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DMCC’s new journey to success


Executive chairman of Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, Ahmed bin Sulayem, explains why embracing change is pertinent to growth

February 17, 2014 10:32 by

Four years ago, former CEO of Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), Malcolm Wall Morris, said: “Unless we change the way we do business, we change the culture of business, we drive the growth of our businesses, we are all going to have to go home and we shall return what money we have left to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, because we are not worthy of fulfilling his vision to make Dubai a centre of the trade of commodities.”

The DMCC embraced this challenge and turned it into an opportunity. Four years later, we are now the largest and fastest-growing free zone in the region. We also sit, globally, in the top three for the trade of gold, diamonds and tea. Who would have thought that, from four years ago, when we were almost bankrupt with less than 3,000 member companies, we would reach to where we are today. What we have collectively achieved in four years is that we have trebled the size of the DMCC’s business by adding an average of 200 companies and approximately 1,500 visas every month – an incredible achievement. We have been focused on attracting new businesses to the DMCC and Dubai, but, looking forward, we have set a very ambitious target of building the world’s tallest commercial tower – The Burj 2020 – that needs to be delivered in six years from now, which will create room for another 8,000 companies and 30,000 to 40,000 employees. So, again, we are effectively going to double the business by 2020.

The difference today when compared with four years ago, however, is that we are now the largest and fastest-growing free zone in the UAE with no rivals, so why change? We’re already number one, so why change? Tough question, perhaps, but the answer is simple, if we don’t change and create a culture of an organisation that can double itself in the next six years, we will no longer be number one – we may not even exist. It’s a big task and it’s different from last time, but it’s essential.

However, what is central to that change is that we know where and how we can improve. We realised that we are good at attracting customers, but not so good at retaining and enhancing those businesses. We looked at the Royal Decree, signed by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed (then Crown Prince of Dubai) in 2002 for the creation of the DMCC, and realised that our role in Dubai is to make as much impact on its economy as we can – ie on its GDP and FDI. We believe that doubling our business will make a significant impression on the economy, however, to achieve this, we have to focus on our customers to ensure they can succeed and grow.

This is what we call our ‘Attract, Retain, Enhance’ strategy, which will help us to make an impact on Dubai’s GDP. So, what better way of signalling this change, this new direction, new culture and growth than a rebranding exercise?

It is something that we all relate to practically and signifies that, from this day forward, we are no longer just going to attract businesses, we are going retain and enhance them. How can a new logo and a set of new brand guidelines achieve that? It is clarity in communication that will increase efficiency, for both our customers and us.

We are removing the confusion around what we are. We are the DMCC, not Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT). As of today, we are located in the DMCC Free Zone and not the JLT Free Zone. It’s all about one brand, focus, clarity and efficiency.

Four years ago, we, at the DMCC, agreed that the only way to succeed is to embrace change and the way we do business, the culture of our business, and to continuously innovate and drive growth – these are the only ways in which we can retain our position as number one in the region, and to continue to lead and grow on a global scale.

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