Tell our readers about Shan Foods (Pvt.) Ltd. that you joined in July, 2007.
FAISAL MUBIN GANATRA: The journey of Shan’s remarkable success starts from 1981, when the dream of one man became a reality. A visionary entrepreneur, an avowed humanist and a committed philanthropist, Shan Foods (Pvt.) Limited CEO Muhammad Sikander Sultan, helped pave the way to success by pioneering in the spice business. “We are one of the most reputed food company and a powerful global brand with presence in more than 63 countries across 5 continents.”
Shan Foods has been governed by its core values. They shape the culture and define the character of Shan, forming the foundation on which its employees perform and make decisions. Long term thinking, integrity, mutual respect, pragmatism, openness to diversity, passion for quality and delighting consumers in accordance to the Islamic laws remain at the core of our company culture.”
“By the grace of Almighty Allah, our Islamic culture and value remain our single most important competitive advantage”.
Company’s vision is to become a global food company offering premium quality innovative products which delight our consumers. “We are determined to reach every kitchen by diversifying into growing food categories through innovative, healthy and safe products for the ultimate delight of our consumers”,
Shan Foods is committed to producing top quality products. To do so, we pay a higher price compared with our competitors for premium raw materials. We are also the only second company in the Asia Pacific region that uses Cryogenic Technology to preserve the taste, texture and aroma in order to ensure our spices & foods are bacteria-free. Finally, we use food-grade nitrogen & aluminum foil packaging to preserve freshness and quality (V Lock Freshness). Our dedication to producing the highest standard products and our belief in long-term mutually beneficial relationships means we are happy making nominal profits: that is a key reason for our survival and prosperity.
In 2006, our CEO Mr. Sikandar Sultan and BOD’s decided to induct a professional team for the survival of brand, sustainable growth and transformation into a corporate company. When I joined Shan Foods, it was being run as a sole proprietorship, but we had a plan that by January 2008 we would start business as a Private Limited concern which I have been responsible for. I started as Chief Financial Officer and have been heading business operations for the last 1.5 years.
Today, Shan is Pakistan leading Food Company with its products being appreciated globally and continues to introduce new products that better cater to the changing needs of the consumers. In order to take advantage of growth opportunities, Shan has now enhanced its production capacity even further with the manufacturing units installed in United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia and United Kingdom.
PAKISTAN TODAY: What difference did the induction of professionals make? What is the secret of Shan Foods success?
FAISAL MUBIN GANATRA: Shan has been growing since it was founded but the professional team that was added to the company in 2006 has had a huge impact on the company practices. By implementing a new set of procedures and cultivating a new corporate environment, Shan has become an increasingly transparent company with proper systems in place and a culture respect, trust, transparency and sharing information at all levels of management. This change has reaped benefits in 2011-12, our turnover was double what we made in 2009-10. The secret of our success lies in the upholding of our values & the belief that change comes from the top.
We abide by Shariah Laws and we always try to groom and guide our employees to succeed in both of the world. To do so, it is important to understand that apart from our individual relationships with Allah, everything else is fleeting.
PAKISTAN TODAY: How do you compare Human Resources here & aboard? What incentives do you give to your employees?
FAISAL MUBIN GANATRA: Pakistanis are highly intelligent & that is why they fill senior posts all over the world. But each country and each company within the country breeds a different environment which is responsible for how people behave. Shan Foods and other multinational companies are maintained by creative thinkers that flourish. But similar people in companies that are not as organized are not as productive as they could be. At Shan Foods, we place respect and trust in our employees and get the best out of them in return as our successes show. Shan’s atmosphere empowers employees who are paid the kind of salaries offered in a multinational company. Shan’s dynamic nature and ambitious vision also encourage and motivate employees to give their best.
Q: Shan products are exported to sixty countries in four continents, where your products are sold the most?
FAISAL MUBIN GANATRA: 60% of our products are consumed locally whilst the rest is exported. North America contributes to 45 % of our international business whilst 15% goes to GCC, 15% to UK/Europe & the rest goes to the other parts of the world.
PAKISTAN TODAY: Tell our readers about various Shan products? From where do you acquire premium quality raw material?
FAISAL MUBIN GANATRA: We acquire our raw materials from predominantly Pakistani growers but also import some ingredients from abroad. We acquire from different sources because we are devoted to using the best tasting and highest products.
We are in 8 categories: the biggest one is recipe mixes (including Nihari, Qorma, Paya, Haleem, Bombay/Sindhi Biryani & Pulao). Secondly, we have plain spices (like coriander, chilies, turmeric, blackpepper & garam masala);
Thirdly, we have a range of pickles (such as mix mango, garlic, lemon & chili). Fourthly, we have refined, iodized & pink salt which contain 84 different minerals. Fifthly, we have chutneys (such as plum, ginger/mango). Sixthly we make pastes (i.e. garlic and ginger). Seventhly, we produce traditional desserts (like Sheerkhurma, rasmalai, kheer, badaamkheer). Last Ramadan, we launched contemporary desserts under new brand called Delve Desserts which includes custard, jelly & pudding. Lastly, we sell Basmati rice which we export to the international market (USA, UK and Europe). We will actually be launching a new product in the month of Ramadan.
PAKISTAN TODAY: How do we know that Shan is delighting its consumers?
FAISAL MUBIN GANATRA: Shan Foods is known for its taste, quality and healthy food solutions because at Shan we believe that customer satisfaction is a step towards achieving our ultimate goal which is customer delight. No stone is left unturned in making our customers feel superior because customers are the sole motive for our existence and motivation behind the continuous innovation happening at Shan. Be it the finest selection of premium quality ingredients, use of state of the art technology or the most modern packaging methods, Shan is a brand which encompasses all. This is the reason why Shan today is one of the most successful and motivational brands while it’s journey is a remarkable inspiration for the business world. By the grace of Allah, Shan today is riding on the waves of success. The company is on a double digit growth trend and it is venturing into new frontiers globally which is all driven by consumer pull for the brand. This is a clear sign of consumer’s trust and confidence on the brand. Winning countless local and international recognition such as the ITQI Award (three consecutive years), Consumer Choice Award (three consecutive years), and Export Performance Award (10 consecutive years) for taste, quality and customer confidence Shan is one brand which the customers have learned to trust with conviction and confidence across the globe.
PAKISTAN TODAY: What does brand ‘Shan’ mean to the consumers? If it were a human being, what kind of a person would Shan be? Does it have a unique identity? Is it relevant and is it authentic?
FAISAL MUBIN GANATRA: Shan embodies the perfect combination of quality, taste and convenience. Shan is a person who is a trustworthy and reliable partner which will never let you down. Shan has a progressive outlook and constantly looks to improve and re-vitalize itself through innovative and most modern product offerings. Shan is young and energetic which sets itself high benchmarks willing to inspire and lead its consumers towards achieving newer heights in quality and taste. This personality can be easily reflected in the customer feedback about the brand Shan based on brand equity studies. Customers refer to Shan as a reliable, trustworthy partner who provides convenience, peace of mind and innovative products.
PAKISTAN TODAY: Will the consumers allow the brand ‘Shan’ the license to extend its appeal beyond masalas?
FAISAL MUBIN GANATRA: Shan’s brand essence is taste. The brand stands for providing the best tasting meals which always delight consumers. Staying within this realm Shan can innovate and expand its product line beyond masalas into other related categories such as basic spices and ingredients, salt and accompaniments. However brand extension does come with its limitations. The extensions shall be backed by heavy consumer research and the resultant products appeal to the consumers’ taste buds as strongly as the existing product portfolio. Therefore it is absolutely vital that brand extensions are carefully planned out and backed by the same degree of detail and perfection that consumers have come to expect from Shan.
PAKISTAN TODAY: Is the organization DNA an identity anywhere close to brand ‘Shan’ identity? Where is the mismatch if any?
FAISAL MUBIN GANATRA: The identity of the organization is in complete conjunction with the identity of Shan.
As an organization Shan stands for winning the trust of its internal and external customers. Shan believes in caring for the community, working with passion, abiding by the rules of Sharia and delighting its consumers. These are the in-built characteristics of Shan’s personality. The consumer confidence on Shan has been built and polished through years of blending expertise, use of modern technology and innovative food solutions which differentiate Shan as an organization from the rest. Shan has always been keen to pre-empt its future needs by putting in place check and balances which enable a smooth passage for the organization even in tough economic conditions. In this context Shan has always been keep to adopt the business growth model for expanding its current facilities, product portfolio and resource base. The single most important identity which Shan stands for is anticipating and exceeding customer expectations. This vision is shared by all employees at Shan who work day in and day out to deliver on this customer promise.
Shan as a brand symbolizes all of the above. It is a caring and reliable friend which believes in progression and innovation. Shan has always capitalized on brand stretch opportunities to expand its portfolio and give customers value for money solutions. Shan complies by all the local and international Halal food laws. The communication that comes out from Shan is always in compliance with cultural and Sharia values that give the brand the recognition and growth it needs to move forward. Keeping with the organization’s identity, Shan believes in giving its customers the quality, depth in product line, most modern packaging and innovative food solutions which is why consumers all around the world say: it is “Just Perfect”
PAKISTAN TODAY: Are you optimistic about the future of business in Pakistan?
FAISAL MUBIN GANATRA: Yes. Pakistan has a population of some 200 million & there is huge potential here. It is very rich as far as agriculture & minerals are concerned. The time has come for honest, sincere & visionary leadership. Business is growing as not only local but multinational companies are investing here. I wanted to become a doctor to serve my country but I am serving my people in my present position too and trying to contribute to the future of this country.