Fluctuating market conditions and a challenging 2017 has contributed to a 2018 targeted towards efficiencies and expansion as Samani Construction looks to make its own luck
Writer: Matthew Staff
The 2017 Kenyan presidential election casted a shadow over much of national industry last year, with companies’ attentions being forced towards consolidation and safeguarding rather than proactive investment and project expansion. However, having negotiated the challenge effectively over the course of the 12 months, Samani Construction is now in a position to push on in 2018; in accordance with market stabilisation, and in celebration of its 20th anniversary.
“Over 2016 and 2017 we had a few interesting projects and all jobs were completed to our clients’ satisfaction. Our main goal over this period was to make sure that the quality of our work was always optimum,” Project Manager, Nikhil Sachania looks back. “2017 was a little hard on us though as it was for the whole of Kenya. With the presidential elections, a lot of investors have shied away due to past history, but things have started to pick up again and we can now hope for a productive year looking forward.”
Inevitably, a tumultuous end to a year can often translate into an equally difficult beginning to the next 12 months, but Samani Construction has truly seen this flipping of the calendar as an opportunity to seek out new revenue prospects and to be proactive in defining its own growth potential moving forward.
Sachania continues: “We have several projects that we have tendered for with both new and old clients. We have managed to secure a few projects that will keep us busy for the better half of the year, while we try and remain in our capacity so that we can manage the projects well and ensure the quality will be well above the clients’ expectations.”
And such quality will hopefully have been assured virtue of the Company’s ability to remain at least sustainable over the course of 2017; inevitably losing out to a market-expected extent from a revenue perspective, but maintaining internal processes, facilities and - most importantly - people to ensure that the business was in a prime position to strike once the industry showed signs of recovery.
For the best part of 18 years, Samani Construction has built a strong reputation in Kenya for its sustainable projects and ethical workmanship, and the focus prior to 2017 had been on replicating this success across a wider footprint. Now that the situation is improving, such ambitions are being reignited.
Ultimately, the reputation that has manifested as a consequence of a generally proactive mindset has been the pulling factor for a series of significant contracts attained over Samani’s tenure in the Kenyan market, and beyond.
The picturesque Sirai House in Nanyuki is just one example of the Company’s ability not only to produce state-of-the-art constructs, but to do so in-keeping with different environments, terrains and sceneries to best complement the area.
Capital Club in Nairobi is further proof of this ability, with ‘East Africa’s Premier Private Business Club’ indicative of Samani’s customised approach to catering for a range of clients’ needs.
A synonymous high quality finish was also applied to the entrance of Sankara Hotel in Nairobi, setting the scene for similarly high profile projects being constructed by the Company at present.
“We have about five major projects ongoing at the moment,” Sachania affirms: “City Lodge Nairobi located at the Two rivers mall; City Lodge Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; AAA Growers Headquarters’ fit-out project; SAJ Ceramics’ new showroom headquarters on the outskirts of Nairobi; and a soft refurbishment of the Sankara Hotel in Nairobi.
“We also still have a few projects from last year across areas of refurbishments, such as Sarova White Sands.”
Primarily specialising in the fit-outs of offices, hotels and homes, the Company’s bread and butter has traditionally stemmed from its abilities in customer joinery, dry wall partitioning and ceilings.
However, completing this ilk of project to such high standards has opened the door to some of these more lucrative aforementioned opportunities; also incorporating more corporate facilities and works in nationally significant buildings like airports.
To facilitate this more all-encompassing range of clientele and contracts, Samani has subsequently had to instil a series of enhanced internal procedures to ensure it remains ahead of the industry curve and up to the very latest codes and standards.
“Over the years we have brought in several pieces of automated machinery to help cope with the increase in high quality goods and uniformity. So far our investments have paid off,” Sachania explained back in 2015. “We have always tried to build up our work standards with the current trends.”
Three years on, the philosophy of reinvestment and continuous improvement is as alive as ever, with more recent expenditures being targeted towards an upgrade of the Company’s workshop and an increased floor area to accommodate new machinery and working space.
Improvement doesn’t always mean expansion though. As mentioned, Samani Construction’s workforce was an area of focus for the business in 2017 but not necessarily from a broadening perspective; rather an efficiency point of view.
Last year’s tribulations have highlighted a need among the business to operate more smartly on an internal basis, and this has been displayed most concertedly so far across areas of human resources; Samani Construction making sure that while the business is still growing, it is also becoming more streamlined, efficient and sustainable in each area.
“From a personnel perspective, at the moment we are looking at optimising our workforce; controlling wastage and improving the knowledge bases of our skilled workers,” Sachania confirms.
What we do best
With Kenya known as a gateway for East African business across the full range of industry sectors, construction is certainly no different, and Samani had been able to leverage its early successes to breach the surrounding region.
Operating as far into the continent as Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda, there isn’t much of East Africa that Samani Construction considers off limits, and this strategy has only come to fruition as a result of its equally prominent commitment to local considerations and sustainable growth; a strategy that has helped to forego recent challenges and that will now serve as a platform for fresh glories ahead.
“Opening in 1997 as a small joinery workshop, a series of expansions, investments and organic growth opportunities has led the business to where it is today, and as a family-run business, the Company’s growth continues to be facilitated by an internal flexibility and entrepreneurial flair,” Sachania concludes. “Honestly, 20 years have passed so quickly since then, I can’t believe it.
“It feels like only yesterday my dad ventured into opening Samani Construction Ltd. I’m really glad to be part of what he created and I hope to carry on what we do best in the future.”