Empowering Innovation and Collaboration!
Open communication is crucial to encourage teams to get insights and ideas. This reinforces motivation and allows everyone to work in a collaborative approach where even the team members are involved in decision-making and are encouraged to take ownership of their tasks. Fostering such a culture of innovation, open feedback, and mutual support, Toufic Kreidieh is empowering BFL Group to thrive in the fast-paced logistics environment.
This people-first approach has resulted in Insights Success interviewing Toufic to know his journey, innovative spirit, and unwavering commitment to excellence.
Here are the highlights of the interview:
Could you please brief about yourself and what motivated you to embark on this sector?
I am Toufic Kreidieh, Executive Chairman and Group CEO of BFL Group. I attended the Lebanese American University (LAU), where I pursued my Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) in Business Management. Upon graduation, I embarked on a job opportunity in Saudi Arabia, where I was later relocated to Dubai and shortly after back to Beirut. While I managed my day job, my childhood friend, Yasser Beydoun, and I always knew that our calling was not to be employees, but instead, we always dreamed and aspired to be entrepreneurs.
Could you please elaborate on your company and its inception story?
In 1996, Beydoun and I joined forces and scraped together $10,000 to set up our store in an underground parking lot in Beirut. We saw a gap in the market and knew that the off-price model would thrive due to the appeal and joy of a bargain. After operating two successful stores in Lebanon, we decided to grow our business overseas. When we expanded to the UAE back in 2000, we knew we had to come up with something innovative. Everyone who had stepped foot into the UAE saw it as a land of vast opportunities! We knew that to enter the market and become a successful brand, we had to offer a unique experience that would appeal to our target audience and buyers. Thus, we came up with the unique ‘treasure hunt’ business model, which entices customers to purchase and enjoy coveted items from international brands at up to 80 percent off the original retail price. Today, we have a thriving online presence and more than 100 stores across the GCC and Europe.
How do you approach managing a team in the fast-paced and constantly evolving logistics industry?
In the dynamic and evolving logistics industry, our approach to team management centers around adaptability, effective communication, and continuous learning. We understand the importance of staying ahead of industry trends and technological advancements. Our team members are encouraged to embrace change, think creatively, and collaborate seamlessly to challenges. Regular training and workshop programs ensure that our team remains well-equipped and ready to navigate the changing landscape. We also practice transparent communication, clear roles, and goal alignment. By fostering a culture of innovation, open feedback, and mutual support, we empower our team to thrive in a fast-paced logistics environment.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges that leaders in logistics face today, and how do you navigate through them?
Today, leaders encounter lots of significant challenges arising from globalization, technological shifts, sustainability concerns, and meeting customer expectations. To tackle these hurdles, we try our best to stay attuned to industry trends, embrace new technologies, and forge strong partnerships with brands, customers, and suppliers. Adaptability is another essential for our strategy, understanding the need to swiftly respond to the changing market dynamics and customer preferences.
Can you share an example of a difficult decision you had to make as a leader in logistics and how you handled it?
The Covid-19 pandemic left the world at a stall with plenty of uncertainty. BFL Group, with the help of IQ Robotics, helped pivot the challenges faced by the pandemic to further develop and accelerate the pace of digitalization. We signed a multi-million-dirham agreement that comprised of 160 robots with a capacity of processing 150,000 pieces per day. This partnership allowed the Group to leverage faster turnaround times, thus constantly injecting new stock onto our retail shelves, allowing consumers to find new products that appeal to them every time they shop at any of our stores.
How do you stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies in logistics, and how do you incorporate them into your leadership strategy?
Staying current with the latest trends and technologies in logistics is crucial for our success. We make sure to regularly research and study the newest developments in the field, attending industry events and seminars.
Incorporating these trends and technologies into our leadership strategy involves a few key steps. To begin with, we identify which trends align with our business goals, and then we foster a culture of learning within our team, encouraging them to adapt and embrace new ideas. We invest in training and development to equip our workforce with the necessary skills to leverage emerging technologies.
Additionally, we collaborate closely with technology providers and industry peers to implement these advancements effectively. We believe in a proactive approach, test new technologies in real-world scenarios, and refine our strategies based on their performance. Ultimately, our goal is to blend these trends and technologies seamlessly into our operations, ensuring efficiency, sustainability, and customer satisfaction.
Collaboration and communication are essential in the logistics industry. How do you foster effective collaboration and communication within your team and with external stakeholders?
We encourage an open and transparent communication culture. Regular team meetings, brainstorming sessions, and cross-functional collaborations to ensure that everyone is aligned and informed. We value each team member’s input and encourage them to share their ideas, fostering a sense of ownership and engagement.
We also establish clear channels of communication with our partners, clients, and suppliers. Regular updates, feedback loops, and proactive problem-solving help us maintain strong relationships. We leverage technology to streamline communication processes, ensuring that information flows seamlessly between all parties involved.
Furthermore, we believe in the power of face-to-face interactions. Participating in industry events, conferences, and networking opportunities allows us to connect with external stakeholders on a personal level, building trust and understanding.
How do you prioritize and allocate resources to ensure efficiency and cost-effectiveness in logistics operations, and what strategies do you employ to motivate and empower your team members to achieve their full potential?
To ensure efficiency and cost-effectiveness, we adopt data-driven decision-making. We analyze historical data, market trends, and customer demands to forecast needs accurately. This allows us to allocate resources optimally, reducing waste and minimizing operational costs. We also implement regular performance evaluations to help identify areas for improvement and resource reallocation.
Empowering our team members involves giving them all the tools, knowledge, and autonomy they need to excel. We invest in continuous training and development to enhance their skills and talents, as well as provide them with access to recreational facilities that help maintain their overall well-being and promote a healthy work-life balance.
Open communication channels are crucial to encourage our teams to share their insights and ideas. We recognize and reward performances to reinforce motivation and allow a collaborative approach where team members are involved in decision-making processes and encouraged to take ownership of their tasks.
What is your vision for the future of logistics, and how do you plan to lead your team towards that vision?
My vision for the future of logistics is to continue to embrace innovation, sustainability, and connectivity. As technology continues to evolve, I see logistics becoming more efficient and interconnected with the integration of advanced analytics, automation, and smart supply chain solutions.
To lead my team towards this vision, we enforce a culture of continuous learning and adaptation. We will stay at the forefront of technological advancements through ongoing training, workshops, and partnerships with key industry leaders. We will also encourage a mindset of problem-solving to enable us to address upcoming challenges and seize every relevant emerging opportunity.
Please give us a few testimonials from your clients and awards or recognition that accurately highlight your achievements in the corporate niche.
- ‘Most Admired E-Commerce Company of the Year’ in the Fashion and Lifestyle Category by Images Retail ME 2023!
- Toufic Kreidieh, Executive Chairman & Group CEO, was awarded ‘The ICONS Of Retail Award 2023’ by IMAGES RetailME.
- ‘Most Admired Retail Launch of the Year’ award during the RetailME Awards 2022.
- Toufic Kreidieh, Executive Chairman and Group CEO was awarded the ‘Lebanese American University Alumni Achievement Award.’
- BFL Group Earns 2022 ‘Great Place To Work’ Certification.
- Brands for Less, the flagship of BFL Group, received the ‘Heroes of the Pandemic’ award at the Transport and Logistics Middle East Awards 2021 under the E-Commerce category.