Family business can work

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Gahir family is one of the leading business leaders who own Gahir Engineering Works Limited (GEWL) in Kenya’s engineering industry. Amarjit Singh Gahir, the director of the company, recalls how working with his father taught him how to deal with customers with dignity and respect.

Amarjit, his brother Harbhajan Singh and their sons Harpreet Singh and Himath Singh have been the driving force behind the success of GEWL. He explains that accountability, transparency, and trust are the pillars holding the company.

Over the last three decades GEWL has become a leading manufacturer of different machinery under the brand name, Desco in Kenya and East Africa. Amarjit has helped shape a company that now has become a source of quarry equipment machinery block machines, goods hoist/lifts, conveyors system, turn tables, precasting moulds, saw milling, concrete mixers, stone cutting machines and stone dressing machines.

“Our equipments are supplied to civil road and building contractors,” reveals Amarjit adding that the company aims to be known for achieving their clients’ aspirations and requirements. “We always manufacture highly quality products which have affordable prices and also meet our clients’ needs. In the last 35 years we have been aiming at building the brand of the company, and enhancing innovation on machinery.”

Landing foot into construction industry back in 1977 was the best decision Gahir family did since the sector is the top leading suitable business field in East African region. The sector has remained the backbone of many African countries’ economy. “The industry has been experiencing a boom with many investments done for road constructions, skyscrapers, hotels etc, and we have taken the advantage of the swell by manufacturing more products,” he says.

“Right now our focus is on manufacturing local products for Kenya since the demand is high. We have a large market in the country and also outside, since we export products to South Sudan,” Amarjit notes. GEWL is also eyeing to start exporting construction products to Ethiopia soon since infrastructure investments have improved.

Amarjit, however, reveals that there are still tight spots hurting the construction business environment. “Importation of cheap products has really affected the business, with more and more products jetting in the country daily, leaving the local manufacturers embittered. Heavy duties are still slapped in the industry making things worse,” he adds.

Due to high competition in the industry, GEWL has been forced to think outside the box on delivering modern equipments. “We don’t rest since if we do so we can be overtaken; instead we have been coming up with new and modernized machines in our factory.”

Amarjit ,who beliefs that a good leader must ensure the company produces good services and products, says that in the next ten years GEWL will be in a position to produce new computerized machines which will definitely reduce labour in the industry.

Current many entrepreneurs are having an appetite over venturing into construction industry especially supplying products, a move Amarjit praises but also notes that it must been taken slowly. “Any investor who is looking forward to invest in construction industry should at least have experience of the field to avoid stumbling,” he notes.

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