FEBC: Perfection in procurement

Originally founded in 1989 as a project and cost management consultancy firm, FEBC hit the procurement sector of furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FF&E) in the 1990s with full force.

Obtaining ISO certification in 2015, incorporating ISO 9001, 14001, 28000 and 18001, the company has become the sole provider of ISO certified hospitality procurement services worldwide, enabling it to gain global exposure and a strong edge over competitors. Consequently, FEBC has fully cemented its presence in the MENA region and is now headquartered in Dubai, with regional offices in Treviso and Hong Kong and local offices in Doha, Riyadh, Brunei, Malaysia, and Nigeria.

“Obtaining ISO certification in 2015 has allowed us to bring a lot of accuracy and precision to the work that we do from many different angles; from a supply chain management angle, health and safety management angle, environmental compliance and quality assurance programs,” explains Communications Manager Tarek Dajani.

“This foundation is beneficial to clients, allowing them to have complete trust – whether this is through tracking or by knowing that they are dealing with a company that is completely compliant with ISO standards, the highest standards of any supply chain management company worldwide.”

FEBC has completed a number of projects across the Middle East and Africa, ranging from residential, boutique to five-star hotels. Recent projects, such as for the Oberoi Al Zorah in the UAE, highlight the company’s focus on delivering world-class procurement of FF&E, collaborating with a number of suppliers. Additionally, FEBC is currently working on one of the largest projects in Algeria, the Marriott Bab El Zowar Hotel development, with over 2,300 rooms and 380,000 square meters of built-up area. The project is by far the largest privately funded hospitality development in the whole of Africa.

“I think this corporation is really invaluable for the customer,” comments Stefano Giudici, Regional Director for Europe and Africa. Tarek Dajani supports this further, stating: “We are proud to be working with top operators, such as the Marriott, Starwood, Hilton, Accord, Hyatt, Mandarin Oriental, Kempinski, Oberoi etc… We value the relationships we build with our clients and they repeatedly come back to work with us based on their positive experiences.”

FEBC’s development of in-house procurement software, febcProcure, has enabled clients to gain access to live tracking of all company projects, in an aim to provide complete transparency. Through the software, clients can access log books, documents and see the progress of various projects, as opposed to solely presenting projects which have been completed.

Tarek Dajani explains: “It’s a journey not only for us but for our clients as well. We want to make sure that we are flexible enough to provide clients with the services that they are paying for, and not just be a company that buys, sells and procures furniture. That’s why we view ourselves as procurement consultants.”

With this approach, FEBC repeatedly meets with clients wherever they are located, irrespective of other ongoing projects. Tarek Dajani adds: “Whether it’s small touches like gifts during Ramadan or Eid or a simple catch up over dinner, we always make sure that we strengthen the bond because we view our relationships with clients as more of a partnership.

“Trust is a very important value that we hold, and we work and live by our values – whether that’s how we treat our own staff, or when we communicate with our clients. It’s all founded on trust, strong relationships and dependability as a company, precision, accuracy – these are a lot of the values that we hold.”

Cost savings

These values filter into FEBC’s strict processes, with the implementation of value engineering. Giudici explains: “We undertake value engineering with the customer and work together to find solutions, and where we can find potential savings. For example, we are in discussions surrounding a new project in Sweden. The design has been completed by the architect, and we are now working with the customer to find a way to make this project a reality.”

FEBC places an increased focus on not only remaining competitive but to repeatedly add value for its clients. Whilst an expensive fabric is often selected, for example, FEBC will offer the same or an alternative product, which will achieve the same result, with a firm focus on retaining and respecting quality. “Our first point is respecting the quality and the price for our customer,” adds Giudici. “It is very important to make our customer satisfied, and to expect the quality requested within the project.”

“We don’t aim for satisfaction – we aim for perfection,” adds Tarek Dajani. “In aiming for perfection and excellence, we then constantly tend to meet the client’s requirements. Every client has their own unique understanding and representation of what quality means to their hotel and brand. We always try to match the quality on day one from there, to the finished product.”

In deliberately cutting out the middle men, FEBC now goes directly to suppliers and manufacturers to not only guarantee cost savings but ensure ongoing positive relationships.

Although suppliers continue to remain an important focus, Chief Executive Officer Imad Dajani explains that it is essential for the business to “remain aware of supplier performance, experience, the type of level pricing and supplier flexibility, in order to not only add value but also to offer the right price and performance accordingly”. With this in mind, alongside the implementation of febcProcure and use of value engineering, the company is continually able to build a strong base of manufacturers and suppliers worldwide.

Additionally, to support clients further, FEBC also adopts a payment by performance approach, giving it a competitive edge within the procurement sector in the region. Tarek Dajani adds: “The more projects we have taken on board and the operators that we’ve worked with, the more we understand what our clients’ needs are. We learn their needs, we build a strategy and we drive the process, understanding what our core clients and customers require.”

Future growth

Whilst FEBC continually works to improve its service, Imad Dajani highlights that the company is seeing a number of challenges. With clients becoming increasingly cost conscious, the company is also seeing increased delays in regards to payments and released monies, creating project delays. “I think it is a combination of financial worries about the current political position around the world,” he says. “In certain areas, we are encountering substantial order delays and putting projects on hold. However, other areas are warming up – for example, in Africa there is a lot going on.”

With this in mind, FEBC aims to expand its operations in India and ex-Soviet Union areas, such as Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and surrounding areas. Furthermore, FEBC places great importance on expanding in Europe and developing its current footprint within London. “We want to expand our operations and become a real leader in the European Market over the next 10 years,” concludes Tarek Dajani. “We have set our vision really very high and this is our goal – we want to continue developing our operations worldwide, increase our local presence globally, and continue to innovate our service and operation.”

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By Catherine Rowell – SupplyChain Digital