CAIRO: When the economy went into decline last year, Xerox Vice President and Managing Director Yehia Maaty was forced to take stock of his company.
Xerox Egypt had been growing by leaps and bounds; it led its competitors in many key fields. But suddenly Xerox’s stock value started to decline on the New York Stock Exchange, and the company, at the corporate level, announced its intention to begin layoffs.
As of today, Xerox’s share value has fallen about 50 percent and some analysts are questioning the company’s value.
But despite the storm brewing outside the gates, Xerox Egypt, under Maaty’s leadership, continues to grow and continues to hold its competitive edge.
“We have the right product .. Over the past few years, we’ve got the right partners .. And with our sales model we have the products priced at the competitive range in the Egyptian market, Maaty said.
Maintaining a steady growth rate through 2008, Maaty said he expects his Xerox subsidiary to maintain growth, albeit at a slower rate.
“We didn’t have an impact that much, said Maaty, “Towards the end of 2008. Our outlooks were mainly maintained.. We had some, I would say, slowdowns.. But at the end of the day, we managed that our business wasn’t impacted. I wouldn’t say zero impact, but I would say a very negligible impact, if any. This was for the year 2008.
“Our outlooks are still that we will be growing, said Maaty of 2009, “But slower than we thought it would be.
The keys to Maaty’s success in these turbulent economic times are a diverse set. A key ingredient has been his ability with Xerox to combine his international experience with his local expertise.
Maaty has been with the company for 18 years. Immediately before taking on his job leading the company’s Egypt operations two years ago, Maaty was based in London serving as regional general manager of sales and marketing operations for Central and Eastern Europe.
Maaty has also seemed to master the art of shifting weight between the firm’s various operations to maximize efficiency and profit as the economic climate shifts.
Xerox Egypt, as at the corporate level, has three main arms of its business.
Its first set of operations is under the umbrella of the Office division, which accounts for about 30 percent of total business.
The Business Supplies division includes retail through resellers with products like printers and copiers.
Next, representing 20 percent of the business, is the Production Equipment division which sells larger products to businesses. Through the Production Equipment division, Xerox can sell a whole system or network of equipment to clients which, in Egypt, include many of the top banks and various ministries in the Egyptian government.
While those two sectors may take something of a hit during this poor economic climate, the third business division, Global Services, has been over-performing, explained Maaty.
Global Services, in some ways, plays the role of consultant to clients. It helps companies find solutions for how best to print, copy, and manage documents.
Global Services represents 25 percent of Xerox Egypt’s business and recently clients have been taking advantage of the services to streamline business and cut costs. With thrift as a necessity in this economic climate, Xerox has been able to have clients pay them for advice on how to save money.
“With having a division for Global Services. the growth which we have experienced was nearly 35 percent and 40 percent expected over these couple of years, so I’d say we’re about to double the size of this business in the next few years, which is significant, Maaty said.
Maaty has experience helping usher Xerox through periods of transition. In 2000 and 2001, the company underwent a significant shift in an effort to change the business model.
“Basically, Xerox at the time was going to have the office products getting sold through distribution channels and not through direct sales, explained Maaty. “The strategy behind was to have the product available at a wider scale because you do it on your own or you have plenty of partners, distributors, and dealers.
Xerox Egypt has also found success as regional leader. From its headquarters on the Cairo-Alexandria desert road, the company sends trainers around the Middle East to insure that sales and technical representatives are performing up to corporate standards. Training also becomes critical as Xerox continues to introduce new and complex technologies.
Maaty said that Xerox Egypt performed 544 training hours throughout the Middle East last year.
Xerox Egypt has also set a new bar for corporate social responsibility in Egypt. The firm engages in a wide scope of charitable activities but has also learned how to fold corporate responsibility into its for-profit model. In this vein, the company is beginning to promote local manufacturing which will create jobs and spur economic growth in the country while cutting costs for Xerox.
Even with the array of successful programs that will help Xerox overcome what is likely to be a difficult 2009, Maaty is looking to the future.
“We have the basics, and I would say the framework of this company, Maaty said, “which means we will keep committed to launch the latest technologies in the country. We will keep supporting the local partners, training and educating them and developing them as well.
“We will keep our people trained and developed, and we’ll make sure we keep investing in the marketing programs to continue to support our partners and our sales. tners and our sales.