KICE Construction Equipment has grown immensely over the past two decades, becoming a virtual one-stop shop for machinery required in all stages of readymix concrete production including coolers, mixers and pumps.
Having launched operations two decades ago as Al Kifah Concrete Batching Plant, the company has expanded its portfolio and is also an approved supplier for many global brands and equipment in the field of concrete manufacturing.
The reason for its success in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries, as an official puts it, is primarily because it has always brought in “the right product at the right time for our customers”.
KiCE CEO Saleh Al Katheer comments: “Today, we witness a boom at all levels as our production capacity has increased by more than 150 per cent and we have a varied range of products manufactured within our factory. We have also introduced new production lines, including mobile mixers, aggregate washing units, mobile batching plant and other concrete products.”
The Saudi-based specialist in the manufacture of equipment for concrete and block production has been cashing on the huge demand for its mobile batching plant that has quadrupled over the past few years in Saudi Arabia.
In addition, the company has also recently launched a new containerised batching plant which can produce up to 120 cu m per hour of concrete. The units are of a convenient size, facilitating easy transportation between project sites.
According to Al Katheer, the new batching plant is highly flexible, and is particularly useful for customers outside Saudi Arabia to whom it ships its products, or for projects that have limited storage space. The plant can be transported to major building sites where larger volumes of high quality concrete have to be supplied for a certain period of time. It comes with completely pluggable cable connections, which helps to save time and installation efforts.
Other KiCE products such as its aggregate washing machinery have been upgraded, increasing their capacity to 240 tonnes from the previous 100 and 120 tonnes. In addition, a spiral transport system has been incorporated into the washing plant.
“KiCE has also been helping its clients to upgrade their existing systems, which has enabled them to increase their production capacity by 25 per cent,” comments Al Katheer.
This move comes as part of efforts to ensure customer satisfaction and maintain the performance and the capacity of its products that are installed in the market – especially its mobile batching plant – right from the date of purchase, thereby boosting their output from 70 to 80 m per hour to 100 to 120 m per hour.
Established in 1994 initially as a partnership with a British company for the manufacture of concrete batching plant with a 4,000-sq-m workshop producing some two plants a year, the wholly-Saudi company has developed in step with market growth and changing requirements.
“Clients’ needs were evolving significantly and variably. Each client has specific needs according to their factory’s conditions in terms of location, the shape of the site and the production volume.
“Accordingly, our investment in manufacturing readymix plants were made to fall in line with the requirements of the clients. Our products were distinct from the rest because they were designed in accordance with the requirements of the client and we worked on establishing a complete unit that specialised in the design of products at the factory, and we attracted a skilled workforce and designers and expanded our services in this area,” says Al Katheer.
The global financial crisis in 2008 presented a major challenge for KiCE, which the company tackled successfully. “The global economic crisis hit the majority of the businesses. There were no new orders and clients would contact us for nothing but maintenance,” he explains. “However, with our strategic planning, we managed to overcome the crisis by accelerating the pending orders within six months. As a result, we were not affected by the crisis and our business volume was good compared to other companies at that time.
“Also, by then, our production had reached double of what we had started with, and we were also supplying pumps and cooling units and other concrete manufacturing products.”
Al Katheer says that after the end of the crisis and with the economic recovery, the company perceived a market demand to attain higher production stability and longer-lasting products as the lifespan of the concrete mixing plants is more than 30 years. The company also saw new potential opportunities presented by the fact that clients tend to expand their plants instead of establishing new ones.
Today, KiCE supplies to various regions in Saudi Arabia particularly the Eastern Province, in addition to the entire Gulf – which represents a key market for the company – and other foreign markets such as Egypt, Iraq and Jordan.
Meanwhile, the company is keen on observing environmental standards and has demonstrated its commitment towards the environment.
“We have installed major dust filtration units on each cement silo, which is a standard on KiCE plants. We also install other environmental equipment in accordance with clients’ specifications,” says Al Katheer.
“We also supply dust filters to quarries and asphalt production sites. In addition, we also have eco-friendly products in our commercial department, aimed at dust elimination in quarries and asphalt sites.”
Over the years, KiCE has been keen to attract global experts to train its national workforce, which today represents 25 per cent of its total staff within its various operational, technical and administrative departments. The company has also recently established a training centre at the factory to attract new talent and train its current staff.