Met Asia Group striving to stay ahead of the curve In today's market

Suhel Motiwala and Saif Motiwala, Directors at Met Asia Group, talk about the company’s business model, the challenges, and how they are constantly striving to provide the best services in today's market.


Filed under
Metal Recycling
 
November 2 2021
 
Share this story
 
 

Get the latest news and market insights delivered to your inbox.

 

saif

Met Asia Group, headquartered in India, is one of the major multinational companies engaged in the scrap business – the agent/indentor has operations in many countries including India, Southeast Asia, Middle East, United States, Korea and China. Met Asia Group is a fully licensed company and has several other associate companies.

With over a decade of experience, the company is engaged in the supply and trading of ferrous and non-ferrous metal scrap, ingots, billets and recovered paper. “Over the past decade we have built business relations and partnerships based on performance and reliability. Today we have an alliance with many yards and traders based in various countries across the world collecting scrap for us,” says Suhel Motiwala, Director, Met Asia Group.

Suhel Motiwala and Saif Motiwala, both directors at the company, maintain close control of the day to day business and their model is quite competitive, he notes. “We have been offering our services since 2009 and the industry knows us better as Motiwala brothers, Suhel and Saif Motiwala, rather than by the company name,” he adds.

They are essentially indentors and the main commodities they trade in include all types of aluminium, stainless steel, coppers, brass, lead, zinc and various ingots, says Saif Motiwala, Director, Met Asia Group. Talking about the competition in the field and how they have managed to stay ahead, he says, “We are not in the race with anyone. Our way of working and operating is completely different, and we strive to do better in our business every day.”

Saif believes that “in the end it is the service that matters and how satisfied and comfortable your clients feel. We are very confident of our work and aware of what needs to be done moving ahead.”

So, what is their key role as indentors and how do they manage to stand out in a market that has numerous players?

“We work closely with clients, end users and yard owners, and we are deeply aware of their pain points. We try to solve these issues and provide total comfort in doing business with us. This strategy has helped us to maintain our clientele. Since day one the clients that have joined us are still with us,” notes Suhel.

Indenting doesn’t seem to be an easy business model to adopt and the number of indentors is also increasing at a rapid pace especially in India. In Saif’s view, “Indenting appears to be attractive, especially going by the way indentors present themselves in their community and friend circle. It attracts other sector businesspeople to turn towards indenting.” However, he says over the past five years, about 0.1 percent have been successful in establishing themselves in this sector. They are adept at maintaining relationships and retaining their client base, says Suhel. For instance, he notes that once their suppliers initiate business with them, they should feel they are in secure and safe hands, and that the company is committed to it. “Currently, in the market there are many indenting service providers or agents, and it is the suppliers who have to take a call. Indenting is not just a WhatsApp message where indentors just collect offers from suppliers and send numerous messages on WhatsApp, etc. To establish a deep rooted business relationship like we do, one needs to provide hands-on support throughout the transaction and sales contract process.” When they purchase from a supplier, he says they take fully responsibility of the entire transaction “and it becomes our duty to settle it in a proper manner.” The Supplier Services the company provides include the following: The biggest issue for suppliers is to predict selling price and demand price from the buyer’s side. We provide real time rates to suppliers, so they can do easy buying locally and sell to us. We have a dedicated account manager for each supplier who is available 24/7and always active based on the supplier time zone; Once the sales contract is done, this deal is in our safe hands; Right after a sales contract, we take over entire communications to get the loading done; Confirming Draft documents within 12 hours’ time of receipt; Tracking of entire shipment; Check quality of material via pre-inspection inspector camera picture to loading pictures; All total payment follow-ups and ensure documents are released on time; We take responsibility for the entire transaction which includes getting documents released on time. We also maintain records of the transaction; With us the supplier will never feel abandoned after sending the material. We have seen cases where buyers have not released cargos that went for auction. This will never happen in our case; We always ask new suppliers coming on board that they do only one transaction with us and enjoy our services. Then they can take a call regarding future transactions.

coverstory

So, how does the company deal with the buyers and solve issues, if any?

“The buyers, end users or traders are the ones who gives us a stage to perform. Without them no business is possible,” says Saif, adding that they provide personalized service to the buyers.

The following are actions that should be taken for every transaction, he remarks: Like the supplier, the buyer is also confused about judging the buying price; Once a buyer confirms the purchase, it requires an effort to get the sales contract on time; There is a need to communicate one on one with buyer and supplier; Have to ensure that advance gets done on time; Once advances are done, need to do strong follow up with the supplier’s logistics team to ensure loading on time; As soon as loading is done, one has to verify loaded material quality via photos; Have to keep track of getting draft documents and ensure final documents copy is received on time; Remind buyer to check IGM filing date; Negotiate ground rents and CFS charges; Duty payment reminder; Once cargo is ready to despatch from CFS, have to ensure buyer follows the terms of contract mentioned during seal breaking and unloading for ease of claims settlement, if any; Finally, there is a need to confirm and take feedback from the buyer and mark transaction as complete.

In any business there is a chance that a dispute or claim may come up and in this case the company helps solve the issue to the best of their ability, says Suhel. “The buyer, seller and agent know that the item we have traded is scrap. And claims are possible, but those are not intentional. Every supplier has their policy of settlement, and every buyer has their legacy to get claim. An agent’s role is to solve the issue by ensuring it is a win win situation for both.”

There are three types of claims: Weight shortage; Quality claim; And any claim related to container damage or additional shipping charges, etc.

Weight Shortages: There is predefined procedure to get this claim and it is standard followed by all suppliers.

Quality Claim: This is subjective matter, requires detailed investigation and based on that claim gets settlement.

Container Damage or additional shipping charges: This is also somehow well-defined and preinformed update. Even then it sometimes requires negotiation and then settlement.

“As a policy, we visit buyers’ location and do proper verification and get it documented as per requirement of supplier. And with the buyer we confirm the claim and amount. After that it is between us and the supplier who will manage to get debit/credit etc. You will not find a single case where our buyer has not got a satisfactory solution regarding claims,” Suhel remarks.

Challenges and solutions

Touching upon some of the key challenges in their business, Saif says, “the limited bandwidth does not allow to grow four folds. There are approximately 750 suppliers regularly exporting of all types of scrap products to India. And there are 2300 buyers who are importing, and getting the material to them during peak business hours is the biggest challenge.”

“We need to take into consideration the different time zones as well,” he comments. Agents must match those time zone based office hours, book inventory accordingly and then resell it as per buyer’s office hours. So, getting deals done across different time zones is the biggest challenge.”

There will always be a shortage of human resources and “this is a manual intervention business model where you need people to handle the tasks. When you hire teams, they can only start working after detailed training, so they acquire the necessary skills. So, adding teammates in a company overnight does not give immediate results,” he emphasises. Tuning and integration between each department and maintaining track is also a tough job, so they need to keep a proper tracking system as each unit is connected to another, says Saif.

Met Asia is also focusing on Artificial Intelligence system that is created by a German IT company, which helps them in effective operations, notes Suhel. “With this system we are currently offering our services and getting sales done with 20 percent of Indian market buyers. We wanted to grow this to 60 percent somehow by 2022. For that purpose, we have implemented latest IT tools and robotic communicator which helps us to reach our client base in seconds with latest inventory updates.”

Client profiling is a must when enrolling any new buyer on board. Many a time it happens that new buyers claim that they import 50/100 or more containers a month. And Agents get impressed, but at their company they go with seven check points “due diligence” and find out the exact number and identify the size of the buyer, he states.

One of the biggest challenges at present is the shipping line container shortages, says Suhel. In many countries there is a shortage of empty containers and freight rates have risen sharply. “Another issue for the supplier is to find space on the vessel. Sometimes vessels get cancelled or delayed and things are uncertain.”

coverstory

However, he says most of the successful businessmen have struggled a lot when starting a business or career. But they overcome these problems and it is the same with the recyclers, “so overall there is challenge, but it is not so big that the recycling industry cannot handle,” he adds.

For instance, Covid-19 has been a testing time for everyone and more so for the scrap businesses, states Suhel. “Relationships got stronger and those who wanted to leave went on a different path. Although we faced for the first time the entire Covid lockdown situation like everyone else, I am happy we were able to do what needed to be done and this made our relations stronger.”

As soon as the government gave certain permissions to reopen factories, etc., he says by slowly working hand in hand with the buyer/ supplier, they managed through the crisis. “We took losses and today that is the reason we have grown faster than last year and bounced back.”

When they started their business in 2009, they did face rejections from suppliers as they generally avoided working with new agents or already had some agents whom they were comfortable with, says Saif. “In Southeast Asia, countries like Malaysia, Singapore Indonesia and Thailand gave us chance to enter the market easily. Then we moved to the Middle East and we got the biggest supplier who directly extended his support and we entered the Middle East market.” From that point onward, their performance spoke for itself and all major suppliers accepted the company, and they are moving forward with their support, he notes.

Looking ahead

On their vision moving forward, Suhel says they believe those who provide the best service will sustain in the long term. “And we are constantly working in that direction to provide the best services. Overall, I see a great future of Met Asia Group. Lots of new clients have been added to our portfolio and the market has positive vibes. At present we are focusing on building and expanding our client network at both ends (buyer and supplier). We aim to work in that direction aggressively for the next one year.

 

Related Stories