Canyon Stone from RAK Ceramics‘ Stone Art collection.

RAK Ceramics, the world’s largest ceramic tiles manufacturing company, has achieved the milestone of having produced enough ceramic tiles to cover a staggering ‘one billion sq m’ since production commenced in 1991.

No other ceramics manufacturer in the world has achieved such a production figure in such a short period of time since the inception of the company, claims Abdulla Mahmood, general manager, marketing and corporate communications at RAK Ceramics.

“The achievement further confirms the company’s continuous record of success over the past two decades. RAK Ceramics is today recognised as an innovator and a game changer, having raised the bar to unmatched levels when it comes to design, production, promotion and an unparalleled distribution network,” he says.

RAK Ceramics is a $1-billion global conglomerate that offers a comprehensive product portfolio comprising over 8,000 designs in ceramic tiles, Gres Porcellanato, and several models in bathware.

From humble beginnings in Ras Al Khaimah producing 5,000 sq m of tiles per day, the operation in the emirate today comprises 10 production facilities capable of producing 227,000 sq m of tiles per day and more than 8,500 pieces of bathware. The UAE manufacturing facilities are spread over an area of 2.5 million sq m and employ about 8,000 people from over 20 countries.

Additional production comes from its ventures overseas. The company launched its first overseas plant in Bangladesh in 2000, with an output of 10,000 sq m of tiles per day. This was followed by facilities in China (2003), Sudan (2004), Iran (2005) and India (2006), pushing its total capacity to in excess of 360,000 sq m per day and 12,000 pieces of bathware. For the last three years, RAK Ceramics has maintained its status as world’s largest manufacturer of tiles with a global output of 117 million sq m per annum.

In tandem with this growth, it has seen its products supplied to projects worldwide and earned the distinction of being the largest imported brand in the many European countries. The company attained the distinction of having supplied half-a-billion tiles worldwide barely six years ago in 2006, and the 750-million milestone two years later.

Stunning ... the Opulence suite of sanitary ware.

Abdallah Massaad, CEO of RAK Ceramics, says: “We are proud of the outstanding achievement of supplying one billion sq m of tiles worldwide within a span of two decades, as today RAK Ceramics is recognised as a world-class brand renowned for its quality and innovative products. The company has been a pioneer in the ceramics field with its advanced production facilities and R&D (research and development) that has enabled it to tap new tiles segments that was unheard of before by offering innovative products.”

Massaad says the new milestone cements the company’s position as a global player, and a major force in the ceramics and bathware industry. “Reaching this billion sq m mark is just the start of our continuing journey to even greater heights of quality and production. We have many more accomplishments to come as we are always keen to achieve the highest ranks,” says Massaad.

RAK Ceramics’ phenomenal success has been an inspiration to not only the UAE manufacturing industry but the entire Middle East industry and shows how a local company can be a major global brand well recognised across the world. “RAK Ceramics has been the catalyst to major industrial growth in Ras Al Khaimah as its success led to other industries setting up their base in the emirate,” says Massaad.

He, however, points out that the production record has not been achieved at the expense of quality. “The finest raw materials are used while standards frequently exceed internationally recognised norms. All products conform to the strictest European quality standards. RAK Ceramics has successfully attained ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 to ensure the highest levels of internal quality management systems,” he adds.

Cutting-edge technology has contributed to the company’s ability to maintain these standards for such high outputs, underpinned by an innovative product range produced using revolutionary digital cutting machines, according to Massaad. “Technology has seen RAK Ceramics take the industry to a whole new level of competitiveness and excellence with customers spoilt for choice with the widest range of designs from the sublime to the outrageously imaginative,” he says.

Massaad points out that digital printing technology results in the production of designs that are more complex and exquisite than ever before. “As such, the best European designers, along with the in-house research and development team have helped create a catalogue of over 8,000 designs with additions emerging each week.

“This has created exceptional demand for designs and effects that are closer to natural elements such as marble and stone, and the technology is perfect for creating these effects because of its ability to deliver high-definition print quality, while maintaining print consistency by avoiding shade variations, and printing on any surface,” he says.

Sweet Apple in the Junior Tiles collection.

RAK Ceramics continues to be a global pioneer in the world of ceramics through innovative eco-friendly products such as RAK Slim, Wood Art Collection, Stone Art Collection and Orion Collection using the latest Nanopix digital printing technology. Its range of product extends from the smallest mosaics measuring 2 cm by 2 cm and tiles to 10 cm by 10 m to the largest slabs in the industry, 125 cm by 125 cm in size.

The company’s extensive distribution network spans more than 160 countries. Over the decades, it has built up a strong relationship with its clients due to its innovative product range that is customised for each region, and these products are backed with exceptional customer service. This has been made possible with a league of loyal employees. “Our employees have been one of our most valuable assets in achieving global dominance. As many of them have grown with us from the beginning, their values are in tune with the ambitions of the company and are strongly driven by a passion to excel,” Massaad says.

RAK Ceramics has consistently delivered award-winning brand values – which has earned it its fourth consecutive UAE Superbrand Award in 2012. In addition, the company has been named one of the top four brands in the UAE by Brand Finance Middle East of the UK, Company of the Year by Arabian Business Awards, and has also received the MRM Business Award for manufacturing – the most prestigious manufacturing award in the UAE. The firm has also been chosen as the Best Brand at 2010 Middle East Business Leaders’ Summit and Awards in Dubai, while also officially being recognised as the world’s largest manufacturer of ceramic tiles by Ceramic World Review.

Other awards include CSR Company of 2011 at Middle East Business Leader’s Summit and Awards and the CMO Asia’s Best Brand 2011. The company was also honoured by the Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) for complying with good governance and transparency according to best international practices.

In addition, it is the founding member of the Emirates Green Building Council, which supports the development of sustainable buildings in the UAE.

RAK Ceramics offers a complete solution with its diversification into tile adhesives and grouts in a joint venture with Laticrete International of the US under the Laticrete RAK banner. It also has a joint venture with Germany-based Kludi to manufacture a range of taps, faucets and other accessories for sanitary ware products under the brand name Kludi RAK and RAK Porcelain tableware range of products targeted at the high-end hospitality industry. All these subsidiaries contribute to the RAK Ceramics brand by offering complete value-added service to clients, says a company spokesman.