Jay Andres (CEO Mai Dubai water) : “Our results are exceeding our expectations”

As CEO of Mai Dubai, you must be very satisfied with the growing sales numbers?

We are very pleased with the rapid growth of our product and acceptance by our customers. And yes, our results are exceeding our expectations, however this has only caused us to set even higher goals and accelerate our future growth plans.

We also realize that we have only built the foundation of the company and that much work remains. It is indeed exciting to be part of a team that has “created” something as opposed to building upon an existing business. You feel far more committed to the brand and feel very good when you see growth at these rates.

Why the name ‘Mai Dubai” ?

Our corporate parent, DEWA conducted a contest amongst their staff, and this name was selected based upon that process. As many people know, Mai is Arabic for Water and having the Emirate of Dubai in your Brand name adds instant credibility and trust in the eyes of the consumer, due to the high standards for quality here in Dubai.

What is the source of your water?

Similar to most bottled water company’s in the UAE, we start with a municipal source, in our case DEWA. The water is brought on site through a direct pipe line avoiding transport by tanker truck and is chilled prior to going through a multi pretreatment processes that includes, but is not limited to – Sand Filtration, Carbon Filtration, 5 Micron Filtration, Ultra Violet sterilization, and Double Pass reverse osmosis. At this point we re-mineralize our water with the highest quality ingredients and our specially designed mineral recipe, that is intended to be both healthy as well as good tasting. Then product water goes to final 1 micron filtration followed by Ozonation sterilization.

Our end product is low in Sodium as well as rich in Magnesium and Calcium, all of which is good for your health. We are proud to report that our award winning factory with our implemented Food Safety Management System was graded as the best food factory in Dubai for 2015 and this year our score was even higher. We want our customers to know the level of investment we have gone to in our commitment to quality and that is why we openly share our bottling processes on Facebook, YouTube and other various media outlets. We strongly feel that we have the newest and best water bottling technology and will continue to invest in this manner.

There is a lot of competition in this market, how could you grow so fast in these circumstances?

Indeed, it is one of the most competitive markets in the world when it comes to water. This is driven by high consumer consumption levels as well as the favorable business environment. Our foundation was built upon three favorable factors. We have committed stakeholders, who take a long term view of our strategies and tactics and will not compromise on quality. Our Chairman H.E. Saeed Al Tayer along with our Board of Directors, provides both good guidance, as well as motivation. While they will question us on business decisions, they also trust us and support our approach to growing the company. Secondly, we have hired great people, who are highly committed.

Our level of experience in the industry is extraordinary. We like to say that we may be a new company, however we are not new at this business. From our Management down to our front line associate we have selected the best talent and this has shown up in our results.

Thirdly, we took some chances with the branding of Mai Dubai which has worked and helped us stand out amongst a cluttered field.

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Where are you exporting? What are your plans for the future?

We started by focusing on the GCC and have good agreements in place in Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar. There has been an amazing amount of interest in the Brand and we have exported to far away places such as Singapore, South Africa, and United Kingdom.

We get inquiries on a regular basis and will export to any part of the world that is commercially feasible.

Since when are you in the UAE ? How is life here for you ?

I have been here for 5 and a half years and have truly enjoyed the experience. There are not very many places in the world that provides the diversity in terms of people that the UAE has.

That combined with the excellent business environment makes it a pleasant place to live

Why was the color red chosen for the dominant color of your brand?

When we were working with our Branding Agency, we saw a variety of iterations in blue or green. We knew that we needed to be different to be noticed. We asked to have the logo and packaging configured in red, because it is a very prominent color in Dubai and the UAE. Red is prominent in both the UAE flag as well as the Dubai flag.

Many, many major company’s in the country have red as a dominant color in their branding. Once we viewed our logo in red, we immediately liked it. We took a chance but it has paid off based upon a lot of feedback we have received.

What have been your keys to recruiting so many staff members (550) in such a short period of time?

One of our keys to success has been our strategy of becoming the “Employer of Choice” for not only the bottled water industry, but for all industry. And while we have not necessarily achieved that distinction, our pursuit of the goal has helped our reputation. We are proud of the fact that all of our Staff have been hired without using any outside employment or recruitment agency.

In the UAE, there are strong networks and your reputation whether it be good or not so good will travel fast. We do our best to communicate clearly to our staff as well as reward and recognize achievement. Our recruitment team along with our Managers and Supervisors do a great job of selecting the right candidates. This results in very low employee turnover rates and consistent levels of performance and service

What segments of the bottled water industry do you compete in and why?

We are in virtually every segment, to include Home and Office Delivery, all Retail Channels, HoReCa (HotelsRestaurantsCafeterias) Vending as well as Export.

We compete in these segments because it is consistent with our vision of becoming “A regional leading, sustainable and innovative bottled water provider.