Strong in steel

In Egypt, the name Faltas is synonymous with steel.  The Faltas family has been making a name for itself in the steel business for over 25 years. The steel bars produced by Sambo Metals are primarily sold to the automotive industry, where they are used in car parts of Maseratis and Mercedes-Benz buses. Aline Faltas is part of the most recent generation to continue the family dynasty. The 31-year-old financial expert brought back impulses from Germany to optimise her firm. She also intensified contact with existing customers and set up some new trial shipments. An expansion of the product range is planned for the future.

What does Sambo Metals manufacture and what is your role in the company?
We produce high quality, cold-worked steel bars. We are the market leader in Egypt where we cater for 95 per cent of the domestic demand which is processed by manufacturers. The London Stock Exchange Group’s annual report recently named us one of the top SME Egyptian companies. Most of our steel goes to the automotive industry. Our steel bars are used in the production of elevators, aircraft wing parts, trucks and gas and water valves, i.e. in areas that demand high quality and strength. My father runs the company of 75 employees. I am responsible for import and export, my sister Sandrine for marketing and finance.

What motivated you to take part in the Manager Training Programme and what was your ultimate goal?
I wanted to see how SMEs are managed in Germany, visit steel firms and check out the technologies they are using. Although we already have some German customers, it was important to me to improve my intercultural understanding and learn to engage with German business partners because we hope to increase our exports. It was also exciting for me to see how we could improve our presence at international trade fairs.

Did the Programme meet your expectations?
Yes, it actually surpassed them. I brought a lot of new ideas back with me. Before everyone was kind of involved in everything, so we redefined roles within the company. Whereas we only went to domestic steel trade fairs, we now have booths at international ones. This falls within my purview. We also introduced an automatic inventory system so now we always know exactly how much steel we have in stock, listed by type and size.

What insights did you gain from the MP?
The MP helped us set up trial shipments to new customers.  I realised that we needed to further perfect our quality and improve our profitability. The German market is very demanding, and we still need to acquire some certificates, such as an OHSAS certificate. Additionally, our current systems cannot meet all customer requirements, which is why we now want to expand our product range.

Were you able to conclude new contracts?
I hope that the trial shipments will result in new contracts. At any rate, the MP has enabled me to intensify cooperation with two long-standing partners. Our sales to these customers have tripled.

What are your plans for the future?
We are currently installing a new mirror grinding steel machine for a European customer. We are looking to expand our product range as well. The new step is to add flat steel bars, which are currently in high demand on the market. We also want to attend steel trade fairs in Germany.

Pictures: © Sambo Metals