Networking in Dubai

Published:  06 February, 2015

INDUSTRY INTERVIEW After a long career in senior management for some of the world’s largest fire multinationals David Adkins embarked on a new venture two years ago as MD of UK-based Firetec Systems (FSL). During Intersec Dubai he spoke with Jose Sanchez de Muniain about the challenges of expanding into the Middle East.

How has FSL developed since it was started in 2013?

Things are developing as we imagined they would. Our market is mature and whilst the systems we offer can be considered market leading our big challenge is to make FSL appeal to as wide a market as possible. We ensure we are seen as customer-friendly.

Last time we spoke we talked about our plans for the website. We have our website in place now, with a section called ‘My FSL’, which contains everything we said it would. So there is a quotation tool, and every document we produce is downloadable. The site is continuing to evolve, we are looking at how we can put our software there, so customers can’t just produce quotes, but also online designs. At the moment the quotation tool is targeted for our UK and European customers, systems are only priced in sterling or euros. We are releasing an updated version soon which will allow our Middle East customers to benefit. We are adding specific market features such as our UL listed systems and pricing systems in US dollars.

How significant is the Middle East market for FSL?

From the start we have looked to do everything at right pace, building our infrastructure and recruiting a strong industry focused team. I spent 150 days in the Middle East last year, so the business is expanding. Our parent company the Nitin Group has an office here in Dubai, and we use it as hub. We have distributors up and running in Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Egypt and we are ready to go in Dubai. Our focus now is on the important and exciting market of Saudi Arabia. We recently spent a lot of time in Saudi looking to find the right partners. I plan to return this quarter to finalise and we hope to announce our Saudi Arabian partners in the very near future

What kind of gaseous extinguishing systems are you selling the most of in the Middle East?

The Middle East is predominantly a chemical market – FM200/ HFC 227 and Novec 1230. We are leading with our Novec 1230 system, our system is different in that it uses 35 bar pressure rather than the traditional 25 bar. We have four different discharge valves, 1-4 inch, and we have cylinders that go up to 490 litres, we believe our systems give end users more choices and improved performance when compared to conventional 25 bar systems.

How quickly can you turn around a refill order in the Middle East?

Our parent company the Nitin Group has a fill station here, but we try to convince our distributors to take their own.

Why is the market in the Middle East so focussed on chemical rather than inert gases?

It’s historical, for a long time FM 200 was the system to have here. It is very easy to install and it doesn’t require complex piping. On the other hand, each market is different – in Abu Dhabi for example inert gas is favoured.

How are you evolving your distributor networkBui?

For the first time we are organising a two-day training school for all our distributors, at Hilton Al Hamra Golf & Beach Resort in Ras al-Khaimah. We’ll go through all our systems, and we’ll finish with a demonstration for our online tools. We have 25 confirmed people coming from 12 companies, all from the the region. It’s a great opportunity to ensure their competency and for them to learn more about us.

It’s a nice spot, so it could become a regular thing if it all goes well!

About FSL

FSL was launched at the 2013 Firex exhibition in Birmingham, UK, financially backed by Nitin Fire Protection Industries Ltd, a long-standing international fire specialist company with subsidiaries that include New Age Company, Nitin Ventures, and Worthington Nitin Cylinders.

FSL positions itself as the independent option for trade organisations seeking gaseous suppression systems, providing a more flexible, personal service and higher level of customer care.

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