PAPER MIDDLEAST magazine interviews Fouad Khalil, UNIPAKNILE General Manager, in the Autumn-Winter 2013 issue of the quarterly paper industry magazine. Khalil introduced UNIPAKNILE, corrugated packaging manufacturer in Egypt, highlighting sustainability, target markets, and sister companies.
During the interview, Khalil shared his professional journey and factors he believes contribute to organizational success, as well as how to cope with different cultures. Khalil leveraged on his experience and expertise in the corrugated packaging industry to provide insight into Egyptian market, as well as discuss industry problems, possible solutions, and the future of corrugated board.
Read the full English interview below.
Sourced from PAPER MIDDLEAST Magazine – Autumn-Winter 2013 Issue
An eye on Unipak Nile company through the General Manager Fouad Khalil
With a background in Industrial Business to holding different managerial positions in the organizational ladder, Fouad Khalil General Manager of Unipak Nile – Egypt, a unique character and down to earth personality with a strong expertise in Human Resources and a clear and optimistic vision on the employee development.
Mr. Khalil believes that factors such as honesty, teamwork, a positive attitude, synergy, hard work, and delegation bring “success”.
These values are deep rooted in the philosophy of the INDEVCO Group Founder and Former Chairman Mr. Georges Frem whose words gave the basis principles for the group community.
He once said: “what is good for the community is good for our company. What is good for the company, we will strive to do excellently and in a way that enriches the lives of our people…“
In the following pages, we will have the opportunity to get to know more about Mr. Khalil and UNIPAKNILE Company, shedding the light also on the corrugated industry in Egypt.
By Rima Dib
Mr. Khalil first, would you please tell us how did you start your career, and when?
I completed my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration during 1986 from the University of Saint Joseph, Beirut. After graduation, I started working part time while I was preparing my master’s degree. In 1989, I completed my MBA from the same university with specialization in Industrial Business.
And when did you join INDEVCO Group, and what positions did you hold?
During 1989, I joined Unipak S.A.L. as Plant Superintendent; from that point onward, my journey with INDEVCO group began. In 1994, I was promoted to join Easternpak as Production Head, while the company started its operations. In 1999, I was promoted to Production Manager and to Plant Manager in 2003, then to Plant and Administration Manager in 2008. I received the opportunity to become Operations Manager at Easternpak in January 2009, and then was promoted to Deputy General Manager in November. In 2010, I was appointed to General Manger for Easternpak. Now and since September 2013 I hold the position of General Manager at Unipak Nile.
Mr. Khalil, what are the major goals you are trying to achieve at Unipak Nile?
To achieve our IPC (Indevco Paper Containers) strategic goals and Unipak Nile’s growth plan. We continuously try to ensure high standard services in line with customer expectations. Since we are in a multinational environment, we make the effort to adapt to Egypt’s culture, and focus on creating a positive work environment to solidify our brilliant team work and unity.
Since Unipak Nile faces tough competition, our aim is to be efficient through optimizing our resources to differentiate Unipak Nile and ensure market penetration. We aim to supply a wide range of industrial and agricultural packaging solutions, in addition to catering and delivery boxes. We also offer sustainable packaging solutions while adapting the latest technologies. We emphasize on sustaining food safety standards through various certifications. To stay on top of the market, we try to restrict economic and political factors by converting them to opportunities by quickly and positively adapting to change.
Wishing you all the success! Now Mr, Khalil, and since you have held different positions at the organizational ladder, we would like to know about what are the unique factors, in your opinion, that contribute towards organizational success?
I always believe that contributing to organizational excellence is the very basic requirement to grow as successful business and obtain confidence and support. There are unique factors that need to be nurtured and sustained. I believe factors such as honesty, teamwork, a positive attitude, synergy, hard work and delegation bring success. Our INDEVCO values have brought many positive changes and achievements which I have transferred to my team for their understanding and practice. The value factors are vital to anchor organizational performance and sustained teamwork. Once management is committed and focused, steering the organization towards continuing success and progress becomes easier.
You are absolutely right Mr. Khalil! Following your long experience with INDEVCO Group and holding different positions in different countries, how did you succeed in adopting different cultures?
I strongly believe that the understanding of a culture, its people, and its positive aspects, enables us to establish ourselves in both its business and social life. Each country has its own recognized culture that should be respected. Therefore, understanding, practicing, and focusing on cultures with a positive mind-set is important. If these are in line with INDEVCO values, it can help contribute to organizational excellence and employee development.
And now Mr. Khalil, about Unipak Nile, when was it established, and how many employees are presently working with the company?
Unipak Nile was established in 1996 and is one of the market leaders in Egypt, and there are presently 470 employees working with the company.
And what are the current projects at the company?
Since INDEVCO strongly believes in continual improvement, we are always in the process of expansions in line with our business growth and market demand by building new warehouses, upgrades in line with our strategic growth, additional machines in line with market demand, in-house training for our staff and streamlining processes by successfully documenting quality management systems; to ensure efficient interaction between processes.
And who are the sisters companies to Unipak Nile?
UNIPAK Nile is a member of INDEVCO Paper Containers (IPC), a division of INDEVCO Group, operating corrugated packaging manufacturing and converting companies across the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.
The sisters companies are:
Unipak s.a.l in Lebanon, established in 1965
Easternpak Ltd. in Dammam, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, established in 1993
UnipakHellas S.A. in Crete, Greece, established in 2008
UnipakCyprus in Cyprus, established in 2013
Is Unipak Nile friendly to the environment, how?
As part of INDEVCO’s philosophy, UNIPAK Nile is committed to environmental sustainability. We aim to increase awareness in our market, and to contribute to the green evolution by reducing our footprint throughout our production lifecycle, recycling, and increasing the manufacturing of sustainable products.
Then, which markets do you target?
At Unipak Nile we focus on the Egyptian and North African markets, in addition to the European markets within a variety of sectors.
Following your experience in the corrugated industry field, how do you describe the actual status of the corrugated industry in Egypt?
Competition is very strong which forces corrugated industries to be highly innovative and dynamic. The competition is fragmented and intense due to various levels of players (from large to small corrugated companies).
Please tell us about Egypt’s corrugated packaging market
The Egyptian packaging market is dynamic and challenging yet offers corrugated board manufacturers many possibilities of development.
And how is that?
Competition increases challenges and pushes us to be innovative, provide lower costs, and maintain quality of service. The development therefore will be through new designs, use of recycled and virgin paper, and cost savings in production lines.
What is the main handicap to this industry? And what solutions are required?
A main handicap is the shortage of skilled labor and supply of local raw materials. The unstable political situation hampers tourism and therefore; all the industries including the corrugated industry are affected by this turbulence.
How about the future of the corrugated board?
The future of corrugated board in Egypt and the Middle East is very promising, firstly; because of the nature of the raw materials that are eco friendly, and renewable, and, the trend is moving from Europe to our region to use more environmental friendly products, safe for food contact, and lightweight. All forecasts are indicating a market growth!
Mr. Khalil, you have a long experience in this business, therefore; what message do you wish to give to the young people who are getting involved in the corrugated industry business?
I wish to voice the following: be environmentally friendly and promote recycling in order to contribute toward saving our planet.
And what are your future plans?
I aim to engage our teams and direct them towards organizational improvement by building and demonstrating a role model behavior. Employees need a positive mindset culture where they are inspired and motivated.
Away from work Mr. Khalil, how do you spend your free time?
With sports, mainly walking, swimming, and skiing in winter time. On the other hand, I enjoy reading very much.\
And how do you wish to conclude this discussion?
On a professional level, I believe that passion gives commitment and growth; on a personal level, I think one should ensure to integrate physical, mental, social, and spiritual activities. A work-life balance enhances productivity and creates inner peace.
Established in 1996 in Egypt, UNIPAKNILE manufactures a wide array of corrugated board packaging serving the Egyptian, European, Middle Eastern, and North African markets. Unipak Nile. UNIPAKNILE specializes in supplying a wide range of industrial and agricultural solutions, in addition to catering and delivery boxes, and promotional displays. The corrugated packaging manufacturer offers sustainable packaging solutions, from standard post-print to the high-resolution off-set print and pre-print processes, as well as the latest technology of flat die-cutting. Located in the 6th of October City, UNIPAKNILE employs 510 people and is ISO 9001, OHSAS 18001 and HACCP certified.
6th of October City
5th Industrial Area 49
Phone: +20-2-3816 4041/2/3/4/5/7/8
Fax: +20-2-3816 4049