Future Fulfillment, Today Fulfilled
Fadi Amoudi – CEO and Founder of IQ Fulfillment, the region’s first and largest robotics warehouse, talks about his pioneering idea that redefines the quotient of the fulfillment industry while keeping a firm view on his vision for the future of stress-free business.
Can you take us through the process of establishment of IQ Fulfillment? What made you create a unique concept like this?
When I decided to move to Dubai with family and kids, it meant that I needed to do something different and challenging to establish myself. Most of my background is in the FMCG sector and I have always been into technology, so I decided to open the first e-commerce grocery plant in Dubai. From there, I opted to do financial models, commercial business analysis, market analysis, etc. It was then that I found two loopholes in the e-commerce industry; scaling up and technology. I wanted to optimize on those and did a lot of in-depth research on the topic. That is where automation and robotics came in. I took the robotics solution and implemented it in the groceries to potentially fulfill up to 10,000 orders. The question was how to scale up to those many orders in groceries and then it hit me that fulfillment can be in any business and it was just my mind that was restricted to groceries. I researched fulfillment in-depth and found out that there are only a handful of players, out of which none were using robotics. That was my breakthrough and I moved my entire business from groceries to robotics fulfillment. It was a huge challenge as it is a new industry. To build a brand from there, we needed warehouse automation and software solutions like warehouse management. We started building the first fulfillment solution center of the region where we wanted to support SMEs while utilizing most of the robotics into it. That is how we created the IQ Holding, which is a technology holding company that specializes in supply chain sector. There are 3 verticals, IQ Robotics, IQ Fulfillment, and IQ Express.
So what is IQ Robotics all about and what you are doing in your warehouse exactly?
We support all SMEs in our region and have a roadmap to expand all over Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UK, China, and the US. We want to scale up to a scenario where we will take care of all our clients’ back-ends with the highest level of technology and they can concentrate on what they do best, which is their products and promoting them. We will concentrate on everything else that gives them headaches. IQ Robotics is a technology company that offers various services like warehouse automation, software solution, project management, package protection, etc. We have partnerships with various technology companies like Quicktron, Logistic Technologies, Q-Billing, and many others to serve the clients. We offer services to anyone who wishes to transform their company in the technological era. The major difference is that we are live out of Dubai right now and with our partnerships, we do not need to have more space in the US, Europe or Asia. We want people to interact more with technology and the awareness needs to be raised. So we aim to bridge the gap in that aspect.
Why do you think there are very few players in the fulfillment industry in the UAE? Can the market not being mature enough be a reason as why people have not tapped into this market?
I am not saying that there aren’t any players in this particular industry. There are a lot of players in the logistic sectors and there are a lot of players internationally and locally that are in the space. But players who match the vision that we have are not there. This is because we offer the SMEs a totally different experience.
So when you say you offer SMEs a totally different experience, what does that entail? What are the benefits SMEs will have if they deal with you?
Full live visibility. We have the most advanced facility in the entire region with state of the art technology and robotics integrated with just one aim, to help our clients without their investments going up. So what we offer to our clients are solutions that are better than what they would normally get without making them spend more.
So your target clients are SMEs who deal with logistics, freight forwarding, etc?
No, our target players are basic everyday people. It can be moms, dads, teenagers, millennials, whoever has an idea and wants to sell online. We provide the entire support to enable them to get online and start their own e-commerce business.
What made you capitalize on the idea of using robots?
It was a leap of faith. I honestly believe in Dubai, in the UAE, and the vision set by his highness for the UAE. But that does not mean that we just offer technology fulfillment. We are technological fulfillment partners. We do not believe in blowing smoke, we believe in building things from the ground up, and that is exactly what we did with our company as well.
Apart from being the first warehouse using robotics, can you share 3 distinguishing aspects of your warehouse that differentiate it from the rest?
We have ground robots, state of the art conveyor belts, dynamic solutions, outbound mobile stations, and full visibility on your solutions. Those things in themselves are enough to set us apart. But we also carry a warehouse management system, an order management system, and a transportation management system all in one place.
What is your vision for the future for IQ Fulfillment, especially with the Expo 2020 coming up? Any new opportunities you are trying to capitalize upon?
We are a start-up and we love to promote that. We are also not just one start-up but we are three start-ups; IQ Fulfillment, IQ Robotics, and IQ Express. But when you talk about Fulfillment, we aim to spread peace of mind all over. Whatever help we can afford to give to our SMEs, we would gladly do it. This company was born to support the SMEs and help them with their digital transformations. We plan to always introduce new technology. We have already autonomous unmanned vehicles, drones, and a lot of new cool stuff coming up. But despite all that, we will keep on doing the fulfillment connected solutions for SMEs.
What would be your three takeaways that you would like to share with budding entrepreneurs?
The first is to be passionate. Find something you are passionate about and you want to do. Second is to make sure that the passion you want to achieve solves a problem or a challenge that most or all people face. The third is to build from the ground up. It does not matter if it takes you a million tries, always start from scratch. There are no shortcuts if you want to build a great start-up.