Today we welcome a special guest amongst us in person of Wajeehuddin Ahmed. Wajeeh Ahmed as he is popularly called is currently the Senior Vice President, SVP – Commercial, and is in charge of the entire Shipping and Logistics line of business for Texture Holding & Investment Group globally. Wajeeh, a specialist in versatile shipping and forwarding, holds a Post-Graduation Degree in Supply Chain Management which he acquired from Birmingham City University, United Kingdom. Along with a post-graduation degree in Supply Chain Management, Wajeeh also holds a degree in Sales and Marketing and has procurement experience. With years gone by, he has become one of the leading professionals in Supply Chain and Logistics Entrepreneur acquiring over 17 years of experience in comprehensive supply chain management. He gained this Logistics Entrepreneur skills and experience working for various multinational 3PLs with a proven track record filled with successful projects and excellent recommendations.
Before coming to U.K., this Logistics Entrepreneur had worked in Maersk Logistics for 3 years and traveled extensively in Asia to develop his passion towards supply chain and logistics. He then worked in Kuehne Nagel before joining APL Logistics. He has also worked and executed various projects across numerous continent including Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America. We asked Wajeeh a series of 18 questions ranging from trivial to thoughtful in an effort to provide a better insight into the creative mind of this innovative and interesting Supply Chain Professional. What follows is an edited version of the interview:
- What made you take the leap into entrepreneurship?
As a Logistics Entrepreneur, I always wanted to provide innovative ideas but never were those ideas worth millions. It is all about taking the right opportunity at the right time and at the right place. Who does not want to make money for himself with 100% of your own efforts and ideas. My vision is still and will always be to look out of the box and look further ahead of where anyone’s vision ends. Simply, I believe in making pillars for people to benefit from those organizations (pillars).
- What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
My major hurdle was to convince my own immediate surrounding that I can be a Logistics Entrepreneur and I can be on my own in this challenging and competitive world. Secondly, my business idea was the most challenging to build in the Middle East. But due to the very convenient processes in Dubai, I was able to find a way around every problem.
- Did you ever deal with contentions from your family concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits? How did you go about it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
That is a very good question. The impact of this could be very risky for whoever tries to be a Logistics Entrepreneur. Like I said above, this requires personal effort and inner strength to achieve this. Every individual I knew wanted to work for a multinational global company with high perks and enjoy the life with lot of savings as backup. I handled this in a very simple way. During these times, I usually motivate myself by saying whatever I am doing now, will be for my coming generations to reap the fruits and carry on developing something. That is why we can have people say this is a 100-year-old company built with high passion and energy.
- What was your business’ original mission? How has that mission evolved over time since inception?
My business mission was to become part of the top 5 global freight forwarder in the world, where we offer excellent services to our customers. It has really evolved in an excellent way to an extent where I am able to provide prompt responses and providing the right solutions to all customers. I can assure you that every customer handled through us is handled with extra care.
- How did you expand your business in UAE and what is your explain plan in UK?
UAE is the hub of all major businesses and it is also the hub of import and re-export. UAE also functions as the major hub for sea-air movements. Knowing the UAE as a country so well, I was able to target customers who were exporting and importing regularly. With the development of Dubai Investment Parks, FreeZones, Dubai World Central (DWC), and Expo 2020 one has to remind himself that the presence of logistics company will be the exponential need. Presently, UAE is also the regional hub for many corporations in the EMEA regions. UK and US expansions will give me that competitive edge. My plan is to start-up in a similar way.
- Did you have major competitors when you started, how did you plan to compete with them, and how did that plan play out?
As a Logistics Entrepreneur, I never thought that they were competitors. I always thought they are my partners as Logistics Entrepreneur and whoever renders the best services will get the contract. Companies need to follow their vision and mission and keep reminding themselves that they are here for business and not to compete. They should also plan to overtake by offering premium services.
- What do you look for in an employee?
I always look for an employee, whether he or she, who will take care of every customer very personally.
- How did you build a customer culture around your services?
It was simply how I treat my employees. They would all understand how I want my customers to be treated in the same way.
- How did you decide to start logistics business?
My passion in supply chain and a career as a Logistics Entrepreneur made me end up doing this business. I always inspire individuals like you who have so much enthusiasm in this field that can benefit me as well.
- What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business’ success?
Never give up in your struggle. Always remember success will come when you put in your sincere hard work.
- What is the biggest mistake you have made as a Logistics Entrepreneur?
I should have become a Logistics Entrepreneur at the age of 10.
- What has been your greatest moment of success?
When my customer said to me, “Wajeeh, can I come to you anytime anywhere with any problem, I know you will solve it”.
- What do you do to recharge when you are feeling drained?
I think of the struggles I faced during my first days and when I was preparing for my business plan.
- How do you approach marketing your business?
My approach is through social media and the word of mouth.
- How do you believe evolving technology will impact the way we do business over the next 10 years?
I think in less than 5 years everything will be done through technological use. The only but is without human involvement it would not be possible knowing the expectation of services required by customers.
- What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as a Logistics Entrepreneur?
Logistics Entrepreneur is a process of learning new things everyday and with experience, any person will learn. Nobody can train a Logistics Entrepreneur and nobody can know anything in advance.
- What is the most unpopular opinion you have on entrepreneurship?
I always had a positive view of entrepreneurship.
- What are some strategies that you would recommend for making the best use of one’s time?
Some of the strategies I have employed over the years, that has worked for me includes.
- Always provide solutions
- Focus on vision and mission statement
- No compromise on services
- Treat employees as your own family
- Try to convince the customer that we are here for 100 years.
Becoming a top logistics entrepreneur certainly, entails a lot. To become one, you need to make a lot of sacrifices and like Napoleon Hill said “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.” all your dreams can become a reality but certainly through hard work and dedication. We can always learn a thing or two from Wajeehuddin Ahmed and I am sure, you have learnt something new today. So dream big, and strive harder!!