Author - Muhammad Shahid

ARE WE DOING ENOUGH TO REVIVE CONSUMER CONFIDENCE?

A key concern for policy makers and businesses alike is COVID-19’s impact on the economy with regular lockdowns and other measures implemented to curtail the pandemic.  The Economic Survey of Pakistan 2020 reports the provisional GDP growth rate for FY2020 estimated at negative 0.38 percent. The negative performance of both Industry (-2.64%) and Services (-0.59%) is expected to overshadow the growth in the agriculture sector (2.67%). As a leading player in the construction sector, it is worrisome that the provisional growth in the industrial sector was estimated at -2.64 percent mainly due to decline of 7.78 percent in large-scale manufacturing sector. Copper prices sank by more than a quarter from January to mid-March, hitting a low of USD 4,600 per ton when covid-19 spread across China, which accounts for about half of global copper consumption. Recently, efforts to stimulate China’s economy may be paying off. In June, demand for copper in China rose by 5.5% on the year, its biggest jump in over two years. Copper has surged further in July, climbing to around USD 6,500 per ton.  There is a view that rising demand backed by curtailed supply from South America due to COVID related disruptions is driving up the price of copper. While there are several fundamental variables that drive copper prices, industrial demand is certainly a key element.  Is the recent rise in copper predictive of an economic bounce back? The pandemic has given a boost to certain industries globally with food items, medical supplies and e-commerce categories being the leading beneficiaries.  On the other hand, industries related to travel have suffered considerably - United Airlines described the second quarter as the most financially difficult in its 94-year history. Even prior to the impact of COVID, business activity in Pakistan remained slow during the first quarter of FY 2020 amid rapid depreciation of the Rupee, climbing interest rates and debates over energy crisis as the government grappled to come to terms with an IMF driven economic road map. Covid-19 only fueled the fire that erupted months ago.  In January 2020, IPSOS Survey indicated that 79 per cent of the respondents were pessimistic in their outlook for local and national economy. Well before the outbreak, consumers across rural and urban Pakistan grew less comfortable in purchasing basic household items or making major purchases such as a car or home. Pakistan has a tough job because our output has fallen more since March, when lockdowns were imposed. The lifting of lockdowns was expected to boost economic activity but it varies from country to country. For instance, by the end of June, economic life in Denmark and Norway had pretty much returned to normal. Norway took just ten days to halve the intensity of its lockdown from its peak level. Pakistan, on the other hand, is taking longer to fight the outbreak effectively and therefore economic boom seems further.  However, there are early signs of recovery and from an optimistic perspective, one would like to hope that the worst is behind us particularly as the rate of positive COVID and deaths in Pakistan have started to show signs of tapering off. Besides, business activity and consumers’ confidence, a number of factors influence how fast an economy can bounce back: households’ finances is one. Poor saving rates on the back of double digit inflation and growing unemployment in Pakistan experienced before the pandemic had aggravated and pushed more people below the poverty line and widened the rich-poor divide further. Government support has surfaced in the form of the Rs 1.2 trillion-recovery package injected to stimulate the economy backed with relief on the policy rate and several other steps taken by the State Bank of Pakistan to support the economy. This is an encouraging approach but it is yet to be seen whether it will help offset the severe impact of the pandemic. Ambitious development plans promising much needed economic activity such as “Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme” and “Kamyab Jawan” have so far been mostly on paper and the building materials sector is eagerly awaiting the momentum to pick up and for these programs to become a reality.   In addition to this, the construction package announced in the budget allocates Rs. 30 billion to the real estate sector. There is a great amount of skepticism around these plans, as consumer confidence is already depressed and the political nature of the projects does not necessarily help overcome this. Having said that, preliminary numbers for cement dispatches (a leading indicator for the building materials sector) have been strong for the month of July. All this is nothing without consumer confidence. If consumers are fearful, then lifting lockdowns makes little difference to economic outcomes. Drastic measures for boosting spending, creating investor friendly opportunities and supporting local manufacturers are just some areas that should be explored by policymakers to help revive the otherwise fragile consumer confidence can be. The government and businesses need to collaborate effectively to stirring Pakistan’s economic activity and build consumer confidence otherwise, the recession may prevail longer damaging economic, social and political stability.
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An Equal World is an Enabled World

‘Inequalities’ based on income, gender, age, disability, sexual-orientation, race, class, ethnicity and religion continue to persist across the world. The George Floyd protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, after a white police officer knelt on Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes during an arrest, quickly became a global movement. #blacklivesmatter, today is an international human rights movement. It is proof that inequality exists at large and must not ignored. ‘Equality’ ensures everyone has an equal opportunity, and is not treated differently or discriminated against because of their characteristics or gender. For example, women still earn less than men do, people from minority ethnic groups or the differently-abled, still do less well in terms of education and securing jobs than people from other groups. The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were put in place to transform the world by 2030. Goal 5 of the SDGs is ‘Gender Equality’.  This year, like most years in recent times, everyone marked Women’s Day in March. Even the worldwide COVID-19 scare did not damper the spirits of activists who gathered at the UN office in New York to show support for signing of the Political Declaration by UN’s member states agreeing to fully implement the Beijing Declaration on gender equality, addressing gaps that hold women back. There was similar enthusiasm for the "Aurat March" all across Pakistan. Ironically, this year’s Women’s Day theme focused on “equality”.  Workplace gender equality is attained when employees are able to achieve same benefits, rewards, opportunities regardless of their gender.
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Women account for half of the world’s working age population. So, it makes economic sense to tap talent readily available in the market. Secondly, the role of women in society has been evolving with time as more women have opted for higher degrees, and finding ways to balance work with family commitments. There is a plethora of information available that confirms that greater gender equality and diversity at the workplace is associated with:
  • Improved productivity and growth
  • Enhanced organizational and financial performance
  • Positive image of the organization – seen as a fair employer
Despite this, gender inequality and discrimination persists in societies and this is reflected in workplaces. According to the UNDP, women comprise over half of Pakistan’s population, yet only 22.7 percent are part of the labour force. Even those who are part of the labour force are largely in the informal sector, receiving low pay with few legal protections. Pakistan Cables’ journey into Gender Equality is recent too. However, in the past five years we have recorded double-digit growth in terms of hiring women across different functions within the company.  SECP requires at least one Director on the Board of public listed companies; whereas Pakistan Cables appointed its first female Director in 2013, well ahead of it being declared a mandatory requirement by the SECP. In fact, on more than one occasion our Board has comprised of two female Directors because we fully realize that diversity adds considerable value at the Board and organisational level and are working hard towards making further strides in improving our gender balance. Companies that embrace gender diversity in the workplace must make internal adjustments in order to make the environment conducive for females.  Some organizational adjustments that we have embarked upon in order to make Pakistan Cables’ working environment female friendly include: -       Awareness sessions to assist in sensitization of the existing team -       Clear policies that include a gender perspective and address issues such as harassment -       Appropriate support facilities, where needed -       Engagement activities to promote team work and understand different work styles -       Providing equal opportunities for learning and growth -       Hiring females across different career levels We regularly engage with our female team members for their feedback and look to address areas identified on an ongoing basis. Difference between Diversity & Equality So while ‘equality’ calls for equal opportunities for all, ‘diversity’ is about taking account of the differences between people and groups of people, and placing a positive value on those differences. Although much of the focus in Diversity & Inclusion has so far been on gender and race, there is much to be gained in supporting other minority groups such as the differently abled.  According to a report issued jointly by the WHO and the World Bank, more than a billion people, or 15% of the global population, are estimated to live with some form of disability. In an effort to provide equal learning and development opportunities for the differently abled children, Pakistan Cables, as part of its CSR program marked the inauguration of NOWPDP’s The Inclusion Academy in Karachi. The Inclusion Academy is the first of its kind school-project that aims to target differently-abled children, that hail from the under privileged segment of the society.  Prior to this, Pakistan Cables supported a training centre for the differently abled set up by the hard working team at the NOWPDP. Our motivation being to empower a marginalized segment of society.
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Be Inclusive Personally, I think only one’s abilities, talent and determination, not their gender, race, ethnicity, etc. play a key role in creating value.  That is why both men and women, people of various ethnicities and abilities, should share an equal part of the value chain. By adopting more gender-neutral, pro-diversity and inclusive practices in our businesses, we send a strong message to society that no one should be left behind. As responsible corporate citizens, we should be looking to develop our workforce while having a positive influence on society with our actions.
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COVID-19 – THE LESSONS SO FAR

About seven weeks have passed since we left our offices to work from home. During this time the government gave exemptions to certain essential and export oriented industries to operate and only as of this week, we are starting to see a general softening of the lockdown across the country. Yet, what lies ahead promises even greater uncertainty. The truth is that no one knows what the new normal will be.

A greater effort is required on our part to practice caution and avoid rushing to recreate the pre-COVID era, which is history now. All future business plans, such as sales forecasts, planned capital expenditures, BMR, hiring, new business initiatives etc. will include the pandemic as a new socioeconomic reality and these will remain fluid until we have a better grip of what the post-COVID world looks like.  As the leading wire and cable manufacturers in Pakistan, we are aware of this and are re-formulating our approach to factor in COVID and its impact.

We are now mid-way through the holy month of Ramzan, which amongst other things is a month of introspection. Therefore, I felt it may be worth sharing some business related and personal lessons I have learned from the pandemic until now:

BUSINESS LEARNINGS

1.     Nimble organizations that are willing to adapt will flourish. GE, GM, IBM, Disney, Microsoft and Apple were all founded during crises. Other great organizations that have either anticipated or adapted quickly to change have shown tremendous success. At times like this, it is imperative that change is proactive and well communicated internally.  The usual pace of change just won’t do and so long as the right direction is identified, companies that pivot around new realities will thrive.

2.     Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!  Clear and regular lines of communication within the organization and across major stakeholders must be reinforced and the frequency of communication increased.  This is a time of great uncertainty and as described above, rapid organizational change.  If employees and stakeholders are not kept abreast through communication with the changes underway, it will result in confusion and a pull in different directions.  As a CEO, I find myself tightly connected with my team, as we adapt to new ways of communicating effectively virtually.  Similarly, we send out regular updates internally and all department heads are accessible and closely connected with their respective areas.

3.     Avoid going in to freeze mode. It can be detrimental for employee morale and will most certainly affect productivity in a crisis. Instead, identify your growth engines, keep costs tight and be frugal. Learn to leverage from resources inside and outside the company to find options of growth.

4.     Reimagine workplaces. As an ISO 45001 company, we have long adhered to best practices in the areas of Health, Safety and Environment.  In fact, we were amongst the first few companies in Pakistan to adopt a work from home protocol well before the lockdown and had instituted social distancing measures and screening systems ahead of the release of official government SOPs.  This is because the safety of our people is of paramount importance to Pakistan Cables. COVID-19 taught us how critically implementing simpler preventive measures leads to influencing positive behaviors among employees. Remote working helped employees stay focused without constantly worrying about being exposed to potential health risks. Besides following the mandatory guidelines issued by the Government of Sindh, our Crisis Management Team implemented robust safety measures that are monitored on a daily basis.

5.     Equipping businesses with the right technology infrastructure is not optional anymore. The pandemic has proved that technology enabled communication has become the cornerstone of business interaction. Virtual meetings, remote trainings, selling online, work from home - technology has enabled businesses to continue to remain functional during the crisis. Although this was amongst many businesses top priorities in the pre-COVID era, identifying the right technologies and adapting to them as we move forward has become even more crucial now

PERSONAL LEARNINGS

1.     Staying safe and healthy is a social contract with your own self. Let’s not take health and safety for granted ever again. Physical and mental health supersedes everything else. Today we are physically distant but remain socially connected. Being confined to our homes, has resulted in allowing ourselves some time to meditate, look inward, re-root and reprioritize as we strengthen ourselves to live with uncertainty calmly.

2.     Celebrate the simpler joys of life MORE! Forced lockdowns led us to spend more time with our families. For someone like me who leads an extremely fast paced life, it took a while to adjust but very soon I was picking up old hobbies, reading books again, connecting with old friends, taking my dogs for a walk and doing things I hadn’t done in years.  The quality time I have spent with my family has been a breath of fresh air.

3.      Less is more. The quality of our interactions has improved. The daily chores whether around the house or work related have eased in to our schedules without being rushed. With less distractions, our ability to focus sharpens as we learn to work with the ‘one day at a time’ policy.

4.     Have faith. Once you set a plan in motion, you have to trust the process to run its course. There will always be factors beyond your control. Our job is to ensure that we do our best every day and have firm faith in the greater plan which God has in place for us.

Like all of us, I too, pray that the world comes out of the pandemic more mindful and considerate, grateful and committed to deliver on goals focused on the betterment of people and our planet.

While we work through these challenging times, we must set a vision that allows us to tell future generations about how the pandemic was countered and how mankind was able to take steps for the better. Let us take a moment to reflect on the kind of change we want to bring for a safer, peaceful and prosperous world altogether by surviving this turbulence!

May you and your loved ones have a safe, healthy and a blessed Ramzan – Ameen.

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Can corporate ethics become a competitive advantage?

Consider these situations that one often comes across working in a developing market like Pakistan, where there is a history of corruption and in various quarters a general disregard for ethics:

  • Cash coupons offered as incentives to electricians or painters inside product packs. Manufacturers conceal the information by not printing it on the packaging - providing instant cash incentives to electricians, painters or other influencers who then recommend their products to homeowners. Should you incentivize them without declaring it to the general-public?
  • A potential customer demanding a commission in kind or a holiday trip for the family for specifying or purchasing your Company’s product for the multi-million rupee project deal that would contribute significantly to your quarterly sales targets. What would you do?
  • Law enforcement agencies demanding grease payments for transactional costs to uphold and enforce the law. Should you comply?
  • Harassment by institutions in the form of notices, demands and so on, only to be offered the option for them to be waived if you are willing to give a hand out.  What stance would you take?

Practically all companies face and cope with similar situations – despite having a stack of  well documented code of ethics, policies, and guidelines.

As an organization, Pakistan Cables has always taken a very firm stance on ethics. Compromising on ethics would bar the organization from developing credibility as a good corporate citizen and most importantly, it would impact our reputation.

Trust is amongst the most valuable assets an organization can possess. When organizations compromise on fundamental moral values, the brand’s value declines – respect and credibility deteriorates over time. It’s not a level playing field either as one has to compete with others who aren’t playing by the rules.

The concept of ethics in the business world has many implications, mostly focused based on human behavior in terms of what is acceptable and unacceptable to others. All religions in the world unanimously stress on adhering to a code of ethics and choosing right over wrong. Business ethics are quite similar - they set out principles and moral values that serve as a compass in organizations. And as contemporary organizations become more and more goal focused, sometimes winning becomes everything. That’s when ethics in business are compromised.  And if such behaviors become a permanent practice the lines between right vs. wrong get blurred and organizations get trapped into a vicious circle of malpractices. In the process, they corrupt an entire food chain starting from their employees, suppliers, customers and communities. Anyone with moral values pays the price by either walking out of an organization or not doing business with them.

I have always believed like any sport, learning and respecting the rules of a game are extremely important. A true winner is one who plays by the rules – transparently, upholding their values and putting in the hard work.

Pakistan Cables is the first and only wire and cable manufacturer company in Pakistan which is listed on the Pakistan Stock Exchange. The company was established on the ethos of ethics and transparency, which was ingrained from the very beginning based on the fundamentals adhered to by the founders.  Our philosophy has always been driven by ethics as the primary cornerstone, with a firm belief that such an approach is a pillar on which a sustainable company can be built upon.

The fact that Pakistan Cables is considered the most trusted company in the category in Pakistan speaks volumes of our commitment to this approach and the reality is that our commitment to operating with integrity has helped us convert our values into a competitive advantage.

My late grandfather, Mr. Amir Chinoy, Founder Chairman and my father, Mr. Kamal Chinoy, former CEO Pakistan Cables, both have a legacy of being staunch advocates of ethics and not compromising on values. Being ethical is a leadership choice after all. We would never bend the rules for short-term gain – it is simply a no-go for everyone within the organization. Hence, it is no such coincidence that the brand’s slogan is “TRUSTED NOT TO COMPROMISE”.

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SAFETY PAR NO COMPROMISE

Losing a loved one is not just tragic, it breaks people. That is why the safety of our loved ones is paramount to all of us and this is the reason why we must continue to look towards companies, products and solutions that are aligned towards safety. As highlighted in my earlier blogaccording to one estimate, fire incidents kill 16,500 and cost billions of rupees annually. Rescue 1122 reports 124,854 fire incidents between 2004 – 2019 in 37 towns and cities of Punjab alone. This means over 8,300 fire incidents annually in these cities! A number of reported cases of household fires are owing to short circuits. Faulty wires and outdated electrical systems are often the main culprits.  Such eventualities can be avoided.  We only need to wake up to a basic premise; ‘safety’ is not just a check-in-the-box item anymore. Safety is an integral part of any construction project and this is recognized by the builders, engineers, consultants and associated stakeholders.  Yet, decisions to opt for lower quality wires and cable brands are made without fully realizing the serious threats attached. ‘Cost-saving’ is a deceptive tactic offered by various brands today - other than using sub-standard raw materials, they lack needed certifications and the consistent approach towards quality and thereby safety. Consumers, at large, remain unaware of the risks. We, at Pakistan Cables, have championed the cause of safety for decades now by creating awareness among consumers on the downside of buying lower quality product. Consumers who opt for Pakistan Cables invest in safety.
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Moreover, Pakistan Cables has invested in R&D to bring to market products with higher safety ratings. An example of this is Low Smoke Zero Halogen cables that have better flame propagation properties and emit less toxic smoke in the event of a fire, thereby saving precious lives. Pakistan Cables is the first company in Pakistan to have its Low Smoke Zero Halogen power cables type tested by the KEMA laboratory in Netherlands, which is the gold standard in electrical testing globally. Similarly Pakistan Cables offers fire rated cables that ensure circuit integrity for a period of time in the event of a fire. As a ISO 14001:2015 and OHSAS 18001:2007 certified company, we are the leading wire and cable manufacturer of Pakistan that’s ensuring safer choices are practiced by consumers, electricians, contractors, builders and developers, architects, and the industry at large. Pakistan has a Building Code within the fire Safety Provision 2016, however the implementation of the code remains weak. Ensuring manufacturing and distribution of products that adhere to safety codes and are compliant to safety regulations is every company’s responsibility. But we do not live in a perfect world. Therefore, consumers need to be extra vigilant in their purchasing decisions. Being fully aware of the risks associated with the manufacturing of wires and cables, Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) has always been an integral part of our business for decades. After all, prevention is better than the cure. The World Health Organization (WHO) states, "occupational health deals with all aspects of health and safety in the workplace and has a strong focus on primary prevention of hazards”. To safeguard the interest of all our employees, Pakistan Cables has been successively running health and safety programs for several years. In 2019, approximately 800 person-hours spent on trainings focused on Behavioral Based Safety. Such activities help share knowledge and ensure sustenance of Organizational Health, Safety and Environment good practices in the workplace. This proactive approach leads to preventing occupational injuries, illness and loss due to accidents at workplace and improve efficiency. For instance, our efforts during 2019 resulted in achieving several million person-hours without loss time injury. What’s more, working on a cause that is dear to everyone results in creating employee engagement platforms that strengthens teamwork too.
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Our people’s efforts have paid off; Pakistan Cables has successively won various awards for its exemplary measures in OHS&E. Awards won over time but not limited to: 1.    NFEH’s Environmental Excellence Awards ( 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2019), 2.    2nd Prize for Employees Federations of Pakistan (EFP) “Best practices in OHS 2018 3.    3rd Prize for EFP-Best Workplace Environment 2015 4.    3rd Prize for 11th OSH&E Compliance Award 2015 and most recently 5.    NFEH’s CSR award 2019 in Efforts Sustaining Clean and Green Environment
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As manufacturers, providing information required by customers to reach the right decision is our responsibility.   This is why we are transparent in our approach to the products we offer or our overall working environment to ensure an optimal HSE approach.  Together we can build fairer markets guided by best practices to flourish businesses and communities alike, running in harmony and on the principle of safety par no compromise for everyone!
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Goodbye 2019, Hello 2020

December is finally here and we are gearing up to say farewell to 2019. But are we prepared for what is coming in 2020?  During the past year, we all braved through challenging times - from a complete meltdown of the Pakistan Stock Exchange, to the persistent economic woes that resulted in the resignation of the Finance Minister, Asad Umer.  Continued reports of the fall of Pakistan’s foreign reserves, rising prices on account of inflation,  devaluation of the rupee,  the IMF program – are only some of the highlights that influenced Pakistan’s economic landscape.

If I look back at the onset of 2019, our challenges were certainly greater than where we stand today.  The currency appears to have stabilized, the current account deficit is shrinking thanks to a decline in imports and growing exports and the stock market has rebounded.   While these are early signs of stabilization, the challenges remain.  Inflation is still persistent, interest rates are high, our export base is very low and we have a tremendous amount of government debt.  We are still not out of the woods yet!

So while I am optimistic that 2020 will be better than the past year, we must brace ourselves for continued challenges by keeping in mind the following approaches:

1.    Celebrate victories

2020 may or may not turn out to be a year of huge wins. However, when confronted with challenges, it is our attitude towards unfavorable situations that often defines our own success. In crisis comes opportunity, and we should seize these opportunities in our respective quests for continuous improvement.  And indeed there will be successes and these must be celebrated.

2.    Be frugal

Running a business efficiently is not optional anymore. Every rupee spent needs to be scrutinized in terms of the ultimate value proposition.  Unnecessary expenditures that ‘look and feel’ good but return nothing tangible to the business in the short or long term are best avoided.

3.    Work with employees to build achievable goals

The first thing that gets impacted in the tough times is employee morale. It’s simple, really; the more someone feels they’ve achieved, the more driven they’ll be achieve more of the defined goals. At times like this, especially when starting out the New Year - pump your people up. Let them know that the burdens they carry are not theirs only.

4.    Build Capabilities

In an earlier blogpost, I had stated that in an increasingly competitive business landscape, Pakistani companies are now aggressively competing with local and international brands on home turf. As category leaders / business pioneers, the ultimate win zeros in on one simple choice - to innovate! The new year requires reviewing our internal capabilities and flagging areas of improvements that benefit the organization and stakeholders at large.

It is still not clear whether the year 2020 will be one in which we turn the corner.  But we all have a part to play in this story and we must remain steadfast in the face of challenges.  Pakistan has an incredible amount of untapped potential and I am confident that if we seize the right opportunities this could very well be the year that Pakistan starts to emerge as one of the countries that could be the next big growth story.

I wish you all a very Happy New Year!

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THE VERDICT

No feeling is more gratifying than being recognized by valued stakeholders, particularly when customers express confidence in your product and brand. A few weeks earlier, Pakistan Cables won the ‘14thConsumer Choice Award 2019’ for the ‘Consumer Demand’ category, organized by the Consumer Association of Pakistan. On receiving the award, I could not help but think that despite the tremendous pressures we face from cheaper brands (often offering sub optimal quality products in the market), the consumers still know the difference and count on us to deliver the best quality that money can buy. For us, at Pakistan Cables, we are truly humbled and thank each one of you for your patronage over the years.

The brand – Pakistan Cables - is by far the most trusted brand name in the category. Hundreds of people work day and night, across Pakistan, to make sure that we uphold the trust our customers have in us.  This is a trust built over decades of consistency and driven by an ethos within the organization to never compromise on quality.

Recently, I met a CEO of a leading international company in Pakistan. As I began to introduce Pakistan Cables to him, he cut me short and informed me that the company needed no introduction.  He told me that just that morning he was showing his home to a potential buyer and that the only question on building materials asked was whether Pakistan Cables was used when the house was built.  The CEO was pleased to tell the prospective buyer that this was the case and that in 18 years, he had never faced an issue with the wiring.  He went on to inform me that the potential buyer enthusiastically approved of the choice.

If you browse through the Dawn Newspapers Sunday classified section, where new homes are up for sale, amongst the listings of high-end bungalows, you will often find Pakistan Cables being listed amongst the brands and features.  This clearly shows that discerning buyers value quality and are looking for Pakistan Cables as a critical feature in the home.  After all, no one wants to deal with wiring issues once the home has been built and people are living in it.  It only leads one to understand that for consumers, the brand – Pakistan Cables is hallmark of trust and a sign of assurance they seek when making important decisions.

Last week, Pakistan Cables won the FPCCI’s “Merit Award for Exports 2019”. It is a jubilant occasion for all of us, as we won the award for the fifth time consecutively. Last month, the company also won the ‘7thFPCCI Achievement award’ for our contribution towards technological advancement in power transmission systems by introducing a revolutionary technology, ACCC® conductors, for the first time in Pakistan.  The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) organized 7th Achievement Awards Ceremony for the year 2019 in recognition of the praiseworthy contributions in development of different sectors of national economy. Pakistan Cables launched aluminum Composite Core Conductors or ACCC®, in collaboration with CTC Global Inc., US, in 2017. You can read more about the ACCC® in one of my previous blogs.  While we have ACCC® making gradual inroads, there is so much more that needs to be done in collaboration with the policy and decision makers.

The recognitions come at a good time – it reinforces our fundamental belief that our commitment to quality remains the cornerstone of our success. As a business that has fostered unwavering commitment to ethics, integrity, world-class product quality and innovation, we believe if we continue to do justice to our brand and reputation, the sky is the limit.

We are delighted to have been the chosen ones by the consumers and the esteemed FPCCI. We remain the brand that empowers households and industries across sectors for generations to unleash our collective potential.

Thank YOU Pakistan!

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INNOVATE OR DIE

Every time I see a brand set out to purse a dream it knows can change the customer experience for the better or have a meaningful impact in some manner, it makes me stand up and notice! 

In an increasingly competitive business landscape, Pakistani companies are now aggressively competing with local and international brands on home turf. As category leaders / business pioneers, the ultimate win zeros in on one simple choice - to innovate!

The recent launch of Pakistan’s first e-store that offers general wiring solutions to homeowners and end users by Pakistan Cables is one such definitive decision for us. The Pakistan Cables e-store offers the facility to consumers / homeowners to shop for general wiring solutions online, without the hassle of braving crowded markets. The product is shipped and delivered right at your doorstep speedily. Time-starved consumers will benefit tremendously with the launch of the Pakistan Cables e-store because they will have access to authentic products directly from the company conveniently. 

Launching an e-store in the construction materials category is rare. E-commerce platforms in Pakistan are popular among other categories such as fashion apparel, consumer durables, FMCG categories and so on. However, we are convinced that there in a need in the construction material space, particularly with high value items such as wiring, usually available in hardware markets that consumers may not chose to directly access but rather rely on the contractors or electricians. 

According to a survey by Google, Pakistan has been termed as the fourth largest digital economy by 2030 (Google). In Pakistan, the e-commerce market size is expected to cross $1 billion by 2020. As per the State Bank’s report, there were approximately 905 e-commerce merchants registered with banks in 2017 and I am certain the number has risen since then. Pakistan is one of 11 countries to the next billion new Internet users. Growth in the e-commerce market is expected from the surging middle class of over 50 million people.

Above everything else, the Government of Pakistan has finally announced the E-commerce policy framework proving that e-commerce is well entrenched among Pakistani shoppers today and that trends are clearly shifting in this direction. It’s the businesses that need to gear up and respond to the changing needs and expectations of the Pakistani consumer.

Currently available in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Rawalpindi and with plans to roll out into other cities and towns, Pakistan Cables e-store is set out to be a benchmark for the industry. The e-store is easy to navigate and allows shoppers to pay through four different payment methods that include Cash on Delivery, Credit/Debit Card, Cross Cheque and Bank/Online Transfers.

As the leading wires and cable manufacturer of Pakistan, the brand – Pakistan Cables – always fuels empowerment through the veins of the country. Modernising business practices for greater efficiency, offering world class quality, revolutionizing with innovative technology and foreign collaborations – such bold decisions and risks have fortified our brand equity.  We are extremely proud that we have been able to launch an e-commerce platform to facilitate consumers/homeowners. Simply log onto our e-store and experience the difference right away!

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