“Alone we can do so little. Together we can achieve so much.” Helen Keller’s inspiring words on collaboration and success are exemplified by industrial baron, Lalu Samuel, the Chairman and Managing Director of Kingston Holdings FZC. The multibillion dollar worth company is based in the industrial capital of UAE, Sharjah’s International Airport Free Zone (SAIF Zone). With diversity at its core, Kingston Holdings is involved in manufacturing, regional distribution, third-party logistics, headhunting, smart home solutions, advertising, media promotions and project development.
Lalu Samuel is reputed to be a dynamic, enterprising businessman, responsible for making Kingston Holdings the single largest investor in the SAIF Zone with three expansive manufacturing units, 12,800 products in its portfolio, operations spanning 120 countries and regions, and exports to over 100 cities in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Canada, the United States, and the Indian Subcontinent.
Forging collaborations to explore latent opportunities has been Lalu’s business strategy since he conceptualized Kingston Holdings. To make Kingston Holdings a world leader, Samuel has partnered with reputed companies such as Pierlite of Australia, GP batteries of Hong Kong and Rexton Technologies of UK, Xpelair of United Kingdom, and many more. The strategic joint ventures have succeeded in establishing Kingston Holdings as a market leader in its domain and given it numerous opportunities for expansion.
Lalu plans for the group to move forward with a carefully-laid out business plan targeting a threefold increase in revenues over the next five years. With his acute business sense and deep understanding of local markets, Lalu is poised for even greater heights than these!
Heralding Infrastructural Growth
Lalu Samuel started Kingston Holdings in 1996 with a modest portfolio including cable management systems, metal boxes, data cabinets, PVC conduits and accessories and commercial light fittings. Steadfast growth took the company from a single manufacturing unit to its current facility covering 1,000,000 square foot of land and an expansive portfolio including 12,800 products. Its beautifully-landscaped grounds house three manufacturing units of about 125,000 square foot, a 225,000 square foot modern and green office space, and a regional logistics and distribution center spread over 300,000 square foot. Lalu has recently invested over AED 50 million for acquiring a new building for basing his corporate headquarter.
Kingston’s 12,800 products are all tested to international standards, IEC and BS. Rexton, a joint venture of Kingston, has secured approvals by BSI, Etisalat, DU and ESMA. All of Kingston’s manufacturing units are ISO certified. The company facility boasts of a modern Tool Room with word-class precision instruments built per internationally-accepted standards. Their warehouse is an expansive cost center that Lalu feels is fundamental for achieving streamlined manufacturing order.
By combining industry best practices, innovation, smart manufacturing strategies, and global partnerships, Lalu Samuel has brought premier products within the reach of masses world over. Quality at affordable prices is the principle that guides his business decisions. While the company manufactures and sells high-end domestic and industrial product too, most of its core products offer cost savings along with remarkable quality.
Conquering the World
Making a mark in the competitive manufacturing industry hasn’t been an easy task for Lalu Samuel. But Samuel has attained indisputable success both in the Middle East and the rest of the world. This he achieved through strategic collaborations with global brands. He believes collaboration rather than competition is the way forward. Together we can achieve anything, he often says.
Lalu’s words reflect his progressive thinking, “We have been resilient and have made good progress in the last years. We believe in forward thinking, innovation and a constant want to achieve. We rely on our in depth knowledge of the local market, and the ability to forecast and respond to customer expectations, which will lead us to high levels of customer satisfaction.” He has partnered with market leaders in other parts of the world to leverage their understanding of local trends and customer needs. His manufacturing expertise coupled with his partners’ local stronghold gives him the edge in international markets.
Lalu’s acute business sense has earned his an enviable position on the global manufacturing roadmap. Lalu Samuel entered into a joint venture with GP Batteries, Middle East with a view to claim the lion’s market share of cable manufacturing in the world’s largest continent. GP Batteries is the Number one battery manufacturer in Asia and among the top ten manufacturers in the world. The collaboration has led to Kingston Holdings being considered the top manufacturers and suppliers of cable management systems in Asia.
The group’s joint venture with U.K.’s Rexton has also given great rewards. Rexton is a global leader in manufacture and supply of LED lighting, Cable Management Systems, Lifestyle & Security, High end energy efficient Industrial Air Movement, Heating & Ventilation, Personal care, Emergency lighting and Data storage with an extensive range of over 5000 products sold and serviced across 120 countries globally. Rexton’s supremacy in innovation and their in-house modern infrastructure were fully leveraged by Lalu to create precise products that meet international standards. He understood that the use of technology is at its peak, efficiency levels are optimum, and markets are educated and enlightened, so he could deploy Rexton’s technological know-how to create innovative lifestyle products. He used his well-established local dealer and customer networks to aggressively market his new products and further consolidate his position in world markets.
Lalu’s joint venture with Glen Dimplex of Ireland was conceived not only for business promotion but also as a part of his corporate social responsibility engagement. Glen Dimplex is the world’s largest manufacturer of electrical heating and also holds a considerable market share in domestic products, cooling and ventilation, and renewable energy solutions. It is at the vanguard to helm a low carbon revolution by creating unrivalled solutions in space and water heating, cooling, ventilation and heat recovery. Lalu’s joint venture with Glen Dimplex aims to manufacture heating solutions and domestic products that produce low carbon emissions that can significantly improve ecological balance and are ready for challenges of tomorrow. Apart from contributing to a greener, more sustainable earth, the partnership has brought Kingston Holdings at the forefront of ecofriendly domestic products in the Middle East and has exponentially increased its market share in the subcontinent.
Awards and Recognitions
Some people dream of success, while others wake up and start working towards it. Lalu Samuel is one of the latter. He is a graduate from Mar Ivanios and Marthoma College, Thiruvalla and a certified accountant from Institute of Cost & Works Accountants of India (ICWAI). Even with an executive MBA from IIM Calcutta Lalu never just envisioned big dreams. Instead, he worked resiliently towards fructifying them. He believes hard work and foresight have been instrumental in his stellar growth. Ups and downs in business have never dampened his enthusiasm to achieve. In fact, setbacks have spurred him to overcome all challenges. And he has been amply rewarded for it.
Such efforts rarely go unrecognized. Lalu and the group have received numerous awards and accolades over the years. Lalu Samuel was selected as one of the top 100 Most Influential Indian Business Leaders in the Arab World by Forbes Middle East continuously for 2013, 2014 and 2015. By 2016, he was amongst Forbes’ top 50 Business Leader’s list and also received the Sharjah Economic Excellence Award in the same year.
Lalu Samuel was felicitated by the Indian Member of Parliament, Oscar Fernandes for business excellence. In 2010, Lalu received the Industrial Leadership award in London. He is the elected Chairman of the Sharjah Industry Business Group which functions under the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Lalu is a member of the Board of Directors for the Indian Business and Professional Council in Sharjah and of the permanent trustees of India Trade and Exhibition Center.
In the year 2000, Kingston Holdings received the UAE Economic Excellence Award in Manufacturing and the Best Industries Award in the Major Industries category, both from SCCI. In 2006, the group was named the Best Company by SAIF Zone and again recognized in 2013 for its contribution towards the region’s industrial growth. It also received the NRI Institute Award for Industrial Leadership at the House of Lords, London. In March, 2008, the company received the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Business award for excellence in business. As a diligent businessman with multiple ventures, perhaps one of the best recognition was his appointment as the Chairman of Industries in Sharjah from 2011, by the Government of Sharjah; chairing a group of 2,200 manufacturing units which consists of 44 percent of different industries in UAE.
Life has certainly been a great rewarding odyssey for the man who started his professional journey as the Managing Director of Clipsal, Middle East, a company that he has now acquired!
Commitment to do good
Lalu Samuel’s Kingston Holdings is setting an example by initiating responsible manufacturing processes that meet compliance requirements of the law and best practices of the society. Joining hands with its technology partners, Lalu is constantly aiming to further research and development efforts for creating greener, eco-friendly products. They also optimize energy consumption and dispersion in their operating and manufacturing units so as to reduce harmful emissions into the environment.
Kingston’s top echelon embodies a strong value system that strives to deliver value to its employees, customers, stake holders, and the society as a whole. By facilitating an eco-friendly working space, they not only benefit their employees but also the surroundings. Their business strategy aims to fulfill economic, environmental, and social obligations to the business and the community where it survives and thrives.
Their expansive, main facility harbors a green environment and energy-conserving appliances. Kingston’s collaboration with Glen Dimplex is also a step towards integrating green technology in domestic and industrial appliances and making them in a way that they become affordable for the masses. In the day-to-day manufacturing cycles, Lalu ensures the processes used are deemed safe for workers and for the environment. Lalu’s companies assume an active role in sustainability-related events in the UAE. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is not an isolated business function; rather it’s integrated in their very approach and culture. Samuel ensures all his products meet requirements of business ethics, minimize climate risk, and improve resource efficiency.
And energy-efficiency is a business Lalu takes seriously. Along with his technology partners, he has introduced water- saving and energy-efficient products for use in homes and offices in the region. Some such innovations include energy-saving lamps (LED lighting), electric showers, hot-water taps, power stream that conserve water and energy by about 70%. Intelligent home automation systems find a patron in Lalu Samuel who believes they are essential for sustainable living. Faucets and showers with automatic turn on and turn off sensors save millions of gallons of water every day. Intelligent heater and cooling systems have built-in sensors that cut-off on reaching a pre-set temperature and modulate according to air temperature and other variables.
Lalu has set apart a hefty budget especially for promoting these green products. His company demonstrates their use and aggressively promotes them using digital media and exhibiting in high-profile events such as The Big 5, Middle East Electricity, Index, Saudi Build, ACETECH and others.
He also conducts requisite training sessions and workshops for educating his employees, distributors, traders, and retailers about the benefits of selling green products and using green processes. On-floor employees are provided with safety gear to keep them safe and secure while working with heavy-duty machinery and equipment. Waste management is a priority with Lalu who has set targets to recycle by-products and reduce scarps and rework.
Lalu takes a personal interest in the company’s CSR policies and revises them based on feedback from dealers, distributors and end users. He believes, giving back to society is not only a good thing to do but also good for his business. Ultimately, all businesses have to operate in this environment and they should all collaboratively strive to make it more healthy and vibrant. A true businessman, to the core!