The Gulf region has seen unprecedented change and development over the last 4 decades, with the growth in construction activity leading for constant demand for air conditioning. That has been good news for Sharjah-based SKM Air Conditioning LLC, one of the region’s leading manufacturers of HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) equipment.
Whilst competition has of course intensified due to demand, SKM can call upon a wealth of experience and local knowledge, acquired over 41 years.
On and off, for the past 37 years Nabil Abouseido, Marketing & Business Development Director, has worked with the private, Kuwaiti-owned group that owns SKM Air Conditioning:
“The company has been through many changes down the years and we started out with standard products and designs and have diversified, with the arrival of international companies in the 1980s and the addition of new facilities.
“Today SKM is a leading manufacturer of air conditioning equipment from between 1 ton and 5 tons for a diverse range of clients, including residential, commercial, industrial and oil and gas,” he describes.
The company website describes how the business has evolved – and how it has had to adapt to maintain the highest international quality standards:
“It was founded with a single-minded objective; to meet the growing needs of indoor environment quality in some of the world’s harshest climates. Driven by its mission “Total Customer Satisfaction”, SKM offers a broad portfolio of premium international quality products that have worked efficiently in various geographic locations. SKM has provided solutions for many blue chip projects for the companies, organizations and government agencies across the region.
“SKM is the proud winner of Sharjah Economic Excellence Award in the Gold category; it is also recipient of ISO 9001:2008, ISO 14001:2004 and OHSAS 18001:2007 certifications. Additionally its products are certified by internationally recognized testing and certification bodies such as Eurovent certified Air Handling Units (MAH Series), AHRI Certified Air Cooled Chilling package APCY series, AHRI Certified – Chilled Water / Hot Water Coils, TÜV certified Hygienic Air Handling Units and Packaged Air Conditioners (PAC-L Series).”
Abouseido says that regulations help to shape the products and manufacturing processes, but also cause plenty of red tape, due to the differing laws in each country:
“There is always tough competition in the market and each year a new raft of regulations seem to be brought in. We export to most GCC countries and all have their own regulations which can be challenging sometimes, although there is a promise that by 2017 there will be uniformity across countries.
“We follow local regulations but the products we make tend to follow global standards and we are renowned for following new initiatives within the industry,” he affirms.
Whilst market share varies from country to country, SKM’s reputation has been firmly cemented for many years thanks to its high quality approach and local knowledge.
Overall the company employs 1,200 people and has a strong commitment to training, both in-house and through external trainers from supplier companies or consultancy firms, which is essential to maintain quality standards but also to provide the expertise needed for a dedicated aftermarket team, providing maintenance and repair works when needed.
Such work is crucial to maintaining strong customer loyalty and according to Abouseido, the aftersales department is set to expand into a full facility management company in the year ahead.
The company’s two facilities (located in Sharjah and Saudi Arabia) receive constant investment to maintain efficiency and improve productivity.
The Sharjah facility is located at Industrial Area 13, and comprises of a 43,000 square metre factory, making it one of the largest air conditioned facilities of its kind in the entire Gulf region.
“We moved to this site in 2003 and operate 5 or 6 lines, with the flexibility to change product quickly,” states Abouseido. “We manufacture a variety of standard and bespoke products for our clients,” he continues.
The facility is equipped with the latest technology and most advanced machinery to produce air conditioning equipment that best serves the market needs.
Continuing with its expansion program to cater every corner of the region, SKM established another HVAC factory as a scaled down version of Sharjah facility in the 2nd industrial City in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, in 2002.
Another important element to SKM Air Conditioning’s success has been its dedication to Research and Development.
“We do have a dedicated team and laboratory to do tests. The SKM Laboratory is primarily dedicated to Research and Development of SKM product lines to further strengthen its quality and to contribute in solving Heating, Ventilating, and Air-conditioning industry issues.
“It also offers a comprehensive range of performance tests for SKM customers, other air-conditioning equipment manufacturers and any other interested parties.
SKM Laboratory testing procedures are based on AMCA, ASHRAE and AHRI standards which cover operating performance, cooling and heating capacity, energy consumption and air flow rate, whichever is applicable,” Abouseido describes.
SKM’s commitment has brought it tremendous success of late, as Abouseido explains:
“We have enjoyed a very nice jump in 2015, with growth of 28-29 per cent. We are dominant in some of the EPC markets in the region and we have a very strong engineering team which has helped us to secure projects.
“The development of the region shows no signs of slowing down at present and we can see further growth over the next 5-10 years.
“Demand remains high and we are currently at full capacity and will be looking to expand more in 20178, with Qatar a possible location for a new facility, given its diversity and proximity to other markets. In the meantime, we are also looking at a study into the feasibility of further expansion to our Sharjah facilities in 2018.”
Abouseido suggests that SKM Air Conditioning has overcome commercial perceptions to become one of the strongest brands in the Middle East:
“Some local customers like the international brands but we have proved ourselves and we overcame those concerns a long time ago.
“2015 was a wonderful year for us and I hope that we can continue this progression. There is always room for improvement,” he concludes.