An exclusive discussion with Kamran Nishat
Tell us about your journey?
It was overall a wonderful and exciting journey; I have graduated from Faisalabad and moved to Karachi in 1980. Since then based in Karachi. By profession, I am a Chartered Accountant, and got an opportunity to work for many organizations.
Formally started my professional career with Al-Ghazi Tractors from 1984, it was the first venture of public private partnership, I was leading Finance Function. Later I joined the textile industry and switched my field from Finance to General Management, worked for almost 8 years with Pakistan’s largest and most progressive industry of the times, got an opportunity to learn a lot. Worked for a couple of years for Fertilizer Industry, did two financial consultancy with Sidat Hyder Morshed Associates. In 1999 joined M&P as Head of Finance, I had also given IT Portfolio, Operations and finally in 2005 leading the company as CEO.
Were you ambitious from the beginning to lead the organization?
Well, I had always worked on assigned projects with focus and dedication, which have led to me other opportunities, and so on with a bit of luck and enjoying doing the work, I had made my way.
Tell us about your vision?
Alhamdulillah M&P is a high integrity company, where the company is always led by a guiding principle of fare share, doing the right thing in the right way at every level of its operations. We always had priorities and focus to make things easier for our stakeholders. When I got the opportunity to lead the company, at that time the company’s top line was around 5 billion where in coming December we are eying to close it around 150 billion. But the journey is not all about financial worth, the most important thing for me is the trust vested in me by board members and other key stakeholders.
Individually and at organizational level profit has never been our first priority, our focus has always remained on creating a positive impact on the industry in which we are operating, creating more opportunities for the people in terms of employment and development. We had started our journey at M&P with 1200 staffed organizations and now we have almost 8000 employees.
We are operating in four major business segments including pharma, consumer products, Telecommunications (Mobile Devices & Laptops) and hospital devices. We almost made 30 thousand deliveries per day across more than 2000 towns in Pakistan. I am proud while quoting these phenomenal figures as this is all due to the contribution of each employee who made it possible. Our credibility is our competitive advantage.
One thing we practice in our company quite regularly and that is brainstorming on what we can do, through innovation and creativity. We are among those few companies, who introduced its own delivery system, since 1984 we have started using computerized invoices.
Three years back looking at the business landscape and importance of Ecommerce and Digital payments, we had acquired a logistic company, and Alhamdulillah we had successfully strengthened our position in the market. Our vision is to be the leader in last mile delivery and digital payment set up in the market. We are also planning to introduce innovative and creative payment solutions in the market. We are working in close collaboration with three key players Jazz Cash, Easypaisa, and Omni to introduce a new segment called Digital Wallet.
Like many other businesses in Pakistan, Covid 19 Pandemic was a great challenge for our organization. Our team has quickly responded to the situation and swiftly made a B2B app, which is working in more than 39000 shops and stores within Pakistan. We immediately deployed our 360-degree call center to cater increasing needs of our valued customers with minimized human interaction. We made deliveries in far-flung and outskirts areas of Pakistan, where others may not dare to reach. We do business with a service mindset that is our core value.
Even during Sawat Operation, there was a lockdown in the area, and our teams are dedicated enough to reach and distribute medicines to the area while the lockdown is removed for a short duration, displaying strong commitment to our cause and that is to make things easier for our stakeholders. Local teams were planning the whole thing by themselves locally.
Challenges face during Covid-19
The greatest challenge for us during COVID-19 pandemic was to continue our services without interruption. Luckily we were prepared for it and our preparation worked in our favor and enabled us to respond swiftly to crisis. Our employees, especially youth played a major contribution in our sustainable performance even during COvid-19. (25:05 min)
Another major challenge for us was shortage of supplies as most of the suppliers were from foreign. We worked out our strategy to keep our supplies uninterrupted, it was difficult for us as we are physically operating in more than 114 places in the country, while 250 sites for our logistics and courier wing.
Beside diverse and huge product portfolio we were successful to sustain our distributions and reach out to our target segment even during covid 19 pandemic. Beside, we have signed two to three new brands during this tenure, we have signed with ITel and Techno, two mobile brands from telecommunications industry.
Answering a question about potential in the Ecommerce industry in Pakistan, Mr. Kamran is of the view that there is huge potential in Pakistan. Honestly I witness many talented young entrepreneurs coming up with unique and innovative ideas that surprise me even more. Consumer behavior has also changed in the country and now more inclined or friendly towards Ecommerce & Technology, especially online media. If the government provides a conducive environment, I strongly believe that the stage is all set for the Ecommerce industry to witness further exceptional and exponential growth. For businesses like ours, persistence and long term government policies plays an important role.
Currently we are involved in any CPEC related project, however, we are doing our preparations to benefit from this great opportunity and revenue stream.
I believe, Leadership is all about empowering and enabling people. Though we are an international company, our corporate structure empowers our local teams when it comes to business strategy and operational decision-making. When you empower someone, he will take responsibility for his role and put extra effort in it to add value beside a few exceptions.
Handling Difficult Times
Indeed there are times when situations get difficult to manage; I have also faced such situations many times during my leadership. There was a time when we were migrating our core system to oracle and after putting every bit of team effort in it for more than 1 and half years, we were unable to run it successfully.
That was indeed a difficult time for the team and for me as a leader as well. Later on, we have changed our strategy and allocated our resources accordingly and finally Alhamdulillah once again our valued staff made it with their unpresented dedication and drive, within record time of one month.
Advice to small business
My advice to all young professionals is to do what they love and enjoy doing, this is the first step to listen to their heart. Secondly, they must keep their focus right and plan for the long term. There is no easy way or quick way/shortcuts to success. Third advice will be to never lose hope, be determined until you make your dreams come true. Never compromise your values; I am proud that at a personal level and at an organizational level, we had never compromised on our values and principles.
I remember, we had a medical wing consisting of 300 staff that was working on a particular project for a client and all of sudden due to merger, we lost that client. We have 300 staff members who were about to let go and I am concerned about them as a CEO and I approached the board and we both agreed to retain them for as long as we can, and we kept our staff retained without any business for almost three to four month, that was difficult times for us as management, but Alhamdulillah, we were lucky enough to get another client with almost double business and our that particular staff did their best to grow that business from their onward tremendously. So sometimes though it is tough to stick to your values but believe me it always pays off.
MESSAGE TO YOUNG TALENT
I sincerely believe that our younger generation is more talented than we are, more exposed and have more exposure. The need to focus on their faith and prayers of their parents. Luck favors the prepared ones. I don’t believe one excuse that we didn’t achieve that due to lack of resources, when there is a will to do something, even resources never matter. Nothing can stop you….