It is becoming increasingly imperative for hotels and hospitality establishments to continue to expand their knowledge of sustainability to offer guests more choice when selecting hotels and destinations. This, in turn, can help nurture the hospitality sector’s growth with continued guest satisfaction while simultaneously reducing the impact on natural resources. Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) has developed a sustainability strategy and a holistic approach to ensure the continual development of sustainable tourism, which will be implemented through the Dubai Sustainable Tourism (DST) initiative. Regardless of the property size or operational structure, DST’s strategic tools not only encourage cost-effective solutions but also promote sustainable practices within internal operations.
In line with the Dubai government’s initiative for a sustainable tomorrow, UAE-based Queenex Tissues Factory (QTF) has developed a revolutionary concept – ‘Go Green with QNX Brown Tissues’, which is a byproduct of recycled carton boxes. This new range is available in various product categories like paper napkins, toilet rolls, maxi rolls, auto-cuts, interfold, industrial rolls and facial tissue. Newly appointed CEO, Hemant Kambli from Queenex Tissues Factory and his team speak to Rashmi Karanjekar about this new initiative, the company’s 2019 marketing strategy and the competitive tissue paper market industry.
QTF is a well-established sole-proprietorship company and the eldest business entity of the prestigious local conglomerate, Queenex group head quartered in Musaffah, Abu Dhabi. The tissue paper brand serves various sectors like hospitality, educational institutions, automobile, facility management, government institutions amongst others since its inception in 1978. Currently operating in the GCC, Asian and European countries, the brand has completed 42 years in the paper converting industry and specialises in manufacturing hygiene tissue products, autocuts, facial tissues, paper napkins, industrial rolls, interfold, hospital bed rolls, etc. Besides, the Queenex Group has multiple companies under the Queenex umbrella viz. Queenex Hygiene Paper Manufacturing (QHPM); Queenex Corrugated Carton Factory; Queenex National Printing and Packaging Industry (NATPACK); and Queenex Al Dhafra Waste Collection. These sister companies are a result of the management's vision of backward integration model.
“We have a strong backward integration support system, which means that our raw material, manufacturing, packaging and recycling is all available under one group. We have our own 5,688 sq m manufacturing unit for tissue converting with a well-equipped 24 hours production line and around 50 to 60 well trained technicians and labourers. With the introduction of the QNX Brown Tissue Paper range, we are moving one step ahead with a completely recycled product. We are proud of this initiative and are working towards making Queenex the number one brand in the market,” informs Shakeel Ahmed, Sales Director, Abu Dhabi, Queenex Tissues Factory, who is associated with the brand for the last 17 years.
Apart from a branch office in Dubai, Queenex Tissues Factory also has a regional office in Oman under a different entity Gulf Sources Co. Nasar Nediyedathu who is the Sales Director with Gulf Sources Co. has been associated with the Oman branch since the last 27 years and has been instrumental in introducing the varied product line including the maxi rolls, toilets rolls, interfold, 33x33 dinner napkins in the Oman market. Nediyedathu says, “The Oman market has great potential with flourishing petroleum industries and better hygiene standards in the entire GCC. We have a good presence here, but we have a different business model i.e. we deal with wholesalers.” “I am proud of this new initiative of going green with QNX Brown tissues. I am sure this product will receive a warm welcome from the expatriate population present in this region,” says Nediyedathu on being asked about his opinion on the launch of this new product and the Oman tissue paper market.
QNX Brown is a direct result of recycled and processed carton boxes from the company’s sister concern Queenex Al Dhafra Waste Collection. “At Al Dhafra, the carton boxes are collected for recycling and are sent to NATPACK for processing of cartons and QHPM for processing of tissue paper. NATPACK provides us the packaging materials and QTF in turn provides the finished product thus completing the inhouse process of recycling, processing and converting,” explains Kambli. Interestingly, with this backward integration model, the pricing of these tissues will be slightly less than the other sustainable products available in the market.
Kambli, who believes in going for field visits to understand the market demands and his clients better, talks about his clients need for value for money. “In the organisations that I previously worked in, we used to import these sustainable products; hence the cost used to go up. The clients don’t mind going green, but they are not willing to pay a higher price. Also, there is no reliability in terms of continuous supply when you import goods. Our Brown range is produced locally with the support of a backward integration process, hence our pricing will be minimum 10 per cent cheaper than the competition.” The brand won’t be catering to the healthcare industry because of hygiene issues.
Further, the brand has undergone a lot of restructuring in the last six months including the branding and marketing strategies. A new marketing team has been formed to implement these strategies in terms of business development and brand awareness. The marketing strategy for 2019 aims to concentrate on one segment, penetrate and move on to the next. According to Kambli, with the advent of Expo 2020, the region will witness a tremendous growth in the hospitality sector. “There are many international hotel groups entering the region, and our target for this year is to tap this emerging hospitality industry with our new product. And, that will be our marketing strategy, too! The strategy will include a thorough focus on the HORECA segment and retail market to achieve the maximum potential growth. In my experience, the HORECA business will be a value addition in terms of cash flow to the company,” informs Kambli.
Nitin Anand who is also a new entrant in the Dubai's Sales and Marketing department, shares his opinion on the tissue paper market in the region and the 2019 strategy. “I have 10 years of experience in the tissue paper industry with a strong network in the HORECA business. With the launch of QNX Brown tissue paper, we have something new to offer to our existing clients. To survive in this competitive tissue paper market ,you need to come up with an innovative solution or different techniques, otherwise it is difficult to stand out or survive. Our marketing strategy is to focus on the new hotel properties, which will be launched by the second quarter or second half of this year. There are a few players who are offering this recycled product in the market, but we are offering an entire range including table napkin, interfold, jumbo and large rolls, etc. QNX Brown will be a turning point for Queenex. We have signed more than 40 hotels and look forward to more such assignments,” avers Nitin Anand, Sales Director, Dubai, Queenex Tissues Factory.
Anthony Rodrigues, an ex-hotelier who has worked in the purchasing departments of international hotel chains like Le Meridien, Miramar Hotel, in the initial stage of his career and then switched to the tissue paper has joined Queenex Tissues Factory as a Consultant for the UAE, Oman and Saudi markets. “I have almost 12 years of experience in the service industry, which will be my biggest strength here. As a consultant, my role will be to strengthen the HORECA business, handle key accounts and outstanding payments. I believe by offering the best service to your clients via timely delivery and efficient service, apart from quality goods and presentations, will help you survive in the long run,” opines Anthony Rodrigues, Regional Sales Consultant (Oman, Dubai, KSA), Queenex Tissues Factory.
This year Queenex will also focus on offering a product mix to meet all kinds of customer requirements. “I believe in delivering a better service to stand out in the competitive market. While I was working with Procter & Gamble, I learnt about the distribution strategies and how we built the market by offering various products in various options like small pack, small size items. I followed these same principles in my previous company as a CEO and created a success story on the basis of distribution and a strategic business model. I am repeating the history in Queenex. We are trying to develop products with a marketing mix and the same fundamentals. This time it is going to be a smooth process as we have our own paper mill. Earlier, we had to wait for at least 3-6 months to come up with a new product in the market. That’s not the case anymore!” says Kambli.
Brown has already received an amazing response from the hospitality groups including Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort, InterContinental Abu Dhabi and Mercure Gold Hotel Dubai. “We have already signed a contract with around 40 hotels in the UAE and will be delivering our first assignment to TRYP by Wyndham Dubai from 1st March. We have approached Jumeirah Hotels, Rotana Group, and I am positive that they will definitely go with the go green concept and support a product made in the UAE,” says Kambli. The challenge is acceptance from the general public. Although the impact of the government’s initiative and changing behaviour amongst the responsible citizens is gaining momentum, the shift from white tissues to brown will take sometime to be accepted. Kambli signifies that the HORECA business understands why there is a need to go green and they are strong supporters of the government’s norms and policies. Besides, the brand is looking at going green even with the packaging to avoid plastic. “The only challenge we are facing is with interfold; the other products like toilet rolls can easily be wrapped with paper and then packed in recyclable cartons. We are already working on it and that’s going to be our vision, i.e. 100 per cent recyclable in terms of what we are offering. There are going to be challenges starting from introducing the product in the market, penetrating and creating a success story. So we can proudly say that we are the first Emirati Company taking up this initiative,” concludes Kambli.
“We are on the verge of a green revolution! And introducing these Brown Tissue Papers in our hotel will be a positive addition to our green campaign. While, we were looking at replacing the regular white tissue papers with tissues made from bamboo, we got introduced to the Brown tissues from Queenex made from recycled carton boxes. We loved this concept, and we are sure our guests will love to see these 100 per cent biodegradable certified tissues in their hotel rooms. We are waiting for our first delivery starting this March and will be the pioneers in the region to introduce these tissues in our hotel."
Mohamed Hassan, Executive Housekeeper, TRYP by Wyndham Dubai
“The Brown tissue paper is a beautiful concept initiated by Queenex. Our hotel group is always looking for sustainable solutions and contributing towards reducing carbon footprint. This product will definitely help us achieve our targets. On a serious note, we can’t always use the products that are easily available in the market; instead we should look at options that will benefit everyone - our next generation and the environment.”
Ashley Lobo, Director of Procurement, Intercontinental Abu Dhabi