In the spotlight: Esther Giger, Sales Director Europe at NRS International
“Innovation, and truly listening to client needs, is the key to sustainable growth.”
When did you join the NRS International family?
I joined in 2001. In the past, I was part of the International Committee of the Red Cross and worked across the globe, in Switzerland, Italy, Somalia, Kenya, South Sudan, Georgia, Angola, Rwanda, Indonesia, Pakistan and Afghanistan. This experience helped me a lot in my new role, because I understand the needs of humanitarian organisations and the hurdles they often face. The better you know your clients, the better you can develop the products and services they actually need.
Can you describe the company when you first entered it?
Back then, we were operating a tent factory outside Lahore (H. Sheikh Noor-ud- Din & Sons in the same location as today). The factory was already famous for doing everything in-house, and was well-known for its ability to quickly supply high quantities of tents in the aftermath of emergencies.
The head office was located in Lahore city centre and Mr. Muhammad Sarwar was our CEO. Our main products were the ICRC/IFRC Ridge Type Standard Version Tent and the UNHCR Ridge Type Tent (Double Fly). There were just three of us in the sales team and, during that time, we travelled extensively to market our products.
How has the company changed?
We have always followed client demands for higher quality products and services, and the company has been continually growing and improving. HSNDS, and then later NRS International, has invested in new production facilities and dramatically expanded the range of core relief items offered. We now offer products and services that are fully customised to our clients’ regular and emergency programmes. Finally, by moving sales, marketing and logistics to a new Dubai office, we took full advantage of working from a strategically smart location, and took the business to a new level.
But equally important, what has stayed the same?
It is still a family-run business and retains the same strong values associated with this. At all times we respect and safeguard the quality of the products we supply to relief organisations. Another important facet that remains unchanged is our capacity to react quickly to any emergency.
How would you describe the company culture?
Innovative, multicultural and always one step ahead of our competition.
What is your philosophy to build sustainable relationships with clients?
The key is to develop and manufacture sustainable products. This drives customer loyalty and satisfaction, which is very important to me. I embrace a forward-looking strategy to build and maintain sustainable customer relationships.
What does sustainability mean to you?
Promoting peace for all, taking care of our planet, minimising waste, and improving access to food, water and education for everybody.
What are the most significant trends you have seen in procurement and in the product range?
Our response to client needs, and our continuing innovation, are the keys to success. These are vital if we are to maintain our position as industry leader. Our products are developed with the needs of beneficiaries in mind. We continuously develop to find economic solutions for the humanitarian sector, ensuring value for-money and honest pricing.
What are your most memorable moments with NRS International?
The inauguration of our plastic sheeting factory was the beginning of a new era. The move to Dubai was an equally important milestone. Lastly, the acquisition of TANA Netting had an enormous impact on the size of our company. It opened the door to totally new opportunities.
What are you most proud of?
I would like to mention three things: Firstly, we still serve the same clients as we did many years ago. Secondly, we were among the first to employ women in our factory in Pakistan, a country that traditionally has very low female participation in the workforce. We now see gender equality throughout the organisation, even at senior management levels. Lastly, I am very proud and feel privileged to be part of this company on its journey to success.