Hudson ... attracting and retaining competent people

Having grown and preserved an outstanding reputation since opening 40 years ago, Al Yusr Industrial Contracting Company founders recognised the potential benefits of expansion and decided to move in that direction

Al Yusr Industrial Contracting Company (AYTB), a Saudi integrated group providing a range of services and solutions to oil and gas, petrochemical, power generation and other major industrial sectors of Saudi Arabia, has registered a consistent growth over the past two years and plans to maintain the same or even better it in the coming years.

"We are constantly looking to better ourselves from the year before. Our motto is, ‘we will only survive by measurable improvement,’ something that only comes about when we have properly planned and executed initiatives. At AYTB we never stop learning," says AYTB CEO Kevin Hudson.

One of few Saudi companies to survive intact the oil price shock, AYTB’s biggest triumph has been taking its time to establish its core competencies. "We haven’t tried to swallow the elephant in one bite. It is an ongoing evolution of the brand rather than a revolution. We are starting on a smaller scale and incrementally growing our ability to do things on a larger scale. For example, we’ve done operational maintenance with Sabic for 30 years – now we are taking this experience and moving it into other industry sectors, as well as growing the products we offer," says Hudson.

Hudson firmly believes that at the core of the brand’s success is its employees. With a team of more than 5,000, AYTB has nurtured this workforce as one big family – all treated equally and valued independently.

He says: "We get out and actually talk to people so that our employees know that they have a say in the way the company is run."

Its methods have proven popular with the workforce and consequently AYTB has a high staff retention rate and is a brand that they are proud to be associated with. However, not only does AYTB value its people, it acknowledges the responsibility it has as a company to safeguard the wellbeing of its team and how difficult it can be to procure top talent.

Hudson says: "Attracting and retaining competent people is a continuous battle, one that will be ongoing long after I have gone. We were able to grow when the oil price was down while other companies were struggling thanks to our commendable reputation of quality, safety and dependability. We are honest we will always get the job done. I know those values seem a little old fashioned now but being dependable isn’t a bad thing, this is a reputation we will continue to cultivate."

AYTB looks to share these values with its suppliers. From construction and manufacturing to housing and catering, the diversity of the company sees AYTB working with an eclectic group of suppliers. "We rely on our suppliers just as much as our clients rely on us," says Hudson, "so we are trying to create a much more partner-orientated environment. The hope for the future is to forge close partnerships with fewer suppliers based on longer contracts and price stability."

AYTB started operations in 1979 as a modest operational maintenance service for the newly established petrochemical industry in Jubail and Yanbu but today the brand has diversified to provide solutions across the board, from construction, manufacturing, industrial services, operation and maintenance to housing and catering, AYTB is a provider who will get the job done.

Having grown and preserved an outstanding reputation since opening 40 years ago, AYTB founders recognised the potential benefits of expansion and decided to make the move. With quality integral to the success of AYTB, the company aimed to capitalise on its existing talent and grow from the inside out.

To kick-start this expansion, AYTB began to spread into different fields. Originally confined to servicing solutions within the construction and oil industry, the business grew into the housing and catering industry. Despite a successful expansion, these new ventures lacked both structure and strategy that threatened the quality of the services at hand.

Former managing director of MIS in Dubai, Kevin John Hudson was appointed AYTB CEO by the Board of AYTB shareholders in 2016 and has been leading a thriving unit ever since.

Hudson, along with the vice president of the Construction and Fabrication department, Peter T Williams, has created a clear strategic plan and method of execution.

"We use a balanced scorecard," says Hudson. "If you walk into AYTB now you’ll see a visible strategy map in the offices. We give rewards and have a bonus system for the people achieving their objectives on the scorecard. We have a framework for management on how to improve on things we do. This has been my main objective; I spend a lot of my week having meetings on how we can keep improving and bettering ourselves as a company."

Indeed, the many hours spent finding ways of fine-tuning the existing methods is reaping benefits for the business.

AYTB focuses on Saudi Vision 2030 which is pulling the manufacturing assembly into the kingdom, providing AYTB with many opportunities. The firm sees the industry is growing strong in Saudi Arabia and AYTB is and will continue to be a part of it.

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