wishes. From high-end to mid-end markets and in several sectors, such as airports, offices, hospitals, education facilities, governmental institutions; all these branches now know that we are operating in these sectors and that we are able to offer a tailor-made solution, which fulfills their specific requirements.”
How has the TRILUX Middle East branch developed itself from the start, ten years ago, until this day?
Sheik Azaz: “In 2012, at the beginning of our journey, my previous manager Dietmar Sack and I first employed people from Germany. Later, we recruited world-wide. We strived to create a small and multifunctional team. The focus of our team’s skills is on design, marketing, sales, and business development management. We first started to look after six countries. It was not easy and very time-consuming to travel around. That is why we started to train partners and distributors on a local level. They became a great support, and are now playing key roles, especially in promoting the brand by using their extensive market knowledge.
We are working together with consultants and partners, which are now basically extended sales arms in the relevant markets. That has worked out very well. At the office in Dubai we only have five people working in sales, next to this we have expertslocally In fields such as Lighting Design, SMART Systems & Services and Customer Excellence. We are able to monitor and control everything very well througot the entire chain, thanks to our trustworthy and solid infrastructure of partners. Having the opportunity to collaborate with local partners, being able to work with their local network, in the local languages, and interact with customers in the respective area, saves us money and time, and helps us to operate more efficiently.”
Can you share something about TRILUX’ future plans for the Middle East and APEC area?
Sheik Azaz: “The market has changed in last 3-4 years. First, LED was new and upcoming, but now the market is 100% LED, and there is a lot of competition. Therefore, we changed our strategy, and are now offering local solutions, which are in line with the local markets. Not only with regards to sales, but also production. Because producing locally enables us to use our recourses in a more efficient way. We are now launching local portfolios with strong German quality signature for the local markets, which are in line with the wishes of our key customers, end customers, and distributors.
Everything is aligned with their requirements and price awareness. Next to lighting, we are also tapping on new applications and new segments, E.g. the oil and gas industry. We are working on this together with ZALUX (part of the TRILUX Group). Also, retrofit gets more and more popular, and we are keen on playing our part in the sustainable refurbishment trend that arises from the T5-T8 ban.” Idea is to have one stop solution towards the customer by offering one Face to customer from TRILUX group.
Which trends and developments do you foresee for the near future?
Sheik Azaz: “The market is moving from LED to ‘Human centric Design’. This goes beyond lighting, so Human Centric Lighting (HCL) is just a part of it. The focus lies on building around the human needs and applying smart design, which can meet those needs. We have to be aware of who our target group is, what our customers need, and think about the smart solution we can offer. It is not just the technical stuff I am talking about here, but literally designing an entire space around humans. The most important key words here are: well-being, smart & human centric design. Another trend is circulatory and sustainability.
Partnerships are key are here, as such we engage more with sustainability boards, governmental institutions and adjecent building experts by leadership tables, which enables us to develop and offer more circular and sustainable solutions. And if I think about trends, then I also want to mention ‘smart’. Smart is too general term. Offering smart solutions can be as basic as using sensors (daylight and moving sensors) to offering complex solution in Cloud systems & POE (Power over Ethernet), with applications ranging from Heat Mapping, Asset Tracking, way finding, etc. The challenge is to identify the customers ‘pain points’ (the things our customers experience in their daily lives, which can be improved to increase the quality of life) and offer a smart solution accordingly.”
Have you noticed different trends between the Middle East area and other markets throughout the years?
Sheik Azaz: “Definitely, In Dubai everything is very futuristic. In this region, everyone wants the latest technique and the newest options. This is different in Europe, where the market is a bit more traditional and driven by refurbishment. But this trend helps us to stay ahead and enables us to pitch new ideas, which, in a later stage, can be adopted by other regions.
Market has evolved from a typical Product Solutions to Lighting Solution to these days ‘’Building solutions’’ which is more common these days. In Germany, I see more acceptability of stand-alone solutions, while in the Middle East, the customer wants to connect everything. Hence, the focus is more on building management and smart building in our region, and not just on lighting solutions.”
What is the strength of the TRILUX Middle East team?
Sheik Azaz: “We have a very multi-talented team, with strong internal and external partnerships. Our team consists of people, which are great at team work. We are all complementing each other very well and we are masters in project management, smart solutions, and business development.
The ability to multi-task and to build strong partnerships has made us successful. It has even resulted that our expertise is being used in India and APAC, with Dubai as regional hub. We see ourselves as consultants, not as sales people. Because of that, people see us as educators, aware about trends, technique, lighting, certified building, efficiency and really understanding customer needs. Differentiation through Brand , quality, knowledge and people skills is what differentiates us from our competitors.”
How did you celebrate your 10-year anniversary?
Sheik Azaz: “The celebration of the 10-year anniversary on the 19th of August, started in the afternoon with a town hall meeting at the office in Dubai. Here we greatly thankes our customer and partners for trusting our brand and people. In the evening, we invited more than 40 customers and partners being able to meet our CSO and CMO Joachim Geiger - member of TRILUX Executive Board and our MD Vikash Banwarie, a dozen of team members joined us on a festive location, where we took plenty of time for networking, looking back at the team’s accomplishments, making plans for the future, and of course, enjoying tasty food and drinks.
Is there something else you would like to share with us?
Sheik Azaz: “I can’t stress enough that teamwork is the key factor of our success. We are still getting strong support from experts in Germany, but over time have built a strong innovation center in our region. The strength of our brand, as well as the strong customer’s brand awareness we have created the past ten years, would not be as solid as it is, without our multitalented team, our regional and local partners, and several consultants on site.
Sustainable relationships are indispensable on the way to success, and to stay successful in the future. We are looking forward to the next ten years and would like to thank our great TRILUX team, our customers, our partners and other involved parties, which have contributed to our success. Thank you #TeamTRILUX!”.