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Midland chemicals Middle East (Midchem speciality): celebrating 15 years of excellence

 

Midland Chemicals Middle East (Midchem Speciality) – a 15-year old company – with its parent company based in the UK – has exceptional results in catering to the cleaning and hygiene needs of the region’s F&B and Institutional Sector. Shanti Petiwala finds out more…

 

January 15, 2017
 
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Midland chemicals Middle East (Midchem speciality): celebrating 15 years of excellence
 

In a world where SMEs are fast taking over global contracts with their attention to detail, cost-effective solutions and focus on quality, Midland Chemicals Middle East (Midchem Speciality) is at the forefront – consistently making itself known in the Food & Beverage & Institutional Industry in the Middle East.

Present in the region since 2001, Midchem Speciality first established its whollyowned subsidiary in 2014. The company has been spearheaded by Jaber Malik, General Manager, and Ashwani Soni, Technical Director. Jaber has extensive experience in global, multinational companies’ before establishing Midland Chemicals. Similarly, Ashwani’s career was spent widely with Unilever for about 35 years before he joined Midchem Speciality. He attributes much of his learning and expertise to his time at the global giant.

Over the past 15 years, Midchem Speciality has proven its mettle serving the F&B industry for their cleaning & hygiene need in the region and has a majority share under its belt. Apart from this, Midchem Speciality also caters to the institutional sector through a network of distributors.

The set up

Midland Chemicals Middle East (Midchem Speciality) is a subsidiary of Midland Chemicals UK. It has its own dedicated, state-of-the-art production facility in Dubai Investment Park, Dubai, UAE. The processing unit has an annual capacity of 9,000 tonnes of both liquid and powder. The unit is also equipped with automatic filling lines, a well-established quality control system with extensive R&D set up. Midland Chemicals UK also supports in key R&D activities. Midchem Speciality is an ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 18001 and GMP certified. It also has approvals from almost all OEMs in the F&B industry including Tetrapak, SPX & GEA. Most of its products have FDA approval under relevant activity.

The products are developed with Global Access to the Cleaning & Hygiene knowledge specifically for the needs of Middle East region and formulated based on regional climatic conditions, thus showing the company’s commitment to the region. Jaber says, “Almost all of our products have different formulations to the products that we sell in the UK due to the specific climatic and water conditions here.”

The business

Midchem Speciality has a very interesting slogan – Your Success, Our Future. And, what comes through is that their customers’ success is very important to the the company; if they succeed, so does Midchem. The company has certainly grown in the past 15 years, as have their products for all applications within the F&B and I&L sectors. Midchem Speciality’s core strength lies in their ability to develop products based on customer’s needs and requirements unlike other regional players that try to promote their standard products mainly developed for foreign markets.

Jaber says, “Our company originally started catering to just the cleaning & hygiene needs of the F&B sector, which was also my core strength, having worked with multinational like Tetrapak & Unilever. To diversify and enhance further growth and instill business strength, we then decided to move into the Institutional Sector (Hotels, hospital, restaurant, laundries etc.) about 5 years ago”. The institutional sector is served by Midchem Speciality through its network of distributors in the region.

Jaber further explains, “In my experience, I have realized that honesty, customer trust and working for the benefit of the customer in terms of providing solutions according to his requirements rather than thrusting upon him what the company has, trumps every other factor in getting the business”. Ashwani adds, “We listen to the customer carefully, and based on their needs and requirements, develop products and services, as every customer has different needs. It is unfair to blanket similar services and products to every customer. We believe in tailor-making training, products & technical support.”

“There are numerous examples, where we have developed or changed products for the customer. Companies that do not invest in continuous R&D will find it very difficult to survive, as the goal post keeps on changing,” Jaber concurred.

Training and support

Midchem Speciality puts great emphasis on training and support to the customer. Jaber informs, “No matter how good a product or how excellent the plant design, if the product is not used properly, one will not get the desired results, so training the customer in terms of how to use the product is vital to the success of our products and hence the business”. Ashwani adds, “Dedicated test kits are developed to ensure optimized usage of products resulting in cost effectiveness”.

Apart from product training, Midchem undertakes regular training at customer sites, which comprises chemical training in terms of making the end user aware of why a particular chemical is used, chemical handling training, and process plant training enabling the operators to understand the purpose of different equipment used in the industry. Midchem also undertakes different hygiene training programmes through municipality-approved companies.

Industry knowledge

Jaber explains, “Although the cleaning principle of any application is similar, e.g. organic soiling needs alkaline medium and inorganic needs acidic, the processing plants design plays a vital role in establishing good cleaning results. To meet this challenge, our sales force requires thorough awareness of not only the products they are selling but also an in-depth knowledge of the industrial processes and equipment involved. There have been many incidences where we have had to recommend the modification of the physical process to facilitate better cleaning.

In this instance, cleaning products remained the same but the cleaning results were much better. Customers value this approach, and we gain valuable trust.” Ashwani avers, “A consultancybased approach is appreciated much more by the customer compared to the one where you only supply the products.”

Industry challenges

One of the biggest challenges for any company in this competitive market is gaining trust of the customer in providing them with cost-effective, innovative solutions to meet their hygiene needs. Midchem Speciality with their reputation of providing their customer with unstinted support over the past 15 years stands tall in this area. Jaber explains, “Trust is not earned in a day. You need to demonstrate this day in, day out over a period of time. You need to be seen as helping the customer and only then earn that respect and trust, which is needed for the sustainability of the business. Getting business may be easy, but sustaining it over a period of time like we have with most of our customers - in some cases for 15 years - does reflect the trust of the customer that we have built.”

Future plans

Ashwani says, “We plan to expand geographically. Traditionally, we have been in the GCC and partly in the Middle East countries. We are looking at other markets in Asia where there is so much potential.” Jaber confirms, “We have an advantage in that we are in an area with huge potential. All around us are countries with a huge population and growth potential. The world’s economic activity is moving back to Asia, and we are already here. We are currently drawing up ambitious plans to slowly but surely take advantage of the world around us.”

For more information, visit: www.midchem-uk.com

CLIENT TESTIMONIAL

CLIENT: NATIONAL DAIRY & AL MASAKEN DAIRY

Midchem has been supplying its products to both Masaken Dairy and National Dairy in Al Ain for the past 13 years. Masaken Dairy milks about 700 cows and National Dairy milks about 1,300 cows daily. Both dairies have grown to be amongst the best commercial dairy farms in the country. Their customers include Al Ain Dairy, Al Marai and DIGDAGA Dairy. Both farms hold ISO 22000:2005 Food Safety Management System Certifications and ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management System Certification. The dairies also hold Grade A status under Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority and pride themselves on their quality parameters. According to Gerald Kiernan, General Manager, National Dairy Farm and Masakin Dairy Farm, “Our milk has one of the lowest bacterial counts in the country. In fact, our customer complaint rate is quite low, and if a customer does complain, we react very promptly.” He continues to expand on the cleaning and hygiene requirements and the support Midchem Specialty has offered over the 13-year partnership.

Cleaning requirements

Specific cleaning requirements in any dairy farm involve bio security measures, cow environment hygiene, milking parlor hygiene, cow hygiene, personnel hygiene and CIP (cleaning in place) processes apart from all the general cleaning activities. Much care is taken to keep the cows and their yards clean. Before the milking starts, the cows’ teats are cleaned using automatic brushes with a peracetic acid-based product to sanitise the teats. They are then dried with C -fold paper, milked and sanitised with iodine-based teat dips. The process is quite costly but extremely effective. One of the biggest challenges in farming is mastitis – and we can’t completely eliminate it, but we have to minimise it since it has a negative impact on the business. Hence, the high quality teat dip has proven to be effective.

Over the years, we have worked with Midchem to reduce our occurrences of mastitis – nevertheless, the research is ongoing and may continue for a while because we keep moving the goalposts, which maybe frustrating for some, but that’s the way we have to operate to remain in the business. Even where we may be satisfied with something today, it may not necessarily be acceptable in 6 months’ time or even a year.”

On working with Midchem Speciality

Our partnership goes back to the very first week I joined National and Masaken 13 years ago and we had a client complaint. At that time, I was convinced the problem was the chemical related. Midchem Specialityresponded positively and constructively to my demands and to the pressure I was putting on them. Consequently, solutions were found, and I knew that we would work well together. We like working with Midchem Specialty because we consider them to be part of the solution to any problem regarding cleaning and hygiene.

We are happy with the hygiene solutions, and we are also aware that eventually they will change, and we will come back to Midchem and tell them that we need to reevaluate the way we work. We are extremely demanding and need suppliers willing to adhere to our demands. We like suppliers who act on everything we request in our pursuit for perfection. We also expect our suppliers to respond immediately. Midchem Speciality has had a great reputation of consistently meeting our demands and as long as they continue to make an effort in supporting and assisting us, we will continue to build our relationship with them.