AWAL Plastics – Sign of the Times

We learn how a family-run business is becoming a more corporate entity, but without sacrificing quality.

“Fit-for-purpose… Quality, quality, and quality.” That is what CEO Ronnie Surty says the signage manufacturing company Awal Plastics in Bahrain has to offer.

“You can’t get a Rolls Royce for the price of a bicycle, so while quality comes at a cost, we offer products that are manufactured with fit-for-purpose materials,” Surty tells us. “The fit-for-purpose concept is extremely important to us in every aspect of design, material selection, installation method and above all, warranties. If you need a sign on the 50th floor of a building, we would only use materials that will give you the maximum warranty (five years).”

Ultimately, however, quality pays for itself. As Surty points out, the cost of superior quality LED modules is compensated by the cost of having to regularly change these modules if the sign has been installed on the 50th floor of a building.

“It’s all about cost and the value relationship of the materials we use. Unless one understands what our products will be used for, it’s difficult to understand why we are spending what we are on the selection of materials,” Surty explains.

“We use industry-warrantied raw materials, such as 2K automotive-grade paint for drive-ups, ATM surrounds and pylons which are installed directly outside and are exposed to harsh heat and UV conditions. Why? Because we get the required warranties for the paint. Our products are going to be installed in locations that are exposed to direct sunlight, with high heat and UV penetration, in the Middle East. We would only use automotive-grade paint for anything we manufacture for the external environment. For internal fixing, we use the appropriate grade of paint, with a minimum two-year warranty that would easily pull the product through five years if maintained with the appropriate cleaning materials on a periodical basis.”

It is a legacy that Awal Plastics continues to nurture and grow, continuing to invest in its state-of-the-art infrastructure, including over a million dollars which have already been invested into an ERP system that has supported the organisation in managing efficiency while embedding the required controls in every area of its operations.

“This investment in the ERP system has supported the company from an efficiency perspective, from a manufacturing and financial angle as it’s all about time and money,” Surty points out.

Awal Plastics has manufactured best-in-class quality signage and hence has had the honour of being selected for manufacturing Bahrain International Airport signage, going through all the due diligence and supplier selection processes factoring the quality versus cost relationship. Whilst Awal Plastics is a company based in Bahrain for the last 53 years, its best-in-class manufacturing ability and quality standards mean that Awal Plastics can compete with global players even though they manufacture all their products locally in Bahrain.

A Time of Organisation Transformation

Awal Plastics began as a family-driven, family-run business run by the founding Partners who are two brothers-in-law, Mohamed Ahmed Ali Bucheeri and Abdulla Abdulrahim Hasan Bucheeri. It has grown from humble beginnings as a car number plate manufacturer in 1969, but as it enters its 54th year, the company has undergone a transformation for the last couple of years to become future-fit and grow organically.

“This is a family-driven business that I am honoured to transform into a corporate business entity that factors organic growth to ensure future sustainability,” Surty tells us.

Today Awal Plastics provides number plates for housing, offices and other properties, but that is a very small segment of the larger signage business along with many other products manufactured as a diversified organisation. The organisation has diversified into areas like digital printing and graphic signs, road safety signs, speed limit signs, safety signs and signs for the international raw materials companies Awal Plastics works with.

“We also manufacture, supply and install traffic signal cantilevers and gantries for road directional signs. Awal Plastics is now a very diversified business which is geared for growth. But throughout all of this, the major focus shall always be on continuous improvement through innovation and quality enhancement at all times from a manufacturing perspective,” Surty says.

As well as expanding its offering, Awal Plastics is also growing its reach.

“Bahrain is a very small country geographically. It’s very difficult to keep the business growing year on year by focusing only on Bahrain as a geography,” Surty tells us. “The other customers’ segments are across the border to Saudi Arabia and other GCC markets, that’s where we can see an opportunity for growth.”

Awal Plastics has set up its branch operations in Saudi Arabia and has a fully-fledged marketing and sales management structure already established there.

“We have got project-based joint venture partnerships in Kuwait, Oman and Qatar. We are geared to manufacture and ship to any GCC markets as the opportunity comes our way,” Surty says.

“Over 2022 we have initiated corporate identity change projects for two leading banks in Saudi Arabia whilst we continue to manufacture signage and various ATM surrounds products including the ATM drive-ups and pylons across Saudi Arabia,” Surty adds.

Seeking Opportunity

Of course, as Awal Plastics expands and continues to grow, it will face competition that does not share its values from a quality versus cost perspective or that does not have the basic infrastructure to manufacture quality fit-for-purpose products.

“We respond by focusing on quality, going into the market and understanding the needs of the customer, analysing fit-for-purpose concepts at every stage of design, material selection, whereby value engineering plays a very big role and makes our designers think outside of the box at all times,” Surty adds.

Once again “fit-for-purpose” is the key concept, with Awal Plastics valuing a solid, practical approach to pricing that is as competitive as possible while meeting the pragmatic demands of the business and the needs of the customers.

“That helps us to gain leverage over others who only talk about price but never talk about the design, material or product,” Surty points out. “I see the opportunity for continuous improvement, giving people value for money rather than dwelling on cheap pricing and rather, focusing on building a reputation.”

“It is people who make up the company. The team is the most important driver of the business,” Surty says. “The only way that we can grow is through a reward and recognition structure at every level of the organisation that professes objective performance evaluation. It is all performance-driven. Growth comes out of performance.”

And from the performance, Awal Plastics is well positioned to achieve its long-term organic growth goals.

“We look at ourselves as the number one signage company in the Middle East and we are constantly striving to maintain that through our innovation, quality and manufacturing process through continuous improvement,” says Surty. “We are always open for global joint-venture partnerships that can cater to the needs of global players in our region that will make a good fit from a knowledge and technology-sharing perspective.”








Mohamed Ahmed Ali Bucheeri (left) &
Abdulla Abdulrahim Hasan Bucheeri (right),
Founders of Awal Plastics











Ronnie Surty, Group CEO, Awal Plastics

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