SPECIAL EDITORIAL FEATURE

The Executive Management talks
about building a 50 Year SOLID legacy

Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Shayan Akberali

May 2022

Please brief us about yourself and how has been your experience as the CEO of the company?
I joined Amreli Steels just after the turn of the millennium in 2002 after working in the US for a few years. I started from the floor level as a trainee engineer and had to earn my stripes initially. I was made part of the various ongoing projects and with time and experience, was entrusted to lead new ones.

My joining and subsequent rise in the hierarchy was the tipping point of our company’s transition away from a family-run, private limited business. While the emphasis on technology and innovation was still central, we became equally committed to the idea of inducting professionals who would help evolve our company’s practices and internal processes and contribute to shaping our future. We knew we had to adopt a growth mentality which required embracing modern management principles, decentralizing authority, adhering to the highest levels of corporate governance.

I had assumed a leadership position in the company long before becoming the CEO officially. I saw and experienced some of the toughest and the most rewarding times in the history of Amreli Steels like the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, the closure of Pakistan Steel Mills, our backward integration in 2011, going public in 2015, our forward expansion coming online in 2018 and the recent waves of Covid. I am proud that Amreli Steels as a company demonstrated tremendous resilience to weather through the challenging times and unparalleled excellence to make the most of the opportunities that came our way. I may have been at the helm of the ship but our people played a key role in driving the company forward.

I am proud that we are blessed with one of the best human resource ensemble who are not all part of the sponsor family and are guided by a highly experienced and diverse Board of Directors. Today, my focus may be on the growth of the company through production enhancement, technical development and expanding our sales footprint across Pakistan but my passion is in developing the HR capital of our company.

What are the major challenges confronting the country’s steel sector?
One of the biggest challenges facing large scale steel manufacturers is the lack of a long-term economic game plan and conducive business policies. History has proven that all developing countries at the beginning of their S-curve need investment in infrastructure to push the economy in the growth phase. Our ever-delicate economic situation is barely able to withstand the shocks of the changing geo-political and global economic factors.

As such, we have been facing an ever increasing cost of doing business in a world that demands more competitiveness. In light of this, a well-considered tariff policy is required to ensure the industry keeps growing, providing jobs and much needed revenue.

Most importantly, our institutions that regulate the quality of steel products are very weak. There is a critical lack of implementation of standards by relevant authorities at the manufacturing level which encourages the producers of ungraded rebars and undermine the efforts of branded steel manufacturers. Some noise is only created when a building built from these sub-standard material collapses but it eventually drowns out and does not result in any significant changes. There is also severe lacking in administrative controls which has given way to proliferation of smuggled rebars from Iran in Balochistan and KPK markets.

How do you ensure the quality of your products?
From a product perspective, we have always emphasized on complying 100% with international standards. We always strive to provide the highest levels of consistency in quality parameters in all rebars carrying our brand name. Since we employ the latest generation of automated machinery, there are many built-in quality assurance measures throughout our manufacturing and well-established quality control checks at every stage of the process. For example, temperature sensors across the mill ensure that the steel is always at the optimum temperature for reduction and cooling which affects the end-product’s strength and behaviour. Our manufacturing facilities are also very precise, ensuring that the physical characteristics of our product match international standards. For example, the diameter of all our steel bars are the same across their lengths resulting in uniform strength and flexibility.

We also have the most advanced metallurgic testing laboratory in Pakistan. We are the only steel manufacturer to install an atomic microscope. Our rebars must not only pass the physical tests like bend test but also the chemical analysis. We are one of the only manufacturers in Pakistan to offer product traceability from Raw Material to the finished product.

Overseeing all of these checks, controls and parameters is a separate Quality Control Department that reports directly to me and has complete authority to intervene if there is any deviation from our requirements. This unrelenting focus on quality is our singular biggest competitive advantage.